The Christchurch City Council is responsible for processing building consent applications within Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. Obtaining the approvals to undertake building work can be complex, however, we are here to help you through the process.

We recommend that you engage an experienced professional (e.g. an architect or draughtsperson) to help with design work, drawings, specifications and documentation before applying for a building consent.

Work with your agent (e.g. an architect or designer) to come up with a concept design first. Unless you are confident that all matters have been considered, we recommend you do not proceed to final drawings early in your project until you have considered:

  • Requesting a pre-application meeting. This will identify if there are issues that need to be considered before your application is submitted.
  • Obtaining a project information memorandum (PIM). A PIM will identify any special features of the site and regulatory requirements such as resource consent. Even though getting a PIM is not mandatory, requesting one could save you time and money as you progress your design.
  • Have you thought about our free Eco-design advice service? Eco Design Advisors provide free, independent, expert advice on new home design and renovation. Advice is available for homeowners, home designers, builders and industry professionals.

Your application will go through a technical acceptance check to assess if the relevant information has been provided.

A decision will be made whether to accept or not accept your application for processing. We will advise you in writing of the decision and include an invoice.

The application is assessed to determine if the proposed building work will meet the requirements of building code.

When your application is received and is accepted, the statutory time frame (or statutory clock), of 20 working days for processing begins. We make a decision on your building consent within 20 working days.

This timeframe is reduced to 10 working days if the building that you are proposing has a MultiProof approval(external link).

Request for further information

During the processing of your application, the statutory clock stops if we have to send you a request for information (RFI). Please respond quickly with all the information requested.

Once all the information is provided the statutory clock will be started again and processing of the application will resume.

Please refer to our avoiding requests for information page for tips that may allow your application to be processed more quickly

We process your application to become satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code(external link) would be met if the building work was properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications.

  • Your application may be circulated to other parties within the Council for processing, which may include planning, engineering, building, water, drainage and others.
  • We are required to advise Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga if your application affects an area that is on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.
  • For some kinds of applications for building consent, the Council is required to send the application to Fire and Emergency New Zealand(external link) for their advice.

Once we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the plans and specifications in the application demonstrate compliance with the building code, we will grant the building consent

Your building consent is granted pending payment of all fees due by you. You will be notified at the granting of the building consent of any fees that are outstanding.

  • When all fees are paid, your building consent will be issued.
  • Once your building consent is issued, make sure you read all documentation carefully.
  • Once the building consent is issued the building work may begin, but in some circumstances resource consent approvalIn these circumstances, a certificate attached to your building consent (section 37 of the Building Act) will restrict the starting of building work until a resource consent is obtained.

Your building consent documents consist of:

  • The building consent form (Form 5). The building consent will also list any Building Act conditions. It will always list the condition under section 90 regarding inspections. If applicable, it may also list conditions under:
    • section 67 regarding waivers and modifications of the building code.
    • section 73 regarding conditions for granting a building consent under section 72 for building work on land subject to natural hazards.
    • section 77 for conditions imposed under section 75 for construction of building on 2 or more allotments.
    • section 113 for buildings with specified intended lives.
  • The building consent may also state if a compliance schedule is required as a result of the building work with a list of the specified systems and their performance standards that will need to be covered by the compliance schedule.
  • Building consent construction documentation and advice notes.
  • Estimate of construction inspections. These are the inspections that are intended to be carried out by the Council. There may also be some inspections being carried out by your engineer. The details of these inspections will be noted on the above building consent construction documentation and advice notes document.
  • Project information memorandum (PIM) if you requested one, or one was previously issued for the project.
  • Development contribution notice (Form 3) if there are development contributions that are required to be paid before the code compliance certificate is issued (commonly referred to as a section 36 certificate).
  • Certificate attached to PIM (Form 4) if a resource consent is required and there are restrictions on carrying out the building work (commonly referred to as a section 37 certificate).
  • Stamped and approved copy of the plans and specifications that you have submitted. This may be split into plans, specifications, and supporting documents.

Building consents are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. 

Building work must have commenced within the 12 months or the building consent will automatically lapse unless an extension of time to start work has been requested.

If the building consent has lapsed you will need to apply for a new building consent if you want to proceed with the building work.

  • Under sections 90 and 222 of the Building Act 2004, agents authorised by the Council (acting as a building consent authority) are entitled, at all times during normal working hours or while building work is being done, to inspect:
    • land on which building work is being or is proposed to be carried out; and
    • building work that has been or is being carried out on or off that building site; and
    • any building.
  • A number of Council inspections are to be carried out during the project. Remember to book inspections – phone (03) 941 8222 – as you complete stages of the project.
  • Sometimes it is necessary for specialists to do inspections in addition to those carried out by the Council. If it there has been an agreement for third party construction monitoring (e.g. by your engineer), these inspections will be listed in the building consent construction documentation and advice notes provided to you.
  • If you are a commercial building owner where the public is to be admitted, and you want to start using premises before a code compliance certificate is issued, you must apply for a certificate for public use. This certificate enables members of the public to use the premises until a code compliance certificate is issued.
  • Certificates for public use can be used only where a building consent has been granted for the building work, but a code compliance certificate has not been issued yet.
  • Once your complete application has been received, the statutory timeframe or statutory clock of 20 working days for processing begins. The statutory clock may be stopped if a request for further information (RFI) is made. The statutory clock does not restart until all of the information requested in an RFI has been received. We make a decision on your certificate for public use within 20 working days whether to issue or refuse your certificate for public use.
  • Anyone who owns, occupies, or controls premises intended for public use may apply for a certificate for public use.

  • As soon as practicable following completion of the building work, you must apply to the Council for a code compliance certificate using the prescribed form.
  • Once your complete application has been received, the statutory timeframe, or statutory clock of 20 working days for processing begins. The statutory clock may be stopped if a request for information (RFI) is made. The statutory clock does not restart until all of the information requested in an RFI has been received. We make a decision on your code compliance certificate within 20 working days whether to issue or refuse your code compliance certificate.
  • A code compliance certificate is issued by the Council at the completion of building work, once it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building work complies with the building consent.
  • It can take up to 20 working days to process your code compliance certificate application.
  • If an application for code compliance certificate has not been made within two years of the date that the building consent was granted, or any further period agreed between the owner and the Council, the Council must make a decision whether to issue the code compliance certificate.
  • If Council refuses to issue a code compliance certificate, you may apply again once any identified non-compliances have been remedied.

If you have any queries, concerns or complaints about Building Consent Authority's building control functions, please refer to the Building Consent Authority's customer complaints policy

Further guidance on resolving problems can also be found at  www.building.govt.nz(external link).

For matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work, the Building Act has provision to obtain a determination by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Further guidance about determinations can be found at www.building.govt.nz(external link).