Building Consents and Information


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What is a building consent?

A building consent is the formal approval granted by a building consent authority that building works meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Act, Building Regulations, and Building Code. A building consent is required before you can begin building works.​ Most building work requires a building consent but some minor work is exempt under the Act.

When is a building consent required?

A building consent is required for most work including:

  • Swimming pools, spa pools and fencing
  • Retaining walls over 1.5m (no surcharge)
  • Retaining walls any height incurring a surcharge
  • Decks over 1m high
  • Plumbing and drainage work including replacing hot water cylinders
  • Demolition
  • Relocation
  • Additions, alterations to existing buildings
  • New buildings
  • Change of use
  • Heating including fireplaces, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
  • Dams - please contact your local Regional Council, who have jurisdiction for all dam building consent matters.

For guidance or further information, please visit the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) website.

How long does it take to get a building consent?

The building consent processing time depends on the complexity of your project and whether or not you have provided us with sufficient information. All building consents must be approved within 20 working days of being formally received. However if information is found to be lacking the time clock is stopped and not restarted until the information that has been requested is provided.

How do I apply for a building consent?

You need to complete an application and provide information relevant to your building project. Information is contained within an application pack that can be obtained from our website, or collected from our main office.

Complete the required application form and gather the relevant information for your building project (i.e. plans and specifications) then refer to the appropriate checklist. You can find copies of all forms and application packs on our Building Applications Forms​ page.

How do I lodge an application?

You can lodge your application in person at our office at 108 St John Street, Opotiki, by post to PO Box 44, Opotiki 3162.

​A vetting officer will check your plans to ensure all relevant information has been provided. If all information has been provided, your application together with a deposit will be accepted. If your application is declined, it will be returned to you with a list advising the information that is required.

When applying for building consent, you need to include a letter from Bay of Plenty Regional Council confirming the AEP flood level of the application site. A letter can be obtained free of charge by either phoning BOPRC on 0800 884 881 or emailing your name, the address of the property you are seeking an AEP for, and your phone number to BOPRC will take up to 5 working days to provide you with the letter.

How long is my building consent valid for?

Building consents are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Work must have commenced within the 12 months or the building consent shall lapse requiring a new application. All building work should be completed within two years from the date that the building consent was issued. If the project has been delayed, it may be possible to apply for an extension to this time.

What sort of information do I need?​

Building consent applications can be complex therefore we recommend that you engage a professional person to help with the design work and drawings. Each application must be accompanied by the information requirements identified in the application pack.  View our Building Application ​Forms page for copies of application packs. Further information on the building consent process can be found in the General Guide to the Building Consent Process​ (PDF, 328KB).

How much will it cost?

This depends on the type of application, cost of work involved and the level of detail provided. Our charges are based on the length of time it takes to process an application and costs included.  View a copy of our Fees and Charges Schedule​​​ (PDF, 551KB).  

An estimate of the fees involved may be provided, however the final cost will not be known until the application is processed. A cancellation fee may apply if you withdraw your application.

How is my application processed?

All applications are put through the formal vetting process. The vetting process is not a technical check; it is merely a check to see if all information has been provided. Your application maybe rejected at this time if insufficient information has been provided.

Once the application has been vetted for completeness, it is formally received and the 20 working day time clock will commence. The application is then passed on to the relevant building officer for formal assessment.​

If there are any questions or concerns, a letter will be sent to you requesting further information/clarification. When a request for further information is sent, the 20 working day time clock is suspended until this information is provided in full.

Once the assessment is complete and compliance with the New Zealand Building Code is met, the application will be granted. Once this approval is given an invoice is generated for the balance of the fees payable (processing fees, inspections etc.).

Upon payment of these fees, the consent will be issued.

How will I be notified of the approval?

If your application has been approved, you will be notified by letter or email with the invoice attached. All payment information can be found in the letter.

If your application has been declined, a letter will be sent advising you of the reasons for refusal.

What are building consent conditions?

These are conditions imposed on your building consent that are deemed necessary to ensure compliance is achieved with the New Zealand Building Code. Conditions may be imposed when specialist inspections are necessary or additional information is required that cannot be sourced until completion of the project. These conditions will either be noted in red on the approved plans and specifications, noted on the actual consent or noted on coloured stickers attached to the plans and specifications.

It is important that you read and understand all conditions of consent before commencing work. If you do not understand any condition imposed, please contact us to discuss.

You have the right to appeal any decision the building consent authority has made, or complain about any building control function the building consent authority undertakes.

Restricted building work and licensed building practitioners

For all building consent applications that contain restricted building work, you must advise us in writing about who the licensed building practitioner is who will be completing or supervising the work. You must do this before the work begins.

This person must be licensed to carry out or to supervise the type of work proposed. You will also need to specify the licensed building practitioner's registration number to us either during consent process or upon request for inspection.

For more information on Licensed Building Practitioners please visit the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Building Performance website.

The Building Act

The Building Act 2004 provides for the regulation of building work, the establishment of a licensing regime for building practitioners, and the setting of performance standards, to ensure that:

  • People who use buildings can do so safely and without endangering their health
  • Buildings have attributes that contribute appropriately to the health, physical independence, and well-being of the people who use them
  • People who use a building can escape from the building if it is on fire
  • Buildings are designed, constructed, and able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development.

To achieve this purpose, the Act requires anyone proposing to do building work to obtain a building consent from a building consent authority before commencing building work.

What is a Building Consent Authority?

Building consent authorities are regional or territorial authorities or private organisations registered under section 273 of the Building Act 2004, and responsible for performing building control functions under Part 2 of the Act.​

How to arrange contact with our building team

By phone or email

If you would like a member of the team to call or email you to discuss your enquiry, or if you would like to book an inspection for an existing building consent, you can phone us on (07) 315 3030 to lodge a call or email return request or click here to use our request a call or email back online form.

In person

If you would like to come in and meet with a member of the team, you can either call us on (07) 315 3030 to lodge an appointment request or click here to use our request an appointment online form.

How long will it take us to respond?

If you are contacting us to arrange an inspection for an existing building consent we will contact you within 24 hours. For all other enquiries we have set a service standard of 5 days to call or email you back to either discuss your enquiry or set an appointment date and time. And we have a service standard of 10 working days to have the appointment with you.

If your request is urgent, please note this on the form and we will do our best to respond as quickly as we can - we are a small team though and this is not always possible. Any change to our service timeframes is at the discretion of the Planning and Regulatory Manager.​

Page reviewed: 02 Jul 2018 12:34pm