Your Council

Building Consent - Guidelines

If you’re planning any construction, demolition or alteration work, you probably need to obtain a building consent before the work begins. Some work may also require resource and earthworks consents, and vehicle access approval.

A building consent verifies that the work proposed complies with the building code.

Work cannot start until you have a building consent and all other necessary authorisations (such as resource consents, earthworks bylaw consents).
You need to allow at least four weeks to obtain a building consent when planning your project.

Once a consent has been issued, work must begin within 12 months and adhere to approved building plans. Inspections are required throughout the construction process in order to secure the final Code Compliance Certificate.
You should plan to complete your project within two years.

When you need Building Consent

The following are examples of work requiring a building consent:

  • all building work including new buildings, additions, alterations, accessory buildings (sheds), and re-piling
  • plumbing and drainage
  • heating (solid fuel fireplaces), ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • site-works for a building
  • retaining walls with any portion higher than 1.5m, or retaining walls with a surcharge such as a building or driveway near the top
  • fences higher than 2.5m and any swimming pool fence.
  • swimming pools and large tanks
  • decks with any part more than 1.5m above ground level

Schedule 1 of the Building Act lists work that does not need a building consent.


Work on new or existing kerb crossings and driveways.  You will need to provide a range of information including gradients, crossfalls, widths and surfacing. 

If you are constructing a vehicle crossing (driveway) or amending an existing one to access the legal road from your building/house site, you will need a permit from the Access and Transport team. This is a separate process and not part of your building consent.
More information and the application form is available on our Access and Transport Vehicle Crossings page.


A building consent is required for the installation of any solid fuel fireplace whether it’s new or a replacement, in-built or free-standing unit.

From 1 September 2005, woodburners are also required to comply with new Resource Management regulations for properties less than 2 hectares. The new standards control discharge to the air and internal efficiency.

It is unlikely that second-hand woodburners will meet these new standards.

Smoke Alarms

Recent changes to the New Zealand Building Code require smoke alarms in all new residential homes or homes undergoing any alterations. Smoke alarms need to be in the escape route on all levels of the building and in – or within 3m of – all sleeping rooms. They need to have a test and hush facility.


If your are altering the ground level or moving earth, you may need a resource consent for earthworks.  Earthworks are not covered by your building consent.

To learn more about the Resource Consents process, go here

Water Management

Council requires all new homes to install a greywater system and/or a rainwater storage tank.  Rainwater would be used for toilet flushing and outdoor water uses while greywater from the washing machine and bathroom would be used for outdoor irrigation.

Council developed the Rainwater and Greywater Guidelines to help residents, building industry and real estate industry understand the rainwater and greywater requirements when building (or selling) a new compliant home.

To access the document, go here

Tank options:

Council has developed performance standards for two acceptable water management solutions:

  1. 10,000 litre tank connected to toilet and outdoors
    Suitable for properties with plants suited to Kāpiti conditions and want water to wash the house and car.
  2. 4000 litre rain tank and greywater diversion
    A greywater system provides a constant supply of water for outdoor irrigation - Council only permit's systems that allow outdoor irrigation.

How to Apply

There are three options available for lodging an application for building consent:

  • By appointment. This is a 30-minute appointment to discuss your application with a processing officer. Phone (04) 296 4700 for an appointment.
  • By post. This must include a deposit cheque - phone (04) 296 4700 for a fee estimate.
  • Online. To lodge a building consent application online: Apply now