Apply for a building consent
Guidance on applying for building consent with us, and how to change or withdraw your building consent application after you've submitted it.
You can download and complete an application form, complete the appropriate checksheet and provide information that is relevant to your building project. These should be lodged on online at Upload files using Sharefile. There are specific requirements for naming and file collation please take time to read this.
In some cases for small projects (e.g. fire places) we may accept hardcopy applications at our Queenstown and Wanaka offices.
If you are not familiar with building plans and compliance with the building code, we recommend you engage an experienced professional to supply the required drawings and information, and to apply for a building consent on your behalf.
- What building work requires a building consent
- Project Information Memorandum (PIM)
- What you need to provide with your application
- Fees and Charges
- Pre-acceptance check
- Restricted building work
- Exempt building work
- Other considerations for your application
Change of Use
- Building on Land Subject to Natural Hazards
- How your application is processed
- Granting and issuing your building consent
- Receiving your building consent
- More information
The Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have clear guidance on what does and does not require a building consent and the implications of not gaining a building consent. https://www.building.govt.nz/projects-and-consents/planning-a-successful-build/scope-and-design/check-if-you-need-consents/
Please note other legislation may still need to be considered including any requirements under the resource management act (RMA) and District Plan.
A Project Information Memorandum (PIM) is a report purchased, and issued by QLDC, prior to, or at the same time as, a Building Consent.
A PIM is recommended, if proposing building work. It helps in establishing service connections (e.g.water, sewer and sormwater) and information known about the land features and hazards. This will help in deciding whether the building project is feasible and for the designer to provide complying documentation. It may prevent delays and reduce costs in the design before getting to the Building Consent stage.
More information can be found at Building – Building Services - PIM.
Include the following information:
- Application for a building consent Form 2 (It is important to get this correct please see our guidance on completing your building consent application (Form 2))
- The relevant check sheets for specific projects (e.g. CS 19.3, CS 19.5)
- Building Consent Fee Calculator (AF CALC)
- Proof of ownership - a current copy of the certificate of title (less than three months old)
- All applicable plans, specifications and supporting documents as detailed on the relevant check sheet, demonstrating how the work will comply with the building code
- Agreement to Provide Producer Statement(s) and Certification during construction (CS 7.2)
- Other forms specific to your project (e.g. application for an alternative solution) see all forms
- Reference any issued project information memoranda (PIMs) or resource consents
- If restricted building work: A memorandum from licensed building practitioner (Certificate of design work)
- Any pre-lodgement correspondence
The most efficient way of making payments is online, linked to the application using the BC number. The link to online payments is on the QLDC Building Consents page.
- An easy to use fee calculator ‘AF CALC’, is required to be used to work out the initial fees for the Building Consent. This is submitted with your building consent.
- Building work estimated values, match exactly on Form 2 and AF CALC.
- Estimated building work values should be GST inclusive
- A guide to fees and levies can be found at ‘IS BCF Building Consent Initial Fees and Other Charges’
- Once the application is accepted, payment is required to start the processing clock for the application
Payment may be processed through your own bank, with all following BNZ and QLDC required details:
- Account number: 02 0948 0002000 000
- Particulars: Payee Name
- Code: Property Address
- Reference: BC Number (important)
Providing a high standard of documentation is the best way to get approval for your consent. All applications will be checked for completeness prior to acceptance. Make sure that you have compiled your documents carefully to avoid delays in accepting your application.
Please note: if your application is incomplete it will not be accepted and the statutory processing timeframe will not start until the missing information has been provided and resubmitted.
If you are unable to provide the information for a complete application we will send an email / letter. This will include details of the information required to accept the application.
The BC number is sent after the successful initial screening and acceptance of the application documentation
Once the application is accepted, payment is required to start the processing clock for the application (this may take one working day)
What is restricted building work?
Restricted building work is residential design, construction or alteration work that:
requires a building consent
- and involves or affects a home’s:
- primary structure
- certain fire safety design.
Meaning of ‘residential’
The rules about restricted building work cover residential building work to a house or small to medium sized apartment.
A house is:
- a free-standing, fully detached building consisting of a single residential unit.
- A small to medium sized apartment is a building that:
- contains two or more residential units (apartments or townhouses) or residential facilities (such as a foyer, laundry, garage, etc)
- does not contain commercial units or facilities
- has a maximum height of less than 10m (the vertical distance between the highest point of its roof – excluding aerials, chimneys, flagpoles and vents – and the lowest point of the ground).
All RBW must be carried out or supervised by a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) who is licensed and competent to carry out or supervise the work. The design class for LBPs includes persons that have successfully applied under the Building Act 2004 (the Act) to be licensed, as well as CPEng (under the Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Act 2002) and registered architects (under the Registered Architects Act 2005) that are automatically treated as LBPs licensed in the design class. CPEng are also automatically treated as LBPs licensed in the site class.
