Even if you don’t need a building consent all works must be completed in accordance with the Building Code.
You are likely to need a building consent for any structural building work, new plumbing and drainage, retaining walls over 1.5m, fences over 2.5m, swimming pools greater than 35,000 litres, decks and platforms over 1.5 metres, note you will still need a safety barrier where there is a fall of 1 metre or more. 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) in Schedule 1 of the Building Act.
New building consent exemptions commenced 31 August 2020.
Read more about the Government's new exemptions
Under the Building Act 2004, it’s an offence to carry out work that requires a building consent, and it’s 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 or house sale negotiations.
Although the Council is the regulatory authority that inspects, issues and monitors consents, it is not the organisation that decides what needs to be consented and what is exempted.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) outlines what building work does not require a building consent. If the work that you are planning falls outside of the specified requirements, you will need to get a building consent.
MBIE guide on building work that does not require a building consent
Even if you do not need a building consent, it is your responsibility to make sure all work is completed in accordance with the Building Code.
It is a building owner’s responsibility to determine whether a building consent is required. If you are not sure, speak to a professional as council staff are unable to visit sites to determine if a consent is needed.
Building owner responsibilities for exempt building work
Under the Building Act 2004, it’s an offence to carry out work that requires a building consent, and any work will be regarded as illegal. 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 or house sale negotiations.
All building work, including work that does not require a building consent must still meet the Building Code as well as other relevant legislation. Council policies such as the City Plan, Infrastructure Development Code (IDC), Resource Management Act 1991, the Electricity Act 1992 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
If the work you are planning to carry out falls outside of the specified requirements of exempted work, you will need to get a building consent or apply for a Schedule 1 (2) exemption. A qualified professional can help you with this.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has outlined new building exemptions that will come in to effect in August 2020. These new exemptions will save building owners time and money by not having to go to their local council to get a consent for common, low-risk building work.
These new exemptions add to the work that can already be done without a building consent, as outlined in Schedule 1 of the Building Act. Some of the new exempt building work can be done without the help of a professional, while others require the involvement of a Chartered Professional Engineer or Licensed Building Practitioner.
Information from MBIE on new building exemptions
Before carrying out exempted work, it's important you follow the MBIE guidance correctly. New guidance will be issued before the new exemptions commence in August. If you are unsure what legislation may apply, and what the requirements are, it's best to consult a professional.
Remember, even if you don’t need a building consent all works must be completed in accordance with the Building Code.
The City Plan is a legal document prepared under the Resource Management Act 1991. It sets out the rules for development and use of any land within Tauranga and identifies what you can do as a permitted activity and what you cannot do without a resource consent.
A building consent is confirmation that the proposed building will meet the requirements of the building code and associated regulations.
In order to begin construction of your project, you will require the necessary approvals under both the Building Act 2004 and when necessary, the City Plan.
Even if the work you wish to undertake is exempt from requiring building consent, it is your responsibility to find out whether your proposal complies with the City Plan, and demonstrate how as part of your building consent application. You should review the City Plan rules and seek advice from your draughtsperson or Consultant Planner.
If you and your planning professional determine that a resource consent is required, it is best practice to seek and obtain it prior to seeking a building consent. This may avoid unnecessary time and costs by aligning the building and resource consent process.
If you have any questions about how to interpret the City Plan rules, you can seek clarification from the Duty Planner at 07 577 7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
View the City Plan
A resource consent is approval for you to use a ‘resource’ such as land. You'll need one if you're planning to subdivide land or undertake any activity on a site that doesn't comply with the rules and standards of our City Plan.
For some activities you may also need resource consent from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
A resource consent comes with a very important responsibility. It requires you to consider the effects of your resource use on the environment and your community, and to avoid or reduce any effects that are significant.
A building consent is written approval from the Council to carry out specific building work on a specified site and must comply with current regulations. It ensures that the proposed work is safe, durable, and doesn’t endanger the health and safety of anyone using the building.
A building consent is granted if we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building code provisions will be met if the work is properly completed in accordance with the plans, and specifications in the application.
Building owners are responsible for determining whether a building consent is required or asking for advice from a professional if you're unsure. Or you can seek clarification by calling 07 577 7000 and asking to speak to the Duty Building Officer.
Building owner responsibilities for exempt building work
Benefits of getting a building consent
Getting a building consent ensures your building complies with the quality and safety standards of the Building Code, but it also protects you in other ways.
Selling your house
When you sell your house, the prospective buyer will likely request a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) on your property. The LIM shows all permits and building consents issued for your property. The prospective purchaser may ask that you bring unpermitted works up to Building Code standard before completing the sale.
Insuring your house
There may be insurance implications where damage results from unpermitted building, plumbing or drainage works.
Last Reviewed: 03/09/2020