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.

Energy efficiency advice and information

There are a number of organisations that may be able to help you with advice and information on energy efficiency during the design of your new home or renovations.

For more information see our information on keeping your home healthy .