A certificate of acceptance may be issued by the Council detailing the level to which unconsented building work complies with the building code.
A certificate of acceptance provides building code certification on work that has been carried out without a required building consent, and that we have reasonable grounds to believe complies. It qualifies work that cannot be inspected, so is not as comprehensive as a code compliance certificate.
The Building Act 2004 introduced the ability for a Council to recognise and accept work that has been carried out without building consent, or where another building consent authority cannot issue a code compliance certificate (e.g. a former private building certifier).
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Building and Housing has produced guidance for building officials (external link)on processing applications for a certificate of acceptance. The guidance also outlines the requirements for applying for a certificate of acceptance and situations where one is needed.
A certificate of acceptance is a document from the Council that states that it has reasonable grounds to believe that specified building work complies with the building code.
An application can be made if building work has taken place after 1 July 1992 and:
The certificate may be qualified to identify parts that could not be inspected by the Council, in which case the Council's liability is limited to the extent that it was able to inspect.
It may also be refused if building work does not comply or where there is not enough evidence of compliance.
You should apply for a certificate of acceptance if the building work meets the requirements above, and you have evidence that the building work complies with the building code.
If either of the situations below apply, please request a pre-application meeting before you carry out rectification work, apply for building consent, or apply for a certificate of acceptance if:
In some cases, it may be more practical and cost-effective to remove the work or building completely.
You will require both a building consent and a certificate of acceptance when:
Before building work is considered to be urgent there must be such an imminent danger to life, health or property that it is impracticable to obtain building consent in advance. This is a high threshold that very little earthquake repair work meets.
The building work that could be undertaken under this provision would only be the building work necessary to remove the immediate problem, and not the completion of other building work.
A further requirement for people undertaking urgent building work is for a certificate of acceptance application to be made as soon as practicable after completion of the urgent building work.
If you did not ask the Council to inspect your consented work you cannot get a certificate of acceptance instead. A certificate of acceptance cannot be issued where there was a valid building consent for the work.
To obtain a code compliance certificate you will need to obtain evidence that the building work complies with the building consent, even though the Council has not seen it.
To apply for a certificate of acceptance you will need the following:
Applying online will save you the cost of scanning fees, allow you to track your certificate of acceptance consent application and will reduce application processing time. Visit Online Services(external link) for further information.
Post your application to us at Building Consenting, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154.
Deliver your application to the Council office at 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch.
Certificates of acceptance are more complex and time-consuming than building consent and are usually significantly more expensive than the equivalent building consent.
On application you will need to pay:
Please note that the value of building work that is submitted will be assessed to determine if is reasonable, and may impact on the fees that are payable.
Once the application has been processed and the Council is ready to issue or refuse the application, all of the costs associated with the application will be calculated and it is likely