Building Consent Application FAQs

This page provides answers to frequently-asked questions about building consent applications and working with PDF files.

What is a PDF and why does the Council want documents in this format?

  • Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present documents independently of application software, hardware, and operating systems. Each PDF file contains a complete description of a  document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it.  This makes it a good format to use when you are sharing information with another person or organisation.
  • We want to be sure that we can read anything that any applicant sends us.  PDF is the best way to ensure this.

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How do I read a PDF?

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How do I make a PDF?

  • Most applications (Microsoft Word for example) will let you save a file as PDF format.
  • If you are using an application that doesn't let you save as PDF, there are plenty of free online services to convert to PDF.

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How do I combine multiple files into a single PDF?

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How do I bookmark sections in a PDF?

  • You can build up a document in Word, using "styles" to define your headings. When you save it as a PDF, all the headings will automatically create bookmarks.  This is the easiest way to bookmark sections in a PDF.
  • If you've already got a PDF, you can add bookmarks using your PDF editing application.  

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How do I zip my files?

  • In Explorer, select all the files you want to send.  Right click and choose Send To/Compressed (zipped) folder.

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Why is the Council so specific about PDF, bookmarks, and filenames?

  • In the first few months after going to electronic processing, we learned that a lot of our Building Consent Officers' time was being spent in reorganising and renaming files. This could be up to an hour per application.  We don't believe that is a constructive use of time - and it can impact our response timeframes. 
  • By providing the documents in a standard format, you'll be ensuring that the Building Consent team can pick up your application and work on it without delay.

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