Certificate of design work
If your project involves restricted building work (RBW) a Certificate of design work (CoW) is required under section 45(3) of the building act with your building consent application. Detailed information on restricted building work (RBW) can be found at https://www.building.govt.nz/projects-and-consents/planning-a-successful-build/scope-and-design/choosing-the-right-people-for-your-type-of-building-work/use-licensed-people-for-restricted-building-work/restricted-building-work/
DIY and restricted building work
You can do work on your own home or holiday home yourself, including restricted building work, as long as you meet the requirements of the owner builder exemption and obtain any necessary building consent before starting work.
Remember, any building work you do must comply with the Building Code and, if it is restricted building work, you still need to obtain a building consent.
Applying for and using the exemption
You need to complete a statutory declaration form to show you meet the owner-builder criteria before you can use the exemption.
The form has to be witnessed and signed by a Justice of the Peace or someone else authorised to do so.
You will need to give the form to your local council when you submit your building consent application.
If you do not give your council the form with your consent application, you will need to provide them with a notice that you, as an owner-builder, are going to carry out restricted building work on your home.
As an owner-builder, you will also need to give them a notice if:
- there is a change in you carrying out the restricted building work
- you cease to carry out the restricted building work.
This is defined in Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. It is titled 'Building work for which building consent is not required'. More guidance is on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Building it has a detailed guidance document with examples of exempt and non-exempted work. https://www.building.govt.nz/projects-and-consents/planning-a-successful-build/scope-and-design/check-if-you-need-consents/building-consent-exemptions-for-low-risk-work/schedule-1-guidance/
Even if exempt, the owner may consider applying for a Building Consent and a Project Information Memorandum (PIM). These ensure legal requirements are identified and provide appropriate documentation on the property file that completed work is compliant.
QLDC can make a discretionary exemption, under Schedule 1, Exemption 2. See more information at How to Apply for Discretionary Exemption?
Keeping a record of your exempt work
Keeping records will assist if selling your home in the future. Purchasers and agents are likely to have questions about building work done.
The ' AF EXOWN Notification of Building Work- Owner Decided Exemption' form can be filled in.
Importantly this information is simply uploaded. It is not checked or assessed by QLDC.
The form, along with required supporting documentation, can be uploaded to QLDC's online property file for the address. This assists record keeping of compliance and may assist with future property sale.
Alterations to an existing building
If your application is for an alteration to an existing building, you need to consider section 112 of the Building Act 2004 and provide analysis of:
- How the building provides for means of escape from fire
- How the building provides access and facilities for persons with disabilities (where this is a requirement)
- How the building will comply with other provisions of the building code at least as much as it did before the building work began
- Proposal for upgrade of the building for the above matters (unless it already fully complies) including a list of benefits and sacrifices (e.g. pros and cons) involved in the proposals.
- Further guidance is available on MBIE's website.
In some circumstances, an owner who intends to change the use of a building (or part of a building) must give notice in writing to the Council of that intention.
How is building use defined?
Every building is designed for a specific use and has to meet Building Code requirements that ensure it will be safe, healthy and durable when used in the way it was designed. If that use changes, the building may need to be altered to support the new use. The regulation divides the uses for all or parts of buildings into four broad activity groups:
- Crowd activities
- Sleeping activities
- Working, business or storage activities, and
- Intermittent activities.
The four broad activity groups each have a number of uses adding up to 15 uses overall. Definitions and examples for each of these uses are also given in Schedule 2 of the regulations
When does a change of use occur?
A change of use occurs when:
- a building’s (or part of a building’s) use, as defined in the Regulations, changes and
- the new use has more onerous or additional Building Code requirements than the old use. The additional or more onerous requirements will usually mean that the fire hazard or the risk to life has increased in the building's new use.
A building consent may not be required:
- where written notification has been received and the Council is satisfied that the building already complies with section 115 of the Building Act without the need for any upgrade; or
- the proposed building work is exempt from requiring a building consent under Schedule 1, Building Act 2004. This includes provision for the Council to approve a discretionary exemption.
How to notify the Council of a change of use?
To notify council of a change of use the owner gives notice to Building Services at Queenstown Lakes District Council (see our Contact Us page). The notification must be accompanied by sufficient supporting documents and reports to satisfy the building upgrade provisions of Section 115 of the Building Act 2004 which are outlined in more detail below.
Most commercial applications need to consider:
- Access and facilities for people with disabilities to be assessed and achieve compliance that is as near as is reasonably practicable. This would include toilets, accessible routes and signage, among other items.
- Means of escape from fire, fire rating performance and protection of other property to be assessed and a proposal made to achieve compliance that is as near as reasonably practicable. A design professional, fire engineer or someone suitably knowledgeable would need to provide a gap assessment against the relevant acceptable solution to determine whether the building is currently as near as reasonably practicable or some upgrade is required.
- The structure of the building to be assessed and a proposal provided to achieve compliance that is as near as reasonably practicable.
Where the change of use incorporates a new residential unit there are further requirements to consider. The request for a change of use needs to address as nearly as is reasonably practicable compliance with all aspects of the building code.
The 'as near as is reasonably practicable' test is a weighting exercise and involves a sacrifices and benefits assessment where the sacrifices and difficulties of achieving full compliance are balanced against the advantages of upgrading. Protection of life is to have a high weighting in these considerations. For more information on as near as reasonably practicable there is guidance from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.
