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.
There are a number of ways you can support your consent application. One way is to include a producer statement, which is a professional opinion based on sound judgement that accompanies a design. Note that this is not a product warranty or guarantee of compliance.
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.
- A Beginner's Guide to Resource and Building Consent Process - Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website
- Guide to Obtaining a Building Consent on the Kāpiti Coast (Form 558)[PDF 485 KB]
- Building Consents - Natural Hazard Guidance Information (Form 570)[PDF 300 KB]
- MBIE – Guide to applying for a building consent
- MBIE – Ensuring new buildings can withstand liquefaction effect – changes to foundation design.
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 building work that does not require 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 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.
Woodburners are required to comply with Resource Management regulations for properties less than 2 hectares (since 1 September 2005). These standards control discharge to the air and internal efficiency.
It's unlikely secondhand woodburners will meet these standards.
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 you are altering the ground level or moving earth, you may need a resource consent for earthworks. Earthworks are not covered by your building consent.
Learn more about the process at Resource consents.
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 Code of Practice Guidelines[PDF 2.29 MB] to help residents, building industry and real estate industry understand the rainwater and greywater requirements when building (or selling) a new compliant home.
Council has developed performance standards for two acceptable water management solutions:
- 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.
- 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.
We also offer a water retrofit service for homes built before 2008, to make installing an on-site non-potable supply more affordable.
Tiny homes have become increasingly popular as a housing option. The rules around them can be complex though, so we recommend you read the high-level information provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on their Tiny houses – guidance information and resources page. We also recommend you get in touch with us to talk about what you're thinking, as there may be site-specific issues for your project.
BuiltReady is a voluntary certification scheme for offsite manufacturers, supporting innovative and efficient building methods. It aims to give consumers more building choices, and reduced building and consenting times and costs.
BuiltReady is suitable for offsite manufacturers based in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas who design (where relevant), manufacture, assemble, transport, and install modular components. A modular component that has a certificate from a registered manufacturer, and is being used as outlined on the certificate, must be accepted by Building Consent Authorities (councils) as meeting the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.
Guidance on the BuiltReady scheme is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.
How to apply
You can lodge your building consent application by either:
- our online portal Simpli, which allows you to keep track of all your documentation: Apply now
- calling us to make a 30-minute in-person appointment with a processing officer to discuss your application. It's helpful if you come prepared with the relevant documentation.