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Building Consents


What is a Building Consent?

A building consent is approval from Council for you to carry out building works at a specific site. It ensures that building, plumbing, drainage and fire safety requirements comply with the NZ Building Code.

A Building Consent is required for all work involving construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new or existing buildings. Building work must commence within twelve months of the consent being issued and completed within two years of the consent being granted (unless an extension is arranged).

Do I need a Building Consent?

In general

You will need a Building Consent for any structural building work, new plumbing and drainage, retaining walls over1.5m, fences over 2.5m, swimming pools, decks more than one metre above ground level, sheds over 10m2. You'll also need one before installing a woodburner or a commercial aircon system.

Some other building work doesn't require a consent - like patios at ground level, small sheds and low decks, maintenance on your house, etc. These rules are set by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Check out their guidance document to find out if you need to apply for a Buiding Consent or not. If you have any doubts, call us on 07 577 7000.

MBIE’s guidance document - building work that does not require a building consent

Remember the Building Code

Irrespective of whether or not a Building Consent is required, all building works must be completed in accordance with the Building Code. It is an offence under the Building Act to intentionally undertake building work without a building consent. Some building work carried out without a Building Consent is regarded as illegal work. It is often costly to set right and may put people’s safety or property at risk. Illegal building works may also impact on your insurance cover and/or house sale negotiations.

Some specifics 

Carports | Converting a garage to a habitable dwelling | Conservatories | Decks | Fences | Garage on a boundary | Garden sheds | Gas fires | Gas cookers | Granny flat | House demolition I House relocation | Marquees/tents | Plumbing | Replacing windows | Re-roofing | Retaining wall | Scaffolding | Shade sails | Solar panels | Solid fuel heaters/wood burners | Swimming pool fencing | Water tanks

Carports

  • Building Consent is not required if the construction, installation, replacement, alteration or removal is no larger than 20 square metres, on ground level and is attached to a building.

However -

  • A carport is a ‘building’ in terms of the Proposed Tauranga City Plan if it is greater than 10m2 in area on the horizontal plane, or is over 2m in height. This means that although you may not need a building consent, you might still need a resource consent if the carport does not comply with bulk and location rules contained in the City Plan.  
     
  • See the City Plan  for bulk and location rules for the Zone where your property is located.

Conservatories

  • A consent is required for Conservatories greater than five square metres in floor area.

Also -

  • A conservatory is a ‘building’ in terms of the Proposed Tauranga City Plan if it is greater than 10m2 in area on the horizontal plane, or is over 2m in height.  This means that although you may not need a building consent, you might still need a resource consent if the conservatory does not comply with bulk and location rules contained in the City Plan. 
  • See the City Plan for bulk and location rules for the Zone where your property is located.

Converting a garage to a habitable dwelling or space

  • A building consent maybe required to convert a garage into a habitable dwelling or space, depending on what you intend to do.  Please contact an architect or draughtsman to help you with the changes.

As a general guide, you may need to:

  • insulate ceiling and walls
  • building envelope including claddings, glazing and roof may need to be brought up to current building code standards
  • concrete slab may have polythene underneath
  • The ground level outside the garage may need to be lower than existing slab demonstrating compliance with the building code
  • Ventilation and daylight needs to comply with requirements for a habitable space.
  • the building needs to meet all boundary guidelines
  • You may also require Resource Consent

Decks

  • Any deck over one metre requires a compliant barrier.
  • Decks under 1.5 metre do not require a building consent, but still need to meet the building code.
  • If the deck is less than one metre in height, then it can go as close to the boundary as possible as long as it is not touching the boundary.
  • Also check the City Plan for any planning restrictions

The City Plan contains rules about establishing an independent dwelling unit (eg a converted garage containing both a sink for food preparation purposes and bathroom facilities).

Development Contributions may also apply.

Fences

  • A fence over 2.5 metres in height will require a building consent, however the City Plan only allows for 2m.  Anything over this will require a Resource consent as well.

Also -

  • A fence is a ‘building’ in terms of the City Plan if it is greater than 10m2 in area on the horizontal plane, or is over 2m in height.  This means you may need a resource consent if your fence is over 2m in height. 
  • See the City Plan for bulk and location rules for the Zone where your property is located.
  • The Council will not participate in neighbour disputes around fences. The Citizens Advice Bureau has information available. The New Zealand Law Society produces a pamphlet entitled ‘Over the fence… are your neighbours’ which discusses the legal issues surrounding fences. For further information, please see their website: www.lawsociety.org.nz

Garage on a boundary

  • You will need a building consent to build your garage, together with Written Approval of Affected Person/s  and endorsement from all owners and occupiers of the affected property on the building consent plans. 
  • In some circumstances you may require resource consent approval where bulk and location rules for the Zone where your property is located cannot be met. See the City Plan

Garden sheds

  • Any garden shed greater than 10 square metres in floor area will require a building consent.

