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Building Consents

Image for the Building Consents page.
This page contains general information about building consents along with advice about whether a consent is needed or not.
Updated: 30/10/2018 10:43 a.m.

The above video explains what a Building Consent is, when you need one and how to get one.


Building consents are issued under the Building Act 2004 and confirm that plans and specifications for proposed building work meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.

A building consent ensures that any building work is safe, durable and does not endanger health of property owners and neighbouring property.

A building consent can only be issued in advance of any work taking place. 

You may also need a resource consent if your project has an impact on the environment. For more information, follow the link below.

Restricted building work

Restricted building work is work which is critical to the integrity of a building by ensuring that it is structurally sound and weathertight.

Select from the links below for further information.

Restricted Building Work (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website)

Restricted building work - what you need to know [113kb]

When a building consent is needed

Most building projects require a building consent before any work is started. The consent includes not only the building work but also any work related to site preparation, plumbing or drainage.

If you do not obtain a building consent before starting work, it will cause problems later in the project and could lead to anybody involved as property owners or tradespersons facing prosecution. 


Not all building work requires a building consent. Some low-risk works are able to be carried out without a building consent under Schedule 1 of the Building Act. 

There are two types of exemptions: 

  • work specifically contained in Schedule 1 of the Building Act
  • works that would normally require a building consent but after considering an exemption application, we have agreed to exempt the work.

Schedule 1 of the Building Act

The following are examples of exempt building works:

  • decks less than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • a garden shed less than 10sq metres, at least its height from the boundary and other buildings.
  • fencing less than 2.5 metres high
  • tents/marquees less than 100sq metres and not remaining on the site for longer than a one month period
  • car ports not exceeding 20sq metres
  • playground equipment used by a single household less than 3 metres above the ground.

All building work, whether or not a building consent is required, must comply with the building code.

Full details are contained in the Schedule 1 guidance document, follow the link below.

Building Act 2004 Schedule 1 (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment  website)

Although a building consent is not needed for exempt building works, your project will still need to meet the requirements of any other regulations such as the District Plan. 

You must obtain any required permissions or consents before work starts on your project.

To find out about our District Plan, follow the link below.  

Application for exemptions

Complete the application form and submit it to us. Work may not start until approval has been granted. If approval is not granted then you will need a building consent before any work can start.

Applications are assessed individually and we suggest you contact us for advice before submitting your application.

To download the application form, follow the link below.

Building Consent Exemption Application [70kb]

Alterations to existing buildings

Section 112 of the Building Act 2004 requires when a building consent application is for an alteration to an existing building, the owner must provide in the application:

  • An analysis of the current degree of compliance with the provisions of the building code that relate to means of escape and access and facilities for people with disabilities (by a competent person)
  • Analysis of work required to achieve full compliance with the building code in these areas
  • Proposal(s) for upgrade, including a list of the benefits and sacrifices involved in the proposal.  

In the case of a detached dwelling or an outbuilding this is generally straightforward. Should it be a building open to the public either for free or by way of a charge, it can be much more complex and seeking professional advice in the planning stages of the project is recommended.

Compliance schedules

A compliance schedule is an inventory of a building's specified systems and is generally related to commercial properties. It includes the location of systems within the building and inspection, testing and maintenance procedures for those systems.

Once the systems have been confirmed, a draft Compliance Schedule is issued with the building consent and the final Compliance Schedule is issued with the Code Compliance Certificate at the end of the project. 

The Compliance Schedule can be amended at any time by the building owner or Council but usually the amendment is related to an application for a building consent.

To download the relevant application form, select from the links below.

Building Compliance Schedule Application [595kb]

Building Compliance Schedule Amendment Application [322kb]

If your building contains specified systems you will be required to issue an annual Building Warrant of Fitness.

For further information about Building Warrant of Fitness, follow the link below.

Our role as a Building Consent Authority

Council is registered as a Building Consent Authority under the Building Act 2004 and we have responsibility for ensuring that the Building Act and any other associated regulations are implemented and followed in the Whangarei district.

We are also involved in a range of other activities that are building related, for example Building Warrants of Fitness, fencing of swimming pools, dangerous and insanitary buildings, earthquake prone buildings and undertaking enforcement action in connection with illegal building works.

We aim to work with our customers and are willing to offer help and advice so please feel free to contact us if you have any building related queries.

Contact us

For any technical enquiries please contact either the duty building officer or a building inspector on site.


Whangarei District Council owns this website and the information, images and photographs in it are subject to copyright. No portion may be copied or republished without prior permission of Whangarei District Council. We have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and reliable information. The use of any information is at the website visitor’s own risk and discretion.