Protecting yourself during your build

There a number of measures in place that protect you as a consumer during the building process. This applies whether you choose to use an additional ‘third party guarantee’ or not. These provisions protect you both during the construction process and for a ten year period after completion.

Before you sign up for your build project it helps to be familiar with your rights within the following legislation

  • New Zealand Building Act - includes implied warranties
  • Construction Contracts Act -details how to make a claim covered by the implied warranties and how to resolve problems.

More information on your rights can be found on the Building Performance website.

Designing your project

It is important to do your research – a build project is generally a big investment.

There are many places to get ideas and guidance, including

  • the helpful publications in our resources section
  • information in the property file
  • council information on managing the effects of your build on infrastructure.

Then take all your ideas and work with your agent, architect or designer to put together a concept design for your project.

Before you finalise your plans, make sure you identify any approvals required for your project such as

This information may be available on a Land Information Memorandum, or you can apply for a Project Information Memorandum. From this information your designer will also be able to take into account for your design

Designers may find the following information helpful


As part of planning you’ll need to consider how stormwater from driveway areas is collected and disposed of, including

  • specific covenants that your subdivision may have in place to deal with this, and
  • any Environment Canterbury stormwater discharge consents for stormwater going to ground.

Your consent documents should clearly specify whether or not the driveway construction is included in the building consent application.

If the driveway siteworks are included in the building consent you’ll need to provide

  • location and extent of driveway (to ensure that roading requirements are met)
  • drainage details if the driveway is to be formed from an impervious material (to meet building code section E1 Surface water requirements)
  • finished surface levels (to meet building code section E2 External moisture, ie ground clearance, requirements)
  • details of access route paving (to meet the building code sections D1 Access and E2 External moisture requirements).

If the driveway sitework is not part of the building consent application you’ll need to provide

  • location and extent of driveway (to ensure that roading requirements are met)
  • details of access route (to show compliance with the building code sections D1 and E2 requirements).

Any driveways or other siteworks that are not part of the building consent still need to be constructed to comply with building code requirements. As the owner of the property, you and your contractors carrying out this work, need to ensure the work is compliant.

If your driveway crosses a footpath, you'll need to apply for a vehicle crossing [PDF, 2628 KB].

Meeting planning requirements

You can contact the Duty Planner to check if your proposal complies with the District Plan. If your proposal doesn’t meet District Plan requirements you may need a resource consent.

It’s better to obtain this before applying for a building consent as this should help avoid possible expensive changes to your proposal – eg surveying required to confirm distance from boundaries.

Remember – you can’t start building work until you have a building consent and any other approvals required by other legislation.

Required authorisations

There might be a number of other authorisations that you need to think about for your project. A good place to start is the online checklist covering different infrastructure considerations.

Tips for keeping your consent fees under control

Our fees are calculated on an actual time/cost basis – based on the amount of time to issue your consent and the number of inspections required for your project.

Online applications are an easy and efficient way to

  • lodge building consents,
  • communicate with us throughout your consent process,
  • respond to requests for further information,
  • upload required documents, and
  • apply for a code compliance certificate,

which can help reduce the time spent on administration and processing, leading to less fees.

Below are some further tips to help keep your costs down.


  • Electronic application is quicker – manual paper applications require more work as we load your application electronically, including scanning all supporting documents into AlphaOne
  • Details and supporting documents – submit up to date information and documents that are specific to your building project
  • Submit only documents required for your consent application - refer to our guide on Supporting Documents for Building Consent Applications [PDF, 147 KB]
  • Ensure all information on plans is clearly legible, preferably in dark colours – yellow is difficult to read and can cause delays at processing while we clarify the information with you.

Communication and supply of documents

  • Providing documents and questions only through our online AlphaOne system is more efficient, and avoids double handling
  • View your consent details and status online using your building consent number.

Responding to requests for further information

  • Responding back to requests for further information via the AlphaOne system means the information goes back to the processor directly and doesn’t need to be handled by administration staff – saving time and additional administration cost
  • Sending through information that is relevant and requested reduces time spent on processing – sending irrelevant information may lead to more questions being asked and additional requests for further information
  • We are obliged to read all the information provided with the consent – therefore submit only what is required – the more you supply the more  it costs by lengthening the time involved in processing your application
  • Requests for further information can be viewed online without having to phone us to request these details – all documents and letters issued by us can be viewed on AlphaOne
  • We’re only human – if we’ve missed something please tell us where to find it.


  • An amendment is easy to submit online – state on the application what the amendment is for and the estimated value for this work only
  • Send in only the information that is relevant to the amended building work, clearly marking changes made so the processor can easily identify these – it takes longer and is more costly if a processor has to ‘spot the difference’.


  • Book your own inspections on the Builders App [PDF, 170 KB]
  • When booking an inspection make sure that the work is ready for the date booked – re-inspections and a cancelled inspection on the day will incur a fee
  • Inspection notices are linked to the consent and can be viewed online – enabling you to see if the inspection has passed or a re-inspection is required without having to call us to ask
  • Check out our building inspections guide – this has information available on what is covered at each inspection, allowing you be ready for each inspection.