Also -

  • A garden shed is a ‘building’ in terms of the City Plan if it is greater than 10m2 in area on the horizontal plane, or is over 2m in height. 
  • See the City Plan for bulk and location rules for the Zone where your property is located. If the rules relating to bulk and location cannot be met, resource consent may be required.

Gas fires

  • You don’t need a building consent for a gas fire but a permit is required for the gas piping.
  • You should get a Gas Installation Certificate from the company who installs your gas fire for your records.
  • You can put a copy of this certificate on your property file free of charge.
  • Consent is required for a false chimney on an exterior wall.

Gas cookers

  • You don’t need a building consent to change from an electric cooker to a gas cooker.
  • You should get a Gas Installation Certificate from the company who installs your gas cooker for your records.
  • You can put a copy of this certificate on your property file free of charge.

Granny flat / Secondary Independent Dwelling Unit / Sleepout

  • The City Plan contains rules about establishing an independent dwelling unit (eg a granny flat containing both a sink for food preparation purposes and bathroom facilities).
  • Development Contributions may also apply.

House demolition

Schedule 1, section 30 of the Building Amendment Act 2013 updated the rules for house demolition.

  • Building consent is not required for demolition of detached buildings up to three storeys high.
  • If the demolition is for part of a building and it affects the primary structure, or specified system or any fire separation, then building consent is required.
  • If the demolition is for part of a building and doesn’t affect the primary structure, or specified system or any fire separation, then no building consent is required.
  •  If demolition is for a building that is attached or semi attached to another building then a building consent is required.
  • If a Building Consent for demolition has been approved, Council’s Building Inspections team will inspect the property to check that all of the services have been ‘capped off’ once demolition is complete.

House relocation

  • A Building Consent is required for the foundations and the connection of services i.e. water and drainage. 
  • City Plan requirements regarding density, bulk and location must also be met.

Marquee / tents

  • Any marquee for public use that does not have a floor area greater than 100 square metres will not require a building consent so long as the marquee is only in place for a maximum of one month.   
  • Temporary Activity provisions of the City Plan may apply. Temporary Activities include individual carnivals, fairs, galas, public meetings, filming, concerts, sporting and other special events.

Plumbing

  • Re-configuration of a bathroom will not require a building consent so long as no extra sanitary fittings are added, and the work is carried out by a registered plumber.

Replacing windows

  • Replacing windows will not require a building consent as long as they are installed to meet the requirements of the building code.

Re-roofing

  • Replacing old roof coverings with new coverings may require a building consent except when replacing like for like.

Retaining walls

  • All retaining walls at or over 1.5m high require a building consent.
  • Retaining walls less than 1.5m high may not require a building consent, if and only if the wall does not and will not be bearing a surcharge.
  • Surcharge means a weight other than that of the ground that is being retained i.e. a house or parked cars, a neighbouring property, a slope greater than 5° above the wall.
  • If the wall is taking surcharge, an engineer's report/design may be required. Please call us on 07 577 7000 to discuss this before you lodge your building consent. Please note that in these cases we cannot provide an estimate on building consent costs until we know whether an engineer's report/design is required.
  • More information on building consents and other requirements for retaining walls: Retaining walls factsheet (284kb pdf)

Scaffolding

  •  Please enquire at customer services or phone the call centre on 07 577 7000.

Shade sails

  • Building consent is not required if the Shade Sail does not exceed 50 square metres, or if it is on the ground, or first storey level, of the building. 
  • A building consent is not required where the shade sale is no closer than 1m to any legal boundary, however where the support structures exceed 2m in height they will qualify as a ‘building’ in terms of the City Plan and therefore must adhere to the yard setback requirements of the zone in which the property is located.

Solar panels

  • Solar panels for heating water need a building consent.
  • A Building Consent however is not required for Solar Panels generating electricity only.
  • The City Plan details the height envelope of the zone in which the property is located. All buildings must be within this envelope, with the exception of specific allowances for building components (including solar panels) under Permitted Intrusions rules page 45, Rule 4H.2.

Solid fuel heaters / wood burners

  • You need a building consent to install a new solid fuel heater or wood burner or replace an existing one. Learn more about solid fuel heaters.

Swimming pool fencing

  • Structures that can be used for wading, bathing or paddling in, and have a water depth greater than 400mm must be fenced.
  • Any new swimming pool fence will require a building consent prior to construction.  Learn more about swimming pool fencing.

Water tanks

A building consent is not required for the construction of, or alteration of, any tank or its structural support, provided that:

  • it does not exceed 35,000 litres capacity
  • it is placed directly on the ground and does not require a supporting structure.

Last Reviewed: 07/04/2017