Building consents can be complex. We recommend you work with an experienced professional, such as an architect or designer, to help with design work, drawings, specifications and documentation before applying.
Preparing your application
Work with your agent (architect or designer) to come up with a concept design first. You can ensure that the designer has considered special features or site hazards by requesting a PIM (project information memorandum) or looking at our property information tool.
Purchasing a PIM is optional, but you should use this tool to confirm you have considered these factors before you can apply for a consent.
This is also the time to check whether you require resource consent for your work. A resource consent is a decision issued by Council to let you carry out an activity on your site that is not permitted under the City Plan. Many people who apply for a building consent in Tauranga also require a resource consent.
When applying for a building consent, you’ll need to consult a range of legislation, including the Building Act 2004, the Tauranga City Plan, and the Resource Management Act 1991.
Building Consent Process Guide (2.5mb pdf)
Building Act 2004
Resource Management Act 1991
When submitting professional opinions
Professional opinions, such as producer statements with calculations, should provide sufficient support to a building consent application, to the degree that the BCA will be “satisfied on reasonable grounds” that the building work will comply with the NZ Building Act 2004 and the NZ Building Code. It is the responsibility of the professional to provide quality assurance for documentation they submit during all phases of the life of the building consent, including inspection records and construction statements.
Submitting your application
You can apply for a building consent through our building consents online system. You can also use this to apply for a code compliance certificate when you have finished building and your final inspection has been approved.
To submit a building consent application via hardcopy the applicant can pick up an information pack from the Service Centre or request it be posted out. Please note there is an administration fee to cover hardcopy applications for building consents.
View the schedule of fees
Once you have completed the required documentation you will need to book an appointment with a BCO who will check the application for acceptance. The applicant needs to be in attendance while the BCO checks the application so it can be then entered into the system if accepted. If incomplete the application will be refused, and the applicant will be informed of the required documentation. Once collated a new appointment will need to be arranged.
During processing any RFIs relating to the hardcopy application will be posted to the applicant and the response will be returned to the BCA once all requested items have been collated.
Your application will go through a vetting process to assess if the relevant information has been provided. A decision will be made on whether or not your application is accepted for processing. Once accepted building consents should be processed within 20 days.
Once your application is accepted, the statutory timeframe of 20 working days for processing begins. We make a decision on your building consent within that time period. We will process your application to verify that, if your project is constructed in accordance with your building consent documents, we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that it will be compliant with the building code.
If we have to ask you for further information, we stop processing your application and the 20-day “clock” stops. Please respond quickly with accurate information. Once the full information is provided the clock will be started again and we will finish processing your application.
Your application may be circulated to other parties within Council for processing which may include planning, engineering, building, water, drainage and others.
Your application may also be circulated to external specialists, for example Heritage New Zealand. For some commercial buildings, Council is required to send the fire design to the New Zealand Fire and Emergency Engineering Unit for review.
Granting your building consent
Once we are satisfied that the documentation demonstrates compliance with the building code, we will grant the application. The date your building consent is granted is the date it's approved, pending payment of all fees due by you. You will be notified of any fees that are outstanding.
The granting of a building consent is conditional on you enabling the building work to be inspected.
Issuing your building consent
The building consent is issued to the applicant upon the payment of all fees, levies, and charges. All building consents are issued on the condition that agents authorised by council are entitled at all times during normal working hours or while building work is being done to inspect the land or building work.
Once your building consent is issued, make sure you read the full documentation carefully. In some circumstances, having a building consent issued to you does not necessarily mean that construction can start. Other legislation has a role to play too and you may have to wait for other authorisations such as a resource consent. These conditions will be listed on a certificate attached to your building consent (section 37 of the Building Act).
Conditions may be applied to a consent if the building work has a specified intended life, or they could mean that your consent is granted but there are other rules that must be adhered to.
For hardcopy applications the Form 5 will be printed and provided to the applicant, along with the Form 6 application. Plans and specifications will be provided on a USB which can be taken to a Copy Centre for printing. TCC can provide a printing service for a fee.
The issuing of a building consent is conditional on you enabling the building work to be inspected.
Your building consent documents
Your building consent documents consist of:
- filling out the building consent form in our building consents online system or via hard copy
- building consent construction documentation and advice notes
- a schedule of specified inspections. These are the inspections that are intended to be carried out by Council
- a project information memorandum (PIM) if you requested one, or one was previously issued for the work
- a development contribution notice (Form 3) if there are development contributions that are required to be paid before the code compliance certificate is issued (commonly referred to as a section 36 certificate)
- a certificate attached to PIM (Form 4) if a resource consent is required and there are restrictions on carrying out the work (commonly referred to as a section 37 certificate)
- A draft compliance schedule if the building includes specified systems
- stamped and approved copies of the plans and specifications that you have submitted. This may be split into plans, specifications, and supporting documents.
It is your responsibility to ensure a copy of each of these documents is on site during inspections.
How long is your building consent valid for?
Building consents are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Work must have commenced within the 12 months or the building consent lapses, requiring a new application if you want to proceed with the work.
Inspections (including third parties)
The building consent will require a number of Council inspections to be carried out during the project. Remember to book inspections as you complete stages of the project. Sometimes it is necessary for specialists to do inspections in addition to those done by Council. If third party construction monitoring (e.g. by your engineer) has been agreed, these inspections will be listed in the consent documentation provided to you.
During busy periods the inspection booking calendar can get very busy. It’s best to book 5-10 working days away from when you would like an inspection.
Apply for your code compliance certificate
A code compliance certificate is issued by Council at the completion of building work, and confirms that the building work complies with the building consent.
As soon as practicable following completion of the building work, and after all inspections have been completed, you must apply to Council for a code compliance certificate using Building Consents Online or by contacting the BCA Customer Service team to complete a hardcopy Form 6.
Certificate for public use
If you are a commercial building owner where the public will have access, and you want to start using premises before a code compliance certificate is issued, you must apply for a certificate for public use. This certificate enables members of the public to use the premises until a code compliance certificate is issued.
Certificates for public use can only be used where a consent has been granted for the building work, but a code compliance certificate has not been issued yet.
Anyone who owns, occupies or controls premises intended for public use may apply for a certificate for public use.
Code compliance certificate issued
It can take up to 20 working days to process your code compliance certificate application.
If an application for code compliance certificate has not been made within two years of the date that the building consent was granted, or any further period agreed between the owner and Council, Council must make a decision whether to issue the code compliance certificate.
If an application for a code compliance certificate is refused, you may apply again once any identified non-compliances have been remedied.
If you don’t agree with our decision about your building work, a determination can help you solve the problem. When you apply for a determination, MBIE takes a detailed look at the specific matter and makes a legally binding decision. For more information see MBIE’s website.
Comments, complaints and suggestions
As part of our commitment to providing outstanding customer service we want to know when you are satisfied or not satisfied with the service you receive.
Last Reviewed: 17/11/2020