Building Consents

1 December 2009

Summer is just around the corner, and you're probably thinking about doing some DIY while the weather is good or over the Christmas holidays - maybe a new deck or a bathroom refit. The Council's Building Consents Manager, Julie Sleep, says it's important to check whether or not you need a building or resource consent.

Builder Tim Growcott at work

Builder Tim Growcott at work

"It's worth checking the Department of Building and Housing website and looking up 'Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004'. This part of the Act - which details all the work you can do without a consent - was amended last year. Now there's more work you can do at home without having to apply for a building consent," says Julie.

This kind of work includes decks under one metre in height, minor plumbing work and installing new doors and windows - so long as it doesn't change the structural integrity of the house.

Julie says it's good to be aware that some work may still require a resource consent even if it doesn't need a building consent, so it pays to check that with us too.

"And it's still important that the work meets the Building Code requirements so it's safe and durable," she says. "The last thing you want when you are selling your house is to find out that some of the work you have done either needed a consent in the first place or wasn't done properly. This can lead to all kinds of trouble. For example, you may find it very hard to find interested buyers."

If you do need a building consent from us for the work you're planning to do and you haven't applied for a consent yet, chances are you might have to wait until next year to get going on your project. Julie says this is the busiest time of year for the building consents team.

"Many people only get round to applying for the consent this late in the year. Even though we usually process consents within 20 working days, we have so many applications to get through at the moment, any applications arriving from now on are unfortunately unlikely to be processed this side of Christmas," says Julie.

The building consent team will operate on skeleton staff from 18 December until 11 January, but consents will still be processed as quickly as possible.