Guidance on applying for building consent with us, and how to change or withdraw your building consent application after you've submitted it.

Apply for your Building Consent online

You can download and complete an application for a building consent (Form B-002) [PDF, 257 KB], also available in Word [DOCX, 425 KB], and provide information that is relevant to your building project. We provide downloadable checksheets which will help you complete the application form.

Alternatively you can also pick up an application form from any Council service centre(external link), or we can post one to you if you call us on (03) 941 8999.

If you are not familiar with building plans and compliance with the building code, we recommend you engage an experienced professional to supply the required drawings and information, and to apply for a building consent on your behalf.

Online: applying online will save you the cost of scanning fees, allow you to track your building consent application and will reduce application processing time. Visit Online Services for further information.

Post: post your application to us at Consenting & Compliance Group, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154. 

Drop off: deliver your application to the Council office at 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch.

Include the following information:

Alterations to an existing building

If your application is for an alteration to an existing building, you need to consider section 112 of the Building Act 2004 and provide analysis of:

  • How the building provides for means of escape from fire
  • How the building provides access and facilities for persons with disabilities (where this is a requirement)
  • How the building will comply with other provisions of the building code at least as much as it did before the building work began
  • Proposal for upgrade of the building for the above matters (unless it already fully complies) including a list of benefits and sacrifices (e.g. pros and cons) involved in the proposals.
  • Further guidance is available on MBIE's website(external link)

Buildings with specified intended lives

The definition of a building in the Building Act includes 'any temporary or permanent movable or immovable structure'. If you want your building to have a specified intended life of less than 50 years, you must state its specified intended life on your application form.

Application for a building consent Form B-002 [PDF, 257 KB] also available in Word [DOCX, 425 KB].

The specified intended life applies to a whole building, not a building element (such as a solid fuel burner) or a building system (such as a cladding system). We will then assess your application and if applicable grant the building consent with a specified intended life subject to the conditions in section 113, Building Act 2004(external link).

The standard condition will state that the building must be altered, removed or demolished on or before the end of its specified intended life. Council will also add to the condition that, should an application to alter the building to extend its life be made under section 116, the durability of the building must be shown to be of a standard appropriate to the extension of life requested.

If you want to extend the life of your building that has a specified intended life, section 114(external link) requires that you must give written notice to Council. For Council to be able to give written consent it will require a building consent application to assess the building has been altered as per section 116(external link).

Subdivision of an existing building

The Council cannot issue a subdivision affecting a building or part of a building unless it has considered section 116A of the Building Act 2004. This will be assessed with your application for unit title subdivision.

Commercial applications with specified systems

If your application is for a commercial project, you need to include a list of any and all specified systems in the building and provide their inspection, maintenance and reporting requirements. More information can be found on the Compliance Schedule page.

Providing a high standard of documentation is the best way to get approval for your consent. All applications will be checked for completeness prior to acceptance. Make sure that you have compiled your documents carefully to avoid delays in accepting your application.

Please note: if your application is incomplete it will not be accepted and the statutory processing timeframe will not start until the missing information has been provided and resubmitted.

If you are unable to provide the information for a complete application we will send a non-acceptance letter to you. This will include details of the information required to submit a complete application. You can resubmit a complete application any time. 

All applications will include a fee for the time spent assessing the application regardless of an accept or not accept decision.

Fees vary for building consent applications depending on the type of project. Refer to the Building Consents Fee Schedule

Statutory clock

Once your application is accepted the statutory timeframe, or clock of 20 working days for processing your application begins. We make a decision on your building consent within 20 working days.

The clock is reduced to 10 working days if the building that you are proposing has a MultiProof approval. See the MBIE website for information on the MultiProof service(external link) that is available to builders proposing standardised building designs.

Request for further information and the statutory clock

During processing of your application, the clock stops if we have to ask you for further information. Please respond quickly with accurate information. Once the full information is provided the clock will be started again.

Verifying your application against compliance with the building code

We process your application to verify that if your project is constructed in accordance with your building consent application, it will be considered compliant with the Building code(external link).


The date your building consent is granted is the date your building consent was approved pending payment of all fees due by you before it can be issued. Your building consent is not released until all outstanding fees have been paid.


The date your building consent is issued is the date your building consent was approved and all outstanding fees due by you have been fully paid.

  • You can choose to receive the building consent (Form 5) electronically.
  • You can pick up a CD or we can post a CD to you.
  • You can obtain a paper copy of your building consent from the Civic Offices, 53 Hereford St, Christchurch or a Council service centre(external link) (for an additional fee).