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Safe and Sanitary - Building Condition Assessment Reports

This page contains information about reports that may be obtained on a building's condition by owners but will not feature as part of council's record and the reasoning why these reports are not filed by council.
Updated: 2/11/2018 1:14 p.m.

In some circumstances there are limited records that Council holds on its property file.

This does not always mean that your building does not have a building permit or building consent or that it must have one, there is simply no known record of it.

Building Reports

If considering a building report, a sensible option is to ensure that there is some robustness to the process, therefore, it is recommended that the report should be completed to a suitable standard such as the Residential Property Inspection Standard NZS 4306 the latest edition. 

This standard sets out the minimum requirements for the visual inspection of residential buildings and for the preparation of the appropriate property inspection report. 

This may assist you in identifying competent inspectors to carry out these inspections.

Reports should make provision for significant defects, particular attributes, gradual deterioration and significant maintenance required including the need for consented building work.

There information on this subject using the standard above as part of a web search.

In considering your due diligence, which can be defined as "action that is considered reasonable for people to be expected to take in order to keep themselves or others and their property safe", it is recommended that your property inspection report is to the appropriate standard when considering purchasing a property.

Current Practice

Council's policy is not to accept building information unless it directly relates to building work undertaken after 1 July 1992, with or without permission. 

Council has some scope for "regularising" this work within the legislation, but has no scope for work conducted before this date. 

If the building work was "unconsented" and conducted after 1 July 1992 the work may be able to be "regularised" by demonstrating compliance with the building code.

The main method of achieving this will be by applying for a certificate of acceptance.

If your building dates before 1 July 1992 Council has no obligation to consider applications for certificates of acceptance. 

You can have your building surveyed, inspected or assessed but this should be considered a private requirement, it cannot form part of Council's record.

The report, assessment or survey has no recognised standing under the current Building Act as there is no retrospective ability to regularise, legalise or legitimise this building work.

However, if your report identifies building work is required, you will need to check whether this work is "repairs and maintenance" and, therefore, covered under Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004, i.e. exempt from the requirement for building consent, or whether consent is required for the work.

There are some important dates that relate to building permits and building consents that must be considered.


By 1979 building permits were administered by over 60 Acts and volume of specific local bylaws this was administered by more than 19 Central Government Departments, 300 municipal authorities and a variety of other organisations like the New Zealand Fire Service.

Building permits did not have a formal sign off and ceased to exist as a permission to build on 31 March 1992.

Property files with building permits are usually light in detail and often do not reflect changes made over time to residential and commercial buildings.

In 1991, the Building Act was passed, and the New Zealand Building Code took effect in 1992. The Building Industry Authority was established under the Act as the central government monitoring agency. This is known as the first Building Act and was in place from 1 July 1992 until 31 March 2005.

The Building Act 2004 repealed the Building Act 1991 and introduced a number of changes to the law governing building work. These changes were introduced in stages between 2005 and 2012.

Under the transitional provisions of this Act there is the ability to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance for work performed from 1 July 1992.  

Some timelines to remember

1890 - 1920 Villas and bungalows (limited record available) Building permit record

1920 - 1940 Transitional villas and bungalows (limited record available) Building permit record

1940 - 1960 NZ housing solution (limited record available) Building permit record

1960 - 1990 NZ housing solution (limited record available) Building permit record

1991 - 2005 Movement away from traditional methods (records are affected by private certifier records, implementation of first Building Act

2005 – now Present stock under the current Building Act



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