Every building consent involving new structures needs the location confirmed. The scope will vary depending on the complexity of work, its location, planning rules and the methods available to confirm the location.

The requirement for a building location certificate (BLC) may not be necessary during construction providing suitable plans and the following information is provided:

  1. The site and level plan for the building consent has been clearly identified as being provided by a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor or Registered Professional Surveyor. These are to be accompanied with a clearly marked finished floor level (FFL) point together with site benchmarks in terms of stated datum.
  2. The plans have sufficient external topographical levels and FFL for each floor and a floor to roof line dimension. These would include current and proposed ground levels.
  3. The plans reference which level datum is used. For example, Lyttelton Vertical Datum 1937, Christchurch Drainage Datum, or New Zealand Vertical Datum 2016.
  4. Designs that are at least 100 mm above the minimum floor level and 200mm away from planning setbacks and recession plane lines.

Any departure from these requirements is likely to require a Building Location Certificate (B-081) [PDF, 88 KB] (also available in Word [DOCX, 643 KB]) to verify compliance with the consent. At time of application, it is important that the designer proposes alternatives with supporting reasons for why a BLC may not be required and the authority would review this.

For further information on the roles, process, and responsibilities (including some examples) for designers, surveyors, homeowners, and builders, see the sections below.


Building consents involving new structures needs to have the building location confirmed. The Designer needs to make sure that compliance with the District Plan and the Building Act has been met. The designer in consultation with the owner will provide the Building Consent Authority (BCA) with the preferred method of confirming siting levels.


The following should be taken into consideration when designing:

  • The location of the legal and notional boundaries and the boundary offset dimensions from the proposed building work. Boundary offset dimensions (each side, N/S/E/W) are to detail what each dimension relates to.
    • Example: To the foundation or to the cladding surface.
  • Presence of any reliable legal boundary pegs (if available).
  • Site datum suitably defined on the site plan.
  • Finished floor levels.
  • Site contour level points for natural ground levels (and as necessary the inclusion of contours) over the site and along boundaries (recession plane lines) to be used for recession plane compliance purposes.
  • Recession plane lines to each elevation, recording the ground level at the point taken, the dimension from the building to boundary and then from ground level to highest elevation of building (to avoid scaling from drawings)
  • Propose how each structures location shall be verified and what is required? (e.g. boundary setback,  finished floor levels (FFL), recession planes etc.)
  • If working within tight boundary constraints, which include the eaves on a setback to 1m to the cladding face, the eaves must terminate a minimum of 650mm inside the boundary. Any further encroachment towards the neighbouring property will require the boundary wall to be fully fire rated.


The designer plays the greatest role in providing a path to compliance with options to and on behalf of the owner. The more complex the design is, the greater the risk involved with keeping the dimensions within the District Plan and Building Act restraints.

The designer would need to propose to the Council the stages that would need verifying. This could be where there is a FFL, boundary set back and a recession plane that needs to be checked within a single build. Another scenario could be where a number of structures are proposed to be constructed at different stages. Different levels for one structure such as for Commercial buildings or complex hill sites.


Example A: A Building Location Certificate (B-081) [PDF, 88 KB]  (also available in Word [DOCX, 643 KB]). This could be provided to confirm the structures levels and boundary offset dimensions.

Example B: The builder has agreed to set out string lines from reliable legal boundary pegs to confirm the structures boundary offset dimensions to the building inspector. As the structure is not within any planning restraints, the FFL will be confirmed from the surveyor’s site datum (as detailed on the consented plan and supporting document).
It is not always possible to confirm each required element at a single inspection. For example, building location to boundaries, FFL, recession plane lines. It is here the designer would propose to council that stages would be define for each area. 

Example C: Boundary locations, FFL at pre-pour inspection. The recession plane lines at the pre-roof inspection
This would then mean that the building location certificate would be presented in two stages. Stage 1, a partial confirmation. Stage 2, Final and complete confirmation.
Another scenario could be where numerous structures are proposed to be constructed at different stages. Different levels for one structure such as for Commercial buildings or complex hill sites.


The surveyor’s primary role is to confirm the buildings location and height. If necessary they will be required to complete the Building Location Certificate (B-081) [PDF, 88 KB] (also available in Word [DOCX, 643 KB]) and clearly record the dimensions on a copy of the approved consent plan and provide it along with the building location certificate to the Council.


When a homeowner or agent asks for a building location certificate (BLC) from a surveyor, they need to review the consent advice notes for the specific stages that the Council have requested to be verified. Once they have carried out a site survey of the requested stages, a BLC needs to be filled out for each stage along with a copy of the consented plans that have the accepted consented dimensions on them. Please note, if the building consent has had any amendments or minor variations the latest copy of the approved plan is to be used. If applicable, a surveyor may be able to provide council with a Setting Out certificate (B-080) [PDF, 159 KB] (also available in Word [DOCX, 643 KB]) to verify location.

Alternatively, the inspector can use the legal boundary pegs and/or surveyors set out string lines (if agreed to during consent processing) to record boundary dimensions. If the dimensions are in accordance with approved consent plans then it is possible that a BLC will not be required.
The BLC has a section to declare any deviations from the approved consented dimensions. In this case, the surveyor needs to clearly record the consented dimensions as well as the dimensions that are not in accordance with the consent on a copy of the approved consent plan (preferably in mm).

If they are not in accordance with the consent it must be clear what actions are to be taken for various circumstances including where boundary offset dimensions are greater than those specified on the consented plan.

