Applying for a Building Consent



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Current processing times

  • Residential applications: Despite high demand, once initially screened and approved for processing, the majority are being processed in under 20 working days or just over 20 working days, if applications are complete and required detail provided. Any Requests for Information (RFIs) stop processing, and this clock, until complete information is provided.
  • Commercial applications: Due to high demand, once initially screened and approved for processing, are taking up to 28 working days, if applications are complete and required detail provided. Any Requests for Information (RFIs) stop processing, and this clock, until complete information is provided.
  • The processing clock stops between 20 Dec 19 and 10 Jan 19 by legislation. Applicants should plan on limited processing during this period.

What are Building Consents?

A Building Consent is approval that proposed building work complies with the NZ Building Code and the Building Act 2004.

It is a legislated quality control process.

When it is required, building work without a prior Building Consent is illegal. It could put people or property at risk. It affects the ability to insure, finance and sell property.

Who do Building Consents benefit?

It benefits current and future property owners, occupants, users, neighbours, visitors and society at large. It ensures proposed building work is, for example, structurally sound, plumbing and drainage is sanitary and minimum fire standards met.

It benefits those undertaking specific parts of building work, by ensuring that the designs and materials used in previous, concurrent and following stages of construction should work together when brought together. Building inspections ensure Building Code and legislative requirements are met at certain points in construction, before subsequent work can start. This avoids much of the blame game that could arise between different contractors.

It benefits designers by checking their work meets legislative requirements, associated guidance, NZ standards, materials and installation requirements, current building industry training and practices, etc.

When are Building Consents required?

Most, but not all building work, requires a Building Consent. Examples include:

  • New residential buildings
  • New mixed-use and commercial buildings
  • Alterations/extensions to existing buildings
  • Relocation or change of use of buildings
  • New swimming pools and alterations to swimming pools
  • Retaining walls
  • Outbuildings, garages and carports
  • Plumbing and drainage work
  • New, and alterations to, solid fuel heaters 
  • Demolition work
  • Replacing a roof with a different material 
  • Relocating your hot water cylinder to another position
  • Decks over 1.5m
  • Some shade sails
  • Solar panels

When is a Building Consent not required?

More about building work that is or can be exempt from requiring a Building Consent is here.

After reading the above guidance, if you are still unsure if your project requires a Building Consent contact a local property professional or contact the Building Services team specifying that you have a technical question.

When can I start building work?

If Building Consent is required, no physical building work can be started until QLDC has granted and issued a Building Consent, (and Resource Consent, if applicable).

If any site or building work is started before this, it is illegal building work and you are liable for a substantial fine.

Restricted Building Work

Restricted Building Work is work which is critical to the integrity of a building.

All Restricted building work is required to be identified in a Building Consent application, under the Building Act 2004.

Restricted Building Work is residential design, construction or alteration work that:

  • Requires a Building Consent
  • Involves or affects a home’s:
    • Primary structure
    • Weathertightness
    • Certain fire safety design

Restricted Building Work can only be done or supervised by tradespeople who are Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs). LBPs must only work within the scope of their license class. You can search for an LBPs can be searched through MBIE's LBP register.  

How do I Apply for a Building Consent?

  • Information sheets (ISs), fees calculators and application forms to guide you through requirements are here. Choose whether it is a residential or commercial project that is proposed.
  • Provide all the specified forms, calculator spreadsheets, check sheets and supporting documents specified.
  • Ensure you save documents in the right format, with the right file name and with the required contents.
  • With some application types, all documents have to be collated into a single PDF document.
  • Upload what is required here.

What happens if I provide incomplete information?

The application will be rejected or processing will stop. Both of these will delay the earliest possible start date for building work.

If an application is missing a document, entries, or not filled out correctly, it will be rejected after initial screening. At this point processing has not started, a BC number has not been assigned, so payment cannot be taken, and the clock has not started on processing it. These are checks under Section 45 of the Building Act (2004).

After initial screening, if missing or addition information is required for your proposed building work to make a decision, a Request for Information (RFI) is sent. At this point the processing clock stops until all of the required information is supplied.

For example, plans have to be of sufficient quality and detail.

What happens if I delay fee payment?

Application processing does not start until Building Services receives payment confirmation from the finance arm.

If the application is acceptable at initial screening, this is confirmed by email. At this point provide the required fee payment to start application processing using the Building Consent (BC) number.

How long does processing take?

Once the application is accepted, it is lodged in our system, then placed in a queue to be allocated to a Building Control Officer for processing.

After application acceptance, there is a 20 working days for the processing of a Building Consent.

Delays associated with requesting further information (RFI) will result in the processing clock being stopped until the requested information has been received. You can keep track of any RFI correspondence that is communicated between QLDC and your agent through our eDocs system. 

Christmas period 2018

Be aware - legislation dictates the processing clock stops during this period. For this year it is between 20 Dec 18 and 10 Jan 19.

Applicants should plan that limited processing will be taking place during this time.