Apply for a Certificate of Acceptance

If building work has been carried out since 1 July 1992 without a building consent, you may be able to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance (COA).

You will need to supply plans, specifications, photographs and pay a fee.

A Certificate of Acceptance provides a limited assurance for a current or future building owner that part or all of specified building work complies with the building code. 

The assurance is limited by what we can inspect of the building work and the evidence provided.

If you do not have a device for making an online application, please view the “In person” option. 

Online

Step 1.Review the guidance document

Certificate of Acceptance Guidance document(PDF, 156KB)  

About a Certificate of Acceptance  (building.govt.nz)

Step 2.Engage a building professional

To speed things up, 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
  • engineer
  • designer or architect
  • registered electrician
  • certified plumber
  • drain layer
  • gas fitter
  • Independent Qualified Person (IQP) for specified safety systems.

They will advise what records are required to assist Council with processing.

Step 3.Register or login to our online building portal

Register - AlphaOne building consents portal

Once you have registered, you can apply for a building consent, upload additional documents or track the status of your application.

Log into AlphaOne

Step 4.Complete the application form

Complete the application in AlphaOne and upload supporting evidence.

Required supporting evidence

If you are not ready to submit, you can save your application and complete at a later stage.

Step 5.Pay application fees

Fees are calculated using one of the two methods:

  1. 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.
  2. If work was undertaken for other reasons, then the fees and charges will usually include charges for checking breaches of planning rules and assessment of compliance to the building code, including inspections required.

An invoice will be emailed to you.  You can either pay online, in person or call us with your details.  We accept Visa and Mastercard payments via our Contact Centre.

Online: Pay an application fee or invoice

Phone: 09 430 4200

Deposit fees are applicable in these situations so please check our Fees and Charges for more details.

Building control fees and charges

In both cases, if the estimated value of the work, as defined in section 7 Building Act 2004 is $20,000 plus GST.  BRANZ and MBIE levies will also be required.

Building Act 2004 (legislation.govt.nz)

Step 6.Processing your Certificate of Acceptance

Once we have a complete application, it will be given a unique number and the “clock” starts. We have 20 days to process your application.

All applications will undergo at least three stages of review.

Stages of review for applications

In-person

Step 2.Engage a building professional

To speed things up, 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
  • engineer
  • designer or architect
  • registered electrician
  • certified plumber
  • drain layer
  • gas fitter
  • Independent Qualified Person (IQP) for specified safety systems.

They will advise what records are required to assist Council with processing.

Step 3.Bring into us

Bring in the application and supporting evidence to one of our service centres.

Application for Certificate of Acceptance(PDF, 873KB)

Required supporting evidence

We will check that the information is sufficient for the application, and, if not, will advise what is missing.

Te Iwitahi
9 Rust Avenue, Whangārei
Hours:  Monday to Friday - 8:00am to 4:30pm
Closed public holidays

Ruakākā service centre 
9 Takutai Place, Ruakākā
Hours:  Monday to Friday - 8:30am to 4:00pm
Closed public holidays

Service centre at isite
92 Otaika Road, Raumanga
Hours: Monday to Friday - 9:00am to 12:00pm and 12:30pm to 4:30pm
Closed public holidays

Step 4.Complete application form

We will complete the online application form together and upload the supporting evidence.  

Step 5.Pay application fees

Fees are calculated using one of the two methods:

  1. 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.
  2. If work was undertaken for other reasons, then the fees and charges will usually include charges for checking breaches of planning rules and assessment of compliance to the building code, including inspections required.

An invoice will be emailed to you.  You can either pay online, in person or call us with your details.  We accept Visa and Mastercard payments via our Contact Centre.

Online: Pay an application fee or invoice

Phone: 09 430 4200

Deposit fees are applicable in these situations so please check our Fees and Charges for more details.

Building control fees and charges

In both cases, if the estimated value of the work, as defined in section 7 Building Act 2004 is $20,000 plus GST.  BRANZ and MBIE levies will also be required.

Building Act 2004 (legislation.govt.nz)

Step 6.Processing your Certificate of Acceptance

Once we have a complete application, it will be given a unique number and the “clock” starts. We have 20 days to process your application.

All applications will undergo at least three stages of review.

Stages of review for applications

You will need to supply:

  • plans
  • statements
  • specifications
  • drawings
  • photographs from the people who did the work, such as builders, installers and engineers.

If the building is a commercial or public building, you must include a list of all the building’s specified systems. You must also include 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 your owner obligations under the Building Act 2004, Building Warrant of Fitness.

The information provided in your application will form the basis of the building’s Compliance Schedule and your application will need to demonstrate how building code compliance provisions have been satisfied (including those parts that have been enclosed and cannot be inspected).

All applications will undergo at least three stages of review:

Stage 1 – Initial review 

Activities include:

  • detailed review of the submitted documents and the relevant council property file
  • check for related or other works that may be connected with the site
  • request or seek further information or clarification of information submitted, if required.

Stage 2 – Inspection

Activities include: 

  • arranging a date for an inspection of the structure/building
  • inspecting the general site for natural hazards, proximity of boundaries and the condition of the stated building work

It is helpful if you or a representative can be present at the inspection to clarify details with the officer.

Stage 3 – Final review

At this stage: 

  • All information is considered and decisions made about what we 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.
  • The application will be checked for other requirements like the need for resource consent, development contributions, etc. You will be informed if these apply.

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 1 July 1992, and if:

  • the work was urgent, necessary to protect lives or property and there was no time to get a building consent (see Section 42 of the Building Act 2004)
  • 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, the owner must apply for the Certificate of Acceptance as soon as is practicable. 

The Building Act 2004 also describes the use and requirements of a Certificate of Acceptance (in Sections 96 to 99A). 

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 the offence continues.

Building Act 2004

We can either issue or refuse to issue a Certificate of Acceptance.

When issuing a Certificate of Acceptance, we 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 we 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 us in this respect, you can apply for a determination from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment on the decision. They will consider the case and issue their decision - which is binding on all parties. Further information can be found on their website.

Determinations (building.govt.nz)

If building work was done before 1 July 1992 (i.e. buildings were 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)
  • any requirements for further building work and whether this requires building consent.

Such a report records the views of the report writer only. We do not require this report nor will add this to the property record held by us.

For further advice please refer to the Ministry’s advice page on Certificate of Acceptance.

Certificates of Acceptance (building.govt.nz)