How will your notification be processed?
Your notification of proposed change of use will be assessed by a building consent officer and specialists as required. Depending on the complexity of the project this assessment is likely to be processed within 20 working days.
During the assessment we will:
- Identify and advise customer of any other authorisations that may be required - e.g. resource and building consent.
- Establish if the proposed use is a change of use under the Building Act.
- Assess if the building complies ‘as nearly as is reasonably practicable’ to the provisions in section 115.
- Identify and advise customer if any building work or upgrades are required to achieve ‘as nearly as is reasonably practicable’ for the required provisions of the building code.
- Provide the owner with written notice that either;
a. the proposed change is not a change of use and does not require notification or written approval, or;
b. the Council is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building in its new use will comply as nearly as reasonable practicable with the relevant provisions of the building code and therefore no upgrade is required, or;
c. the Council is not satisfied that the building in its new use will comply as nearly as reasonable practicable with the provisions of the building code and reject the change of use. A notice to fix may be sent to the owner if the building in its current use does not comply with the provisions of the building code.
Once you have submitted an application, you will need to pay a deposit fee as set in our fee schedule.
Neglecting to notify a change of use
When an owner neglects to notify the Council of a change of use that has already occurred, the consequences can be as follows:
- A maximum fine of $5,000 may be imposed if it is found that the owner has committed an offence by failing to give the Council written notice before changing the use of a building.
- If there has been work carried out that would have required Council approval then:
- An infringement notice might be issued.
- A notice to fix or a requirement that the owner apply for a certificate of acceptance might also apply as the Council still needs to be satisfied that the building in its new use will meet the requirements under section 115 of the Building Act.
You can also refer to the MBIE website – Change of use, alterations and extension of life(external link)
Buildings with specified intended lives
The definition of a building in the Building Act includes 'any temporary or permanent movable or immovable structure'. If you want your building to have a specified intended life of less than 50 years, you must state its specified intended life on your application form.
The specified intended life applies to a whole building, not a building element (such as a solid fuel burner) or a building system (such as a cladding system). We will then assess your application and if applicable grant the building consent with a specified intended life subject to the conditions in section 113, Building Act 2004.
The standard condition will state that the building must be altered, removed or demolished on or before the end of its specified intended life. Council will also add to the condition that, should an application to alter the building to extend its life be made under section 116, the durability of the building must be shown to be of a standard appropriate to the extension of life requested.
If you want to extend the life of your building that has a specified intended life, section 114 requires that you must give written notice to Council. For Council to be able to give written consent it will require a building consent application to assess the building has been altered as per section 116.
Subdivision of an existing building
The Council cannot issue a subdivision affecting a building or part of a building unless it has considered section 116A of the Building Act 2004. This will be assessed with your application for unit title subdivision.
It is strongly recommended the subdivision certification is completed before finalising design details and starting building work. Starting it before is done so at the owner's risk.
QLDC accepts no liability for any changes resulting from the subdivision certification that may result in additional changes and costs to you.
A subdivision is not complete until certification is completed, under Sections 223 and 224c of the Resource Management Act 1991. Prior to this, 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
- Establish if building levels are required to increase to ensure servicing can work effectively.
If subdivision is not completed before building start, and titles are not issued, any building constructed may have to be retrospectively amended, at your own cost.
Ongoing conditions may be registered as Consent Notices, which will be finalised prior to the subdivision that will create the land title. If the building does not comply with the yet to be confirmed Consent Notice requirements, the building may need to change. The subdivision consent may also be varied before it is finalized, which may change any requirements of the original consent.
Commercial applications with specified systems
If your application is for a commercial project, you need to include a specified system form for each new or altered specified systems in the building work and provide their inspection, maintenance and reporting requirements. More information can be found on the Compliance Schedule page.
Queenstown Lakes District covers challenging terrain where some natural hazards exist. Under Section 71 of the Building Act 2004, a Building Consent application 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
A PIM report is strongly recommended to help assess if a project is possible and practical, from a planning and building perspective. It will also assist the owner and designer to create effective plans that mitigate natural hazard risks.
Once your application is accepted the statutory timeframe, or clock of 20 working days for processing your application begins. We make a decision on your building consent within 20 working days.
The clock is reduced to 10 working days if the building that you are proposing has a MultiProof approval. See the MBIE website for information on the MultiProof service that is available to builders proposing standardised building designs.
Request for further information and the statutory clock
During processing of your application, the clock stops if we have to ask you for further information. Please respond quickly with accurate information. Once the full information is provided the clock will be started again.
Verifying your application against compliance with the building code
We process your application to verify that if your project is constructed in accordance with your building consent application, it will be considered compliant with the Building code.
The date your building consent is granted is the date your building consent was approved pending payment of all fees due by you before it can be issued. Your building consent is not released until all outstanding fees have been paid.
The date your building consent is issued is the date your building consent was approved and all outstanding fees due by you have been fully paid.
We send you a link of documents for you to download. These should be printed off and available on site.