Find out if you need a building consent

You will need a building consent for most building work.

How it works

A building consent confirms that proposed building work complies with the Building Code and will be safe and fit for purpose. If you need a building consent, you must get it before building work starts.

When you need a building consent

You need a building consent if you're:

  • building a new house
  • doing any work on a house that will affect the structure of the building
  • making an addition to a building
  • building a garage
  • adding an accessory building (for example, a granny flat or tiny home) that's over 10m2 or will have sanitary or cooking facilities
  • building a retaining wall that's load-bearing or over 1.5 metres
  • building a deck more than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • building a fence higher than 2.5 metres or a pool fence
  • adding a building closer than the measure of its own height to any residential building or legal boundary (for example, if your shed is 2 metres high, you'll need a building consent to place it closer than 2 metres from your house)
  • relocating an existing structure
  • substantially re-piling
  • adding insulation to external walls
  • installing a solid fuel heater or fireplace
  • doing plumbing or drainage work other than simple plumbing repairs.

Consents and permissions for common projects

When you don't need a building consent

You usually don't need a building consent for general building repairs and maintenance, or low-risk projects such as:

  • removing a chimney
  • laying a patio
  • adding a carport under 20m2 on ground level
  • adding a single-storey garden shed, sleepout or cabin under 10m2 without sanitary or cooking facilities that is its height away from the boundary
  • adding a pergola
  • enclosing an existing verandah or patio that's under 5m2
  • adding a shade sail or awning
  • building a fence under 2.5 metres
  • building a deck that's less than 1.5 metres off the ground
  • building a retaining wall that won't be load-bearing and is less than 1.5 metres high
  • demolishing a building that is detached and not more than 3 storeys high
  • adding ceiling or underfloor insulation.

All work must still comply with the Building Code.

For a full list of building work that doesn't need a building consent, visit Building Performance – Exempt building work guidance

If you want to build across two or more allotments

Adding a record of exempt building work to a property file

If your property has old or unconsented building work without a code compliance certificate

If you're not sure

Contact us, or seek advice from a draughtsperson, architect, or engineer – they can tell you if your project needs a building consent.

The Building Compliance and Consents team is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Building Compliance and Consents
Phone: 04 801 4311
Email: bcc@wcc.govt.nz