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.
MBIE's guidance on building work that does not require a building consent
If you want to build across two or more allotments
If you own adjoining pieces of land and want to build across the boundary, you'll need a certificate from the Council before we can grant a building consent. The certificate says that the specified allotments can no longer be transferred or leased separately.
Contact us on 04 801 4311 or email@example.com before you apply to find out more.
Adding a record of exempt building work to a property file
As the owner, you can place a record with the Council on your property file about work you believe to be exempt from needing a building consent. This service costs $100.
Note: Holding this information on file does not mean it will be made available on Land Information Memoranda.
Notification of exempt building work (48KB PDF)
If your property has old or unconsented building work without a code compliance certificate
If you discover work was done (usually by a previous owner) either without consent, or without being issued a CCC, you may be able to apply for a certificate of acceptance. To get a certificate of acceptance, the work must meet the current Building Code.
Certificate of acceptance for unconsented work
If your building consent is more than 5 years old, you'll need to contact us to discuss as these situations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Email BCC.MajorProjects@wcc.govt.nz
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