When surveying recession planes, please make sure the following dimensions are recorded

  • the ground level at the boundary at the point taken
  • from the boundary to the building (A)
  • the finished floor level (FFL)
  • from the FFL to the roof line (B)
  • the roof pitch or the dimension from the wall to the ridge line (C)
  • from the FFL to the ridge line (D)
Recession plane

Surveying recession plane guideline


Example A:
East dimension (-/+mm) 75mm closer to boundary. West dimension (-/+mm) 75mm further away from the boundary. Finish floor level dimension (-/+mm) Ground floor as consented however the split level living room is 100mm higher than consented

If the surveyor intends to reference a standard or instrument accuracy, then these are to be taken into account on all dimensions (error) and not used to justify a singular incorrect dimension. The dimensions recorded are to allow for this and not to be referenced as a means of compliance. The BCA no longer allows 40mm variation.

Example B:
East dimension (-/+mm) 40mm closer to boundary.

All dimensions have been recorded with allowance for instrument accuracy in accordance with the Cadastral Surveying Act 2010.

If that stage of the work is confirmed to be dimensioned as consented, then the BLC will be completed and signed for that stage. When further surveys are required, such as for recession plane lines or other areas of building work the surveyor is to record that another BLC is required and at what stage.

Example C: Stage 1 and 2 of the advice notes completed and correct, Stage 3 yet to be completed and required before final sign off of the BLC.


A surveyor may be approached at the start of a build for the boundary set out, or during a build if the BCA has identified a need to confirm location either in the consent construction documentation and advice notes or by a building inspector.

The consent construction documentation and advice notes or the inspection site notice will outline what dimensions need to be confirmed (FFL, Recession planes or boundary).

Surveyors will need to record the actual dimensions for the building work with the consented dimensions under the ‘plans’ section of the certificate. Care needs to be taken that the latest amendment copy of the consent is used.

If a stage of the work is recorded to be as consented then the BLC will be completed and signed for that stage. If/when further surveys are required, the surveyor is to return back to site for each stage and produce a BLC.

Example: Stage 1 and 2 of the construction documentation and advice notes completed and correct, Stage 3 yet to be completed and required before final sign off of the BLC.

If any discrepancies are found, the surveyor needs to disclose the location and extent of them on the BLC and advise the owner or the builder so they can notify the BCA of this variation (see section on Minor variation). The BCA will then assess the variation using the disclosure statement at the reviewing stage by the BCA which will then be relied upon to make a decision.

The consented dimensions and any deviations are to be recorded on their attached consented plan with the BLC and declaration statement.

Role and process

The homeowner must remain aware of what is happening with their build at all times and to contact the BCA if there are any changes. For building work close to planning restrictions such as recession planes, boundary distances and finished floor levels (FFLs) it is likely that discrepancies may be found and the homeowner or agent will need to contact their local BCA’s planning department to see if the dimensions recorded are within the scope of the district plan.

Example: Email a copy of the Building Location Certificate (B-081) [PDF, 88 KB] (also available in Word [DOCX, 643 KB]) noting the variation to DutyPlanner@ccc.govt.nz. The email should include a request for an In Scope Variation if applicable.

An In Scope Variation process needs to be formalised by the planning department (cost and standard response letter).
Once the changes have been confirmed by the BCA the customer would be required to have a copy on site of the:

  • Planning Department’s letter noting acceptance of all variations.
  • The owner’s written acceptance of the changed dimensions
  • A copy of the changed dimensions to be recorded as a minor variation.

Or the customer would receive a letter from the Planning Department noting why they ‘cannot’ accept all variations and direct the customer to seek an amendment or undertake the work as consented.


As the homeowner, you are responsible for your building consent and obtaining any documentation that is required to be supplied. The easiest way to identify whether a building location certificate is required is to check your consent construction documentation and advice notes. Remember to talk to your designer or builder if you have any concerns.

The builder may ask you to engage a surveyor, once the BLC has been produced by the surveyor it is important that the Surveyor explains any deviations they have found for you. If everything is ok, an inspector will need to review the BLC on site at the next inspection, so it is important that a hard copy is kept on site. An electronic copy will also need to be sent into the BCA for reviewing to codecompliance@ccc.govt.nz or via online services.(external link)

If the surveyor finds any deviations from the consented plans in their BLC, you are responsible for contacting the BCA and letting us know so the changes can be assessed. It is possible that a minor variation or an amendment to the building consent plans may be needed which does involve a fee.

Role and Process

The builder needs to review the consent construction documentation and advice notes and make sure that the stages that have been listed by the Consenting Officer are looked at by a surveyor and a Building Location Certificate (B-081) [PDF, 88 KB] (also available in Word [DOCX, 643 KB]) is provided for each stage.

They need to build the property as per the stamped consented plans, to get the required building inspections relating to building location and height, and to notify the BCA if any changes or discrepancies are found by the surveyor or make sure the homeowner is provided with the correct documentation to do so.


As the builder, you need to make sure that you follow the dimensions of the consented plans and read the consent construction documentation and advice notes. If there is a statement asking for any stage of building work to be verified with a building location certificate (BLC) a surveyor will need to be engaged.

A building inspector can also request a BLC if they are unable to verify location. The inspector will be clear in their instructions of what they need verified in regards to on-going building work while waiting for a BLC.

Once a BLC is obtained, you will need to submit it to BCA via codecompliance@ccc.govt.nz or via online services(external link) so that it can be saved against the building consent. A building inspector will then review it on site at the next inspection.
If any deviations occur, BCA will need to be contacted as this means a change in the consented plans that may require an amendment to both the resource and building consent.