Apply for a Building Consent exemption

There are two types of exemptions:

  1. those listed in Schedule 1
  2. those that may be granted by the Council.

It is the responsibility of the building owner to:

  • determine whether intended building work is exempt from requiring a building consent, or not
  • to make sure that exempt building work undertaken complies with the New Zealand Building Code.

For these reasons we suggest that you seek either professional or council advice on your building work before proceeding.

If building work is commenced and a building consent is required but not obtained, you can be fined under the Building Act 2004.

Check if you need consents (building.govt.nz)

If your work is listed in Schedule 1 then you do not need to apply for an exemption.

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

Online

Step 1.Register / Login to AlphaOne

Register - AlphaOne Building Consents

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

Log into AlphaOne

Step 2.Complete the application form

Complete the application in AlphaOne and upload required documents.

Two copies of the site plan and construction drawings must accompany this application. 

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

Step 3.Pay application fee

Council will check your application.  If it’s accepted, fees will be calculated, an invoice raised and sent to you.

You can pay the invoice either 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

Step 4.Processing the application

Once we have a complete application, we will process your application as soon as we can. Work cannot start until approval has been granted.

Step 5.Receive notification

If you receive approval the building work may start.

If an exemption is not granted, then you will need a building consent before any work can start. This will require a new application, and may be, more information along with the requisite fees.

In-person

Step 1.Gather supporting documents

Two copies of the site plan and construction drawings must accompany this application. 

Exemption from building consent application(PDF, 600KB)

Step 2.Bring into us

Bring in the documents to one of our service centres.  We will check that the information is sufficient for the application and, if not, will advise what is missing. 

We will complete the online application form with you and upload the supporting documents.  

Forum North customer service centre
7 Rust Avenue, Whangārei
Monday to Friday - 8:00am to 4:30pm
Closed public holidays

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

Step 3.Pay application fee

If the application is accepted, fees will be calculated which can be paid at our service centre.

Step 4.Processing the application

Once we have a complete application, we will process your application as soon as we can. Work cannot start until approval has been granted.

Step 5.Receive notification

If you receive approval the building work may start.

If an exemption is not granted, then you will need a building consent before any work can start. This will require a new application, and may be, more information along with the requisite fees.

The Building Amendment Act 2013 introduced several changes, including a revised Schedule 1, which details building work that does not require building consent. 

If your proposed building work is not covered by Schedule 1 then a Building Consent will be required, however, there is also provision for Council to exempt building work not listed in Schedule 1.

Building consent exemptions for low-risk Work and Schedule 1  (building.govt.nz)

Building owners are responsible for:

  • determining whether proposed building work is exempt from requiring a building consent
  • ensuring exempt building work complies with the Building Code
  • ensuring the work does not breach any other Act.

Although work may be exempt, section 17 of the Building Act 2004 states that, all building work must comply with the Building Code whether or not a building consent is required.

To ensure that building work complies with the Building Code owners should seek professional advice from a suitably qualified person (i.e. builder or architect).

Section 42A(2)(c)of the Act also requires that the building work does not breach any other legislation.

If building work breaches any other legislation, then the work cannot be considered as exempt from obtaining a building consent. However, if approval under the other legislation is obtained, the work reverts to being exempt.

Example: Schedule 1 Building work breaches the District Plan so resource consent is required; applicant obtains resource consent, work is now exempt under Schedule 1 and can proceed.

Council strongly recommends that all building owners check with a Planning Officer before undertaking any building work to ensure that resource consent is not required particularly if the work proposed is under Schedule 1 of the Building Act.

Resource consents maybe necessary for a number of different reasons including but not limited to:

  • zoning
  • site coverage
  • height in relation to boundary.

Building Act 2004 (legislation.govt.nz)

What if I build something or conduct work that is within the scope of Schedule 1?

This work is exempt from the requirement of Building Consent. You do not have to obtain a building consent for this work.

You may wish to keep the details of the construction for future sales information to satisfy any questions purchasers may have.

What if I am not sure if the building work is exempt?

Check with a building professional or Council and seek advice.

The Building Act 2004 is clear that it is the owner's responsibility to ensure that they obtain building consent when one is required.

Conducting building work without consent when one is required is an offence under the Building Act 2004 and can lead to prosecution.

What if I want to build something that is outside the scope of Schedule 1 but I consider this to be of low risk and believe that an exemption could be applied?

Firstly - seek some professional advice from a designer or architect or similar. These professionals should be able to help in a couple of ways:

  • advise as to whether it would be better to seek a building consent - or other consents, and
  • assist with drawings, designs, information that will assist your application for exemption.

With this advice, you can then apply for your work to be considered for an exemption.

Apply for a Building Consent Exemption

Note:  this application will need to be applied for BEFORE any construction work is started. These applications are considered by Council on a case by case basis. These types of exemption cannot be issued retrospectively, therefore, if the structure is already built, and is outside the scope of Schedule 1, you could be applying for Certificate of Acceptance and we could start enforcement action.

Apply for a Certificate of Acceptance

What information should I supply?

Council has no specific requirements with regards to the information supplied in these cases but it must be legible and suitable for scanning - i.e. A3 or less in size and accurately portray the work/structures. You should treat the information required as being similar to a Building Consent.

Site plans showing locations of other buildings, distances to boundaries, dimensions of the structure, construction plans of the building structure and specifications will all assist in our checking routines and be helpful information for future viewers.

Please do not use previously stamped plans, as the submitted plans need to depict the work which is subject to the application. With regards to the information, treat the application like an application for building consent, as the more detail, the easier and speedier we can make a decision.

Can I apply for building consent – even if the work is exempt?

Yes. 

You can simply apply for a Building Consent and inspections will also be applied. On successful completion of the project you will also have a Code Compliance Certificate.

Code Compliance Certificate

Does exempt building work have to be undertaken by a licensed building practitioner?

In some cases, yes. Check the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website for specifics.

The building work must be carried out in accordance with the Building Code. It must also must comply with all other relevant legislation, including the:

  • Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drain layers Act 2006
  • Electricity Act 1992
  • Resource Management Act 1991; and
  • Fire Service Act 1975
  • District Plan

If you wish to make a complaint, please follow the link below. 

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