We explain, before you start any building project why it’s best to check if you will need a building consent.

We are here to help make sure you meet any legal requirements and get through the building consent process.

Why you need building consent

A building consent establishes that your planned building work meets the Building Act 2004 and the Building code. The Building Act regulates building work, establishment of a licensing regime for building practitioners and setting of performance standards for buildings. This ensures that:

  • People who use buildings can do so safely and without endangering their health;
  • Buildings have attributes that contribute appropriately to the health, physical independence, and well-being of the people who use them;
  • People who use a building can escape from a building if it is on fire; and
  • Buildings are designed, constructed and able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development.

The Building Act 2004 is administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Building Performance Group.

The building code sets national, mandatory standards for building work. All building work in New Zealand must comply with the building code. The code specifies how a building and its components must perform.

Please note: It's an offence to build without a consent if one is needed. It could result in fines and possibly the removal of the building work. It may also make it difficult for you to sell the building or get insurance.

Working through the building consent process provides building owners with documented assurance that they have taken all the right steps.


What requires a building consent?

In general, you must have a building consent before you start any building work, including:

See Building projects for information on consent requirements for specific types of building projects.


Exemptions

While most building work will need building consent, you can do some building work without a building consent. You do not need building consent to carry out work that is:

  • Listed in Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 by MBIE. This list covers a range of works, mostly repairs and replacements that do not affect safety or structural integrity.
  • Exempted on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Christchurch City Council.

How and where to apply for a building consent

See Applying for a building consent for specific requirements, application forms and helpful checklists for getting your building project consented.

To reduce processing time, scanning fees and to track your consent application we recommend you apply for building consents online


Other requirements

All building and land use projects must comply with the rules of the District Plan. If your project does not comply, you will need a resource consent.

All building work must be done in accordance with the building code and any other relevant legislation. Some work may only be carried out by a licensed building practitioner (LBP) or qualified tradespeople. Visit the Restricted building work page for information about the building work that has to be carried out by LBP or qualified tradespeople.