Before You Build

Before you start any project its best that you invest as much thought and research as possible into the design requirements that will ensure your project is a success. The following information details some of the considerations and options that you should investigate prior to applying for a building consent.   

Upspec your build

The NZ Building Code sets out the minimum requirements that must be satisfied in a building project. When building in our challenging environment however it will often make sense to go beyond these requirements to make your home warmer, drier and more comfortable.

The following video provides an overview of some of the design considerations you may wish to consider during the design phase.

January 2019

Be aware legislation dictates the application 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.

What is a PIM?

A project information memorandum (PIM) is a report issued by QLDC prior to or at the same time as a building consent. A PIM can help you decide whether your planning and building project is possible and practical, and will help you and your designer create effective plans.

If you are proposing to undertake any building work then it is recommended that obtain a PIM. For projects on difficult sites or larger projects such as new commercial or industrial buildings a PIM may prove very useful in establishing the feasibility and design of your project. It may prevent delays and reduce costs in the design of your proposal before getting to the building consent stage.

A PIM can be purchased prior to a building consent or as part of the consent applications itself.

For more information on PIMs please click here.

Building in New Subdivisions

Due to the pace of growth within the QLDC district there are many new subdivision developments under construction and a strong desire to begin the building process as quickly as possible. While early commencement of a build can be seen as positive means for maximising capital gains and relieving financial strain from renting, it also carries significant risk due to the potential uncertainties associated with the unfinished site.

Asubdivision development is not complete until Section 223 and Section 224c certification for the subdivision has been completed. Prior to this certification individual site requirements may be subject to change.

Commonly assessments are required through the subdivision process to establish how a site is serviced, finalise finished floor levels to avoid flooding, establish foundation requirements and to establish if building levels are required to increase to ensure servicing can work effectively. If the subdivision is not complete before you commence building and titles are not issued you may be forced to retrospectively amend any building constructed, at your cost. 

There may also be ongoing conditions to be registered as Consent Notices which will be finalised prior to the subdivision that will create your land title. If your building does not comply with the yet to be confirmed consent notice requirements the building may need to change. There is also a possibility that the subdivision consent may be varied before it is finalised which could change any requirements existing from the original consent.  

It is strongly recommended that you wait until the subdivision process is completed before finalising design details and constructing the dwelling. Commencing works prior to the subdivision certification is done so at the owners own risk.

QLDC accepts no liability for any changes resulting from the subdivision certification that may result in additional changes and costs to you.

Connecting to water services

If property or building work is proposed to connect to water, piped sewerage (wastewater) and/or stormwater, then an application is required. Find more information here.

Building driveways

If building a driveway that crosses council land, then an application to connect to council services is also required. This is the same form as connecting to water services. Find more information here.

Building Consent Exemptions

Some work is exempt from needing a building consent under Schedule 1 of the Building Act. You may want to carefully consider these requirements during the planning phase of your project. For more information on what is exempt and how to apply for an exemption please click here.

Building on land subject to Natural Hazards

The Queenstown Lakes district covers some challenging terrain in which natural hazards do exist. Under section 71 of the Building Act (2004) a building consent can be refused if these natural hazards pose a risk to the land the building work is to be carried out on, or the building work will accelerate or worsen the risk of the natural hazard occurring.

QLDC strongly recommends that a PIM report is obtained to help you decide whether your planning and building project is possible and practical. It will also help you and your designer create effective plans that mitigate any natural hazard risk.

Who is responsible for applying for the Building Consent?

Usually, a building company, architect, designer or builder will lodge the Building Consent application on your behalf as your agent. Alternatively, you can apply for the Building Consent yourself, however you will need a sound technical knowledge of the Building Code to do so. To support you MBIE provides good guidance on the requirements associated with applying for a Building Consent.

To complete the building consent documentation and checklists you will need to specify the means of compliance for all clauses of the building code, so an understanding of Acceptable Solutions, Verification Methods and Alternate Solutions is required.

Please note that even if an agent is acting on your behalf, the Owner is still accountable for ensuring an application for Building Consent for the building work is issued prior to any work commencing.

If you are an Owner-Builder, and your project is a dwelling (restricted building work), please read the information on Owner-Builder Exemptions.