What is a Certificate of Acceptance?
A Certificate of Acceptance provides a “limited” assurance and has some similarities to a Code Compliance Certificate in that it will provide some verification for a building owner/future owner that part or all specified building work complies with the building code.
The assurance is “limited” because Council has relied on evidence provided by third parties to demonstrate compliance with the building code and by what it has been able to inspect of the building work.
A Certificate of Acceptance may be required for all or part of a building/structure.
A Certificate of Acceptance can be applied for building work done after 1st July 1992 and if the work if:
- the work was urgent, necessary to protect lives or property and there was no time to get a building consent (see sec 42)
- an owner, or previous owner, should have got consent but didn’t (under the 1991 or 2004 Building Acts
- an accredited building consent authority – that is not a territorial or regional authority – granted consent but is unable or refuses to issue a Code Compliance Certificate for the work, or,
- work was started or consented before 31st March 2005 and affects public premises
The responsibilities for the owner are identified under section 42 of the Act. If the reason for building without a consent was due to urgent work, as outlined above, the owner must apply for the Certificate of Acceptance as soon as is practicable.
The Building Act 2004 also describes in sections 96 to 99A the use and requirements of Certificate of Acceptance.
You have a legal obligation to comply with the Building Act and you must not start work before obtaining building consent if one is required. If you do, you will be committing an offence under the Act and may be liable for fines of up to $200,000, plus $10,000 for each day that offence continues.
Building Act 2004 (Legislation NZ website)
Applying for a Certificate of Acceptance
You can download a Certificate of Acceptance application form or collect from our main service centre. Your application should be accompanied by all/any drawings, photographs, producer statements from builders/installers/engineers who had any part of the building work.
If the building is a commercial or public building, you must include a list of all the building’s specified systems along with fire reports and any system commissioning statements to show that the systems have been installed correctly and maintained by Independent Qualified Persons.
If the building does have specified systems you are reminded to check out your owner obligations under the building Act 2004, Building Warrant of Fitness.
Certificate Of Acceptance Application Form [893.6kb]
Certificate of Acceptance Guidance document - Additional information for applications [275kb]
Building Owner Obligations (Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment website)
The information provided in your application will form the basis of the building’s Compliance Schedule and should demonstrate how building code compliance provisions have been satisfied (including those parts that have been enclosed and cannot be inspected).
For a swift outcome, we recommend that you engage a building professional with appropriate insurance who specialises in these areas to assist in compiling your application.
This may include a:
- Licensed Building Practitioner,
- Designer or Architect,
- registered electrician,
- certified plumber,
- drain layer,
- gas fitter and
- IQP for specified safety systems.
They will advise what records are required to assist council with processing.
Fees associated with Certificate of Acceptance
There are two methodologies to be aware of when fees for these applications are to be considered.
If the application is made because work was undertaken due to urgency and in agreement with the council, as described in section 42 of the Building Act 2004, charges will be based on actual processing and inspections costs.
If work was undertaken other than urgency, then the fees and charges will usually include charges for checking breaches of planning rules, assessment of compliance to the building code including inspections required. Deposit fees are applicable in these situations so please check our Fees and Charges schedule for more details.
In both cases, if the estimated value of the work, as defined in section 7 Building Act 2004 is over $20,000, BRANZ and MBIE levies will also be required.
Building Act 2004 (Legislation New Zealand website)
Fees and Charges
Processing your Certificate of Acceptance
For more advice about your Certificate of Acceptance application then please arrange an appointment to see a Compliance Officer at our main centre at Forum North Whangarei which can be arranged by contacting us on the details below.
Once accepted, your application will be given a unique number and the “clock” started. Council has 20 days to process your application. All applications will undergo at least three stages of review:
Stage 1 – Initial review
A detailed review of the submitted documents and the relevant council property file, checking for related or other works that may be connected with the site. At this stage the officer may make contact and request or seek further information or clarification of information submitted.
Stage 2 – Inspection
An officer will arrange a date for an inspection of the structure/building. This will involve checking the general site – for natural hazards, proximity of boundaries, and the condition of the stated building work. It will be helpful if you or a representative can be present at the inspection to clarify details with the officer.
Stage 3 – Final review
The officer will consider all the information and make decisions about what council can certify based on “reasonable grounds”. This may go through a peer review process depending on the type of building.
If a request for further information is made, the statutory clock will be paused until all required information has been supplied.
During the review process the application will be checked for other requirements like the need for resource consent, development contributions etc. You will be informed if these apply.
Issuing or refusing a Certificate of Acceptance
Council can either issue or refuse to issue a Certificate of Acceptance. When issuing a Certificate of Acceptance, council will note on the certificate what parts of the structure and which building code clauses it is “reasonably satisfied” comply with the New Zealand Building Code.
The work that cannot be verified as complying will be “excluded”.
Issuing a Certificate of Acceptance for unauthorised building works does not limit us from taking further enforcement action.
If compliance with the building code cannot be verified then a certificate will not be issued. In these cases, it is likely that council will issue notice against the building/structure. This notice may advise the owner to apply for building consent to rectify a dangerous or insanitary situation or possibly to demolish or remove the building.
If you disagree or want to challenge the decisions made by council in this respect you can apply for a determination from the Ministry for Business Employment and Innovation on the decision. They will consider the case an issue their decision - which is binding on all parties. Further information can be found on their web pages on this procedure.
Determinations (Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment website).
Work commenced before 1st July 1992
If building work was done before 1st July 1992 (i.e. buildings constructed under the pre-1992 building permit system) a Certificate of Acceptance cannot be issued.
If required, you can commission a Condition Assessment Report prepared by a suitably qualified professional. The report should confirm:
- The work is considered safe
- The structure is sanitary (not offensive or likely to be a health risk)
- The structure is not subject to dampness
- The structure has adequate drinking water or sanitary facilities (as applicable)
- Inform of any requirements for building work required and whether this requires building consent.
Such a report records the views of the report writer only. Council do not require this report nor will add this to the property record held by council.
For further advice please refer to the Ministry’s advice pages on Certificate of Acceptance.
Certificates of Acceptance (Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment website).