How building work is certified

How your completed building work is certified.

Current wait times to start processing code compliance certificate applications:

  • Residential: Within 26 working days
  • Commercial: Within 13 working days

To prevent delays, please submit outstanding construction documentation as outlined in the conditions of your building consent.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

A code compliance certificate is issued by the Council under Section 95 of the Building Act 2004(external link) when all the requirements of Section 94 of the Building Act 2004(external link) have been met. This includes being satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building work complies with the building consent.

A lack of a code compliance certificate may prevent a bank from releasing a final builder payment or increase the cost of insurance coverage. You may also have trouble selling your house.

An owner must apply for a code compliance certificate after all building work to be carried out under building consent is completed. Before applying for a code compliance certificate, ensure that the building consent conditions have been met, including section 90 and the accompanying schedule of inspections.

If the building consent conditions have not been met, it is likely your application for a code compliance certificate will not be accepted.

When and how to apply for your code compliance certificate

The application must be made as soon as practicable after the building work is completed and on the prescribed form (Form 6).

We encourage you, or your agent, to provide the construction documentation(external link), as listed on the building consent construction documentation and advice notes document provided with your building consent, throughout the build. Submitting the documentation during the build will also speed up the process once you apply for your code compliance certificate, as the construction documents will be reviewed and processed on receipt. This will result upon receiving your code compliance certificate application, we can issue the code compliance certificate much quicker.

If not previously submitted, which we encourage you to do for the reasons mentioned above, all construction documentation should be submitted at this time. Please refer to the building consent construction documentation and advice notes provided with your building consent at the time of issue for the detail of the required documentation and supporting material to supply with your application. However, if you submit all the construction documentation at the same time as your code compliance certificate application, this will slow down the process and occur extra costs.

If you submit your application through Online Services(external link), you will not have to complete the B-011 application form, as you will complete the application form online.

If you wish to submit your application by post or in person, download and complete the application for a code compliance certificate (Form 6) Form - B-011 [DOCX, 397 KB] and submit your application with any attachments as required on the application form.

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

Submit an application for code compliance certificate

  • Online: Visit Online Services(external link) for further information. 
  • Post: post your application to us at Building Consenting, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154.
  • In-person: deliver your application to the Council office at 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch.

Statutory clock and requests for information

When your application is received the statutory time frame (or statutory clock) of 20 working days for processing your application starts on the next working day after the day it is received.

We aim to make a decision on your code compliance certificate within 20 working days. However, during the processing of your application, the statutory clock stops if we have to send you a request for information (RFI). Typically this will be for the construction documentation requested by the building consent that may not have been included in the application. 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. We then make a decision on your code compliance certificate whether to issue or refuse your code compliance certificate.

Compliance schedule for specified systems

If as a result of building work a building contains certain safety and essential systems, known as specified systems, a compliance schedule will be issued by the building consent authority.

The compliance schedule will describe the specified systems, state their performance standards and describe the inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures for the specified systems.

A compliance schedule is there to ensure the continued effective operation of the building’s specified systems.  

View MBIE’s website (external link)for further information on compliance schedules for building officials.

Specified systems

A specified system means a system or feature contained in or attached to, a building, contributes to the proper functioning of the building and is declared to be a specified system by building regulations(external link).  Examples include sprinkler systems, fire alarms and lifts.

An exception to the above is a cable car, they have been defined as a specified system differently.   Also if a cable car is attached to or servicing a building used wholly as a single household unit is the only reason such a building would need a compliance schedule.   

When you apply for building consent(external link), you must include a list of all specified systems in the building project.

New or amendment to a compliance schedule

If as a result of building work specified systems are added to a building, a compliance schedule (or an amended compliance schedule) will be issued with the code compliance certificate.

Where a compliance schedule has been issued for the first time (typically a new building), a compliance schedule statement is also issued by the Council. 

This statement must be displayed publically in the building and is valid for 12 months.

After receiving a compliance schedule statement owners must engage an independent qualified person (IQP) as soon as possible (typically within one month) to ensure that all inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures are complied with for the next 12 months.

At each anniversary of the issue of the compliance schedule, you must supply the Council with a building warrant of fitness(external link). A building warrant of fitness states that the inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures of the compliance schedule have been fully complied with during the previous 12 months.

