Building Consent Frequently Asked Questions             

This page lists answers to frequently asked questions. This Information is intended as a guide only.

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What are GoShift and the GoConsent online application portal?

GoShift is a partnership between central and local government to improve performance, consistency and service delivery across the building consent system, led by Wellington City Council. Its goal is a more efficient process and a more consistent approach between councils to building consent applications.

The GoConsent online application portal is a shared online application system, used by Tasman and Nelson as part of their partnership with other councils and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Other stages of the consent process such as approvals and inspections will be standardised over the next 12 to 18 months.

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Can a Building Consent Be Issued Prior to a Resource Consent?              

A building consent may be issued prior to the approval of a resource consent, however this will usually be subject to a certificate attached, restricting the commencement of the work until the resource consent has been granted.

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At What Size Does a Proposed Building Require a Building Consent?              

A 'building' is defined in Section 7, 8 and 9 of the Building Act 2004 . In particular note the definition of Building and Building Work, and Schedule 1 of the Building Act (which specifies what work is exempt from a building consent).

It is not just the size of the building that determines the requirement for building consent. A Building Consent Officer can help explain this to you.

You can build a small accessory building (shed, pergola, gazebo, glasshouse, sleepout) without a building consent if the building:

  • is under 10m2 in area; and
  • contains no sanitary facilities; and
  • contains no cooking facilities; and
  • is single storied; and
  • is at least its own height away from the property boundary and from any residential building on the property or any neighbouring property; and
  • is not a spa or swimming pool enclosure or fence.

Even if a building consent is not required, the construction still needs to comply with the NZ Building Code. This includes spouting and storm water control.

You will probably need a building consent if it does not meet the above requirements. You should look at Schedule 1 of the Building Act for more information on exemptions. If you wish to apply for an exemption under Schedule 1(2) let us know and we will assess your application.

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Do I Need a Building Consent to Do Electrical Work in My House?                

No you do not require a building consent. Council has no jurisdiction over electrical work.

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Do I Need a Building Consent to Re-pile My House?              

In accordance with the Building Act 2004, a building consent is not required for part re-piling unless there are changes to the structure or structural integrity, Full re-piling does require building consent as structural integrity will be affected,i.e. under pinning, foundation design change, or change of pile layout. In such circumstances a building consent is required.

Owners are recommended to obtain a building consent in all cases for the purpose of recording the work.

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Do I Need a Building Consent if I Want to Plaster Over the Brick Veneer of My House?              

Plaster rendering over brick veneer work does not require a building consent. The plaster must not cover the weep holes inset in the bottom brick row.

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Do I Need a Building Consent if I'm Carrying Out Re-cladding on My House or Building?              

If you are repairing the cladding and replacing with the same materials then no building consent is required, unless the existing cladding has not met the durability requirements of the Building Code which is 15 years.

If you are changing the cladding material e.g. from weatherboards to stucco or some other material, then you will require a building consent.

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Do I Need a Building Consent to Build a Deck on My Property?              

A building consent is required for a deck where it is more than 1.5m above the ground. The deck must be constructed in accordance with the Building Code and details such as the structure, balustrade and planning requirements will be checked.

If you are planning the use of shade cloth as a balustrade, you will need to talk to a Building Consent Officer as this is an alternative solution to the Building Code and there are various requirements which must be checked.

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What Are the Building Requirements for Double Glazing?              

The energy efficiency building requirements of the 3rd Edition of Clause H1 of the New Zealand Building Code were introduced on 31 October 2007, making double glazing necessary in most new houses to meet the new glazing R-valve of 0.26.

It still may be possible to use single glazing by using a heat loss calculation (Calculation Method - NZS4218:2004) that allows the insulation in one part of a house to be traded against the insulation in another part of the house. You should discuss this with your designer as they will be required to provide calculations demonstrating compliance with NZS4218:2004 with any building consent application.

Note, the new requirements of the 3rd Edition of Clause H1 only apply to building consent applications, applied for on or after 31 October 2007.

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My Building Consent Says I Have to Install Smoke Detectors. What Specifically Do I Need and Where Can I Get Them?              

Under Sections 112 and 115 of the Building Act 2004, smoke detectors with a 'Hush' facility are required in all dwellings or residential units that require a building consent to be issued. This includes new buildings, altered buildings, or buildings changed to a residential use. Free standing non habitable buildings (i.e. garages or sheds) and site drainage do not invoke the requirement.

Most single level houses will require a minimum of one smoke detector, however it is important to think of the whole escape route. If the hallway adjoining the bedrooms lead (via a door) through another space to the exit door, that space will require a detector as well. Two storey houses will require detectors at both levels, regardless of which level the sleeping activity is on.

All applications for consents will require complete floor layouts with room names, doorways and the smoke detectors clearly marked.

Standard smoke detectors which are already installed can remain but 'Hush' models must also be installed. A ‘Hush’ or ‘double button’ smoke alarm differs from older models in that they have an additional button which allows the alarm to be quietened for a period of time while the cause of an accidental triggering of the alarm is fixed (e.g. burnt toast). These detectors are available at most hardware stores.

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Do I Need a Building Consent for My Swimming Pool?              

The Building Act requires that all pools intended to hold more than 400mm of water are to be installed under a building Consent.

This applies not only to the installation of the pool, but also to the construction of any pool fence.

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Do I Need a Building Consent for a Carport?         

A building consent is probably required if the carport exceeds 20sq m in floor area, however you can apply for an exemption under Schedule 1(2) of the Building Act.

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Do I Need a Building Consent for a Farm Shed?        

A building consent is probably required if the farm shed exceeds 10sq m in floor area, however you can apply for an exemption under Schedule 1(2) of the Building Act.

Specific information required for a building consent application for a farm building:

  • Site plan with the location of the farm building and associated buildings
  • Shed construction details and elevations (i.e. timber or steel, footings, pole holes, cladding and roofing)
  • Stormwater disposal details
  • Engineered design details (farm building designs are generally outside the scope of NZS3604).

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What Information do I Need to Provide with my Application When I Apply for a Commercial Building Consent?          

Specific information to include in a building consent application for a commercial building:

  • Fire design report
  • Mechanical ventilation design and Producer Statement
  • Engineers structural design and Producer Statement
  • Accessibility design
  • Backflow protection.

Note: Using a suitably qualified draughtsperson or architect should lead to reduced processing times and costs.

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Further Information       

More information for everyday building projects can be found on the following useful websites: