Our pre-application advice services offer the opportunity for you to discuss your proposed project with Council staff before applying for a building consent or resource consent.

Our expert technical advice services are available at the early stages of your building project prior to applying for consent, as long as you have conceptual plans for review. These services allow you to discuss any identified compliance issues which will help you in the preparation of a comprehensive consent application and minimise our consent officer’s requests for information (RFIs), ultimately avoiding processing delays.

You may need to apply for one or several approvals from the Council for your proposal to go ahead. A building consent is a formal approval under Building Act 2004 and the building code. This is separate from resource consent, which is formal approval under the Resource Management Act 1991 which is required when a proposed building or activity does not comply with all the relevant rules in the Christchurch District Plan.

There are other approvals required when building new assets like water or transport infrastructure that you might need to be aware of very early on, especially in relation to land subject to natural hazards.

The purpose of a pre-application discussion is to identify and discuss potential issues prior to lodging your building consent or resource consent application. Discussions with us can be especially helpful before or at the design stage. Depending on the type of project, we recommend engaging a planning consultant, surveyor or building professional before requesting pre-application advice. This can narrow down the areas for discussion and help focus on the key issues.

All advice is confidential and will not be disclosed to other parties.

We also offer a partnership approvals service to help you navigate approvals required for development projects across the Council. For more information, email us at partnershipapprovals@ccc.govt.nz.

Planning pre-application advice

Our planning pre-application service is available for the following project types:

  • Greenfield subdivisions.
  • Subdivision within Banks Peninsula overlay areas, e.g. Landscape, Rural Amenity.
  • Central City large-scale commercial and mixed-use developments.
  • Large infrastructure projects.
  • Multi-unit residential developments of 7 or more units, including social housing projects.
  • Building within the High Flood Hazard Management Area.
  • Building within Character Areas.
  • Works involving heritage items and settings.
  • Lyttelton and Akaroa commercial developments where Design Controls apply.
  • Waterway setback breaches.
  • Out-of-zone activities, such as non-residential in a residential zone, and non-rural in a rural zone.

Relevant matters for discussion can include:

  • Initial concepts.
  • District Plan provisions and RMA processes.
  • Information requirements for applying.
  • Specialist technical and servicing issues.

We’re happy to discuss either initial concepts or more detailed proposals, noting that the extent to which your project plans are advanced will influence the level of advice provided. If you are going to request pre-app we recommend you engage a planning consultant to help identify or narrow down the key issues for discussion.

Please note that pre-application advice does not pre-empt the outcome of the resource consent process. Once an application has been lodged, a more detailed assessment will be needed.

Advice can be provided via an online meeting, in-person meeting, or an email response to specific questions. In some cases, a phone discussion may be all that’s needed. The format will depend on the proposal and the advice requested. We’ll contact you to discuss this once we’ve received your request.

Please follow these steps to request pre-application planning advice:

  1. Fill in the P-006 Pre-application planning advice request form [PDF, 339 KB], including:
    • Details of issues to be discussed, e.g. traffic, urban design, servicing.
    • Whether you prefer email advice, an online meeting or an in-person meeting.
    • Any professional advisors (e.g. planning consultant, traffic engineer) you’ll be bringing to the meeting.
    • Documents, e.g. concept or detailed plans.
  2. Email the form and supporting information to CCCResourceconsentapplications@ccc.govt.nz
  3. We’ll contact you within 2 to 3 working days to discuss the format for the advice and arrange a suitable time if a meeting is needed.
  4. For online meetings, we will send you a web link to Microsoft Teams (which can be used even if you don’t have Teams yourself).

If you need planning information or advice about a different type of project, we recommend you contact an independent planning consultant(external link) instead. You can also:

Building consent pre-application advice and guidance

The approval process for a building consent establishes that your proposed building work complies with the Building Act 2004 and the building code. Our pre-application expert technical advice services allow you to discuss any identifiable compliance issue you may have in relation to Building Code within the Building Act before you lodge an application.

Note that the building consent information you need may already be on our website.

We recommend you first and always request a Project Information Memorandum (PIM) that will summarise the property information known to us that is relevant to your project (including building regulations and other compliance matters of interest). 

When you wish to make a series of applications for building consent for stages of the proposed building work to a building, there is a requirement that the proposed staging is approved by Council before an application for the first stage is lodged. This will ensure better quality applications that will allow more efficient processing of these applications.

We aim to send you a response within 5 to 8 working days from receipt of your application.

Apply for building advice or guidance services

Partnership approvals

The partnership approvals service provides case management support to a wide range of projects across Christchurch.

Our team helps property owners, their specialists and contractors with all aspects of consenting and compliance from initial concept until a building is occupied. 

Find out more about Partnership Approvals services.

Eco-design advice

A free two-hour consultation is available to learn how to make your building or renovation more eco-friendly.

We can arrange an advisor to provide advice or visit your home, site or office.

Find out more about Eco design advice.

Pre-application advice services fees and charges

The cost of pre-application advice differs depending on the complexity of your project and charge out rate of the officers attending.

Time is charged for preparation prior to the meeting, administration costs and any further research or advice (if applicable).

Refer to the Building and Resource Consent fee schedules for staff charge-out rates.

Charges incurred by the Council in relation to pre-application advice are payable whether the project proceeds or not.

We will invoice the pre-application advice services charges to you at the same time as the advice notes. Any advice provided post meeting will be invoiced separately.

The applicant shall be liable for all costs and incidental expenses incurred by the Council in the recovery of outstanding accounts.