A copy of the building warrant of fitness must be publicly displayed in the building.

You will need to apply for an amendment to the existing compliance schedule if you want to:

  • Update owner details.
  • Amend the inspection, maintenance or reporting procedures.
  • Advise of any specified system not included on the compliance schedule for the building.

As the owner, you can apply for an amendment to the compliance schedule at any time. Complete and return an application for amendment to compliance schedule (Form 11) - Form B-031 [DOCX, 388 KB] or (also available as a PDF [PDF, 673 KB]).

Independent qualified persons (IQP)

An independent qualified persons (IQP) is a person accepted by a territorial authority as being qualified to carry out or supervise all or some of the inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures required for specified systems stated in a compliance schedule. Independent means that the person has no financial interest in the building.

The Council does not perform building warrant of fitness(external link) inspections or certification for building owners, although from time to time we may carry out inspections for auditing purposes.

The role of IQPs is to inspect, maintain and report on the specified systems as detailed on the compliance schedule.

You are required by the Building Act to have annual written reports relating to the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures of the compliance schedule signed by each IQP who has carried out those procedures. Keep the reports with the compliance schedule for two years and make sure they are available when Council inspections are carried out.

All registered South Island independent qualified persons personnel are recorded on the IQP Register administered by the Timaru District Council(external link). This also provides information and advice regarding IQP related matters.


If a building consent requires a new compliance schedule, or amended compliance schedule, to be issued as a result of building work, a fixed fee is charged with the issue of the building consent.

There is a different fee for when a building owner applies for an amendment to a compliance schedule outside the building consent process

There is also an annual administration fee for processing the building warrant of fitness. This is comprised of a base fee and an additional fee per specified system. A new fee for building warrants of fitness site audits following a failed audit has recently been introduced.

Refer to the building consents fee schedule(external link) for related fees. The cost of an IQP’s services is not included in the Council application fee or annual fees.

View MBIE’s MBIE’s website(external link) for further information on Buildings with compliance schedules for specified systems.

Fees and charges

Fees and levies payable vary for applications depending on the type of project. Please refer to the Building Consents Fee Schedule, which also outlines further detail on how to pay.

Where the cost to process the code compliance certificate application exceeds the fee paid when the building consent was issued then additional time may be charged at the relevant officer charge out rate.

Any outstanding fees must be paid before the code compliance certificate (Form 7) is issued. This includes payment of any additional inspections, code compliance processing time and minor variations. If a development contribution is required to be paid, this must be paid before the certificate can be issued.

Code compliance certificate issued

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.

If an application for a 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 under section 93(2)(b) whether to issue or not the code compliance certificate.

In order to make the decision on whether to issue a code compliance certificate, the Council will assess all relevant matters relating to your building consent and project. In some cases, this may require a building inspection and the Council reserves the right to inspect building work and verify ongoing compliance with the Building Code prior to deciding whether to issue a code compliance certificate.

This inspection may take into consideration the passage of time since building work was significantly completed, condition of building work, performance and durability of claddings and completed building work.

As part of the 24-month decision process, we will now be providing an invoice with any outstanding inspections or minor variation fees for payment within 30 days from the date of the invoice.

If Council refuses to issue a code compliance certificate, you may apply again once any identified non-compliances have been remedied.

Refusal of code compliance certificate

The Council may refuse to issue a code compliance certificate if:

  • All the building work, to which the consent relates, is not yet completed.
  • We do not have adequate evidence that the building work complies with your building consent (this may include required documentation not being supplied).
  • For a building consent issued under the 1991 Act we do not have adequate evidence that the building work complies with the building code.

Opening to the public

Premises affected by building work cannot be used by members of the public until the code compliance certificate is issued unless a certificate for public use has been issued. 

Any breach could result in enforcement action by the Council.

Selling without the code compliance certificate

If you are building or arranging to have built, a household unit for the purpose of selling it you must get a code compliance certificate before completing the sale, or before allowing the purchaser to take possession of the household unit.

The only exception is if the on-seller and purchaser sign an agreement to waive this requirement.

There is a prescribed form(external link) for this agreement which advises of any potential extra costs being passed on to the buyer. For further reading see Building Act 2004 – revision section 362V(external link)

Complaints about the Building Consent Authority

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(external link).

Further guidance on resolving problems can also be found on MBIE’s website(external link).

MBIE determinations

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 on MBIE’s website(external link).

Unconsented or unapproved building work

Discuss with us any building work that has been completed without building consent so you can consider your options to comply with section 40 of the Building Act 2004.

For further information regarding what work may be considered exempt, visit exemption from building consent(external link).

Any building work carried out in urgency without a building consent, such as during an emergency, will require an application for a certificate of acceptance(external link).

If you have completed any building work without first obtaining a building consent, or having a discretionary exemption approved, get in touch so we can discuss the options with you.

Here's what you can do

If you think you may have carried out building work without the required approvals:

What to do if you suspect substandard or unconsented work

If you have serious concerns about building work, you can raise this with us and we'll investigate. You will need to provide details of your concerns by:

A notice to fix

If your building work does not meet the requirements of the Building Act, the Council can issue you with a notice to fix for any breaches of the Building Act or Building regulations.

The notice to fix will instruct you on what action to take to address the issues identified and give a timeframe to comply to prevent further action from being taken.

Historic consents over five years old

A historic consent is defined as a building consent where the first inspection was undertaken more than five years ago and the most recent inspection undertaken more than six months before the application for code compliance certificate was received.

In these cases, the Council may choose to undertake a desktop review of the building consent file and undertake a further on-site inspection to ensure all the building work has been carried out and is still in accordance with the building consent before deciding whether to issue a code compliance certificate.

This inspection will take into consideration the passage of time since building work was substantially completed and the current condition of the building work.

What can cause a historic consents

There could be a number of reasons why this has not been brought to your attention previously. The aftermath following the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010/11 disrupted some of the business as usual processes. However, reminder letters were sent out with regards to many outstanding building consents on record. The owner may have changed since the building consent was issued and/or the final inspection was undertaken.

If you do not obtain a code compliance certificate

It may have an impact on the insurance policies you have. The status of a code compliance certificate decision will be listed on the LIM (Land Information Memorandum) and it may have implications if you ever decide to sell your property. The Building Act 2004 requires you to obtain a code compliance certificate following completion of building work carried out under building consent.

Required information

The first step would be to obtain the property file. A building inspector will also review the property file and will highlight any information or documentation which may be required to assist in your application for a code compliance certificate. Information may include EQC documentation (scope of works etc.), engineer’s reports and certificates, energy work certificates.

If you can’t locate all of the documents needed

The building inspector will be able to assist and provide guidance should this situation arise. Additional inspections by the Council and/or external engineers/building surveyors may be required to verify construction, ongoing durability of a building and compliance with the building code.

Fees and charges

We will allocate the application to a building inspector who will review your building consent file and inspection documentation. Additional inspections by the Council will incur additional charges. These will be charged out at the hourly rate.  Please refer to fees and charges.

You may also need additional inspections undertaken by external consultants that can add to the cost. We recommend you seek advice on costs prior to engaging external consultants.

Modifications of the durability periods described in the building code

In the normal course of events, the code compliance certificate is issued at about the same time the work is completed, and the durability periods, therefore, commence from the date of issue of the code compliance certificate.

If the code compliance certificate was not sought until a significant number of years after the completion of the building work, the building consent authority might not be satisfied that the building elements will comply with Clause B2.3.1.

This is because the building elements have already been in service for a significant period of time, and their durability periods will have been either partly or fully expended. Your building inspector will be able to advise if this is the case.

For more information refer to the MBIE(external link) website for more information of the durability periods described in Clause B2.3.1.

How long it takes

This can depend on a number of factors and the availability of evidence for the inspector to be able to verify the building work complies with the building consent. Additional on-site inspections may be required to verify ongoing structural, weather-tightness and durability requirements. Once a passed final inspection has been achieved it can take up to 20 working days for the code compliance certificate to be issued.

Other options

Following this process, if a final inspection cannot be passed or a code compliance certificate cannot be issued then you can ask for a determination through MBIE(external link).

Certificate for public use

Issued by the Council where it is satisfied your premises are safe for members of the public to use before a code compliance certificate is issued.

Certificate of acceptance

Issued by the Council detailing the level to which unconsented building work complies with the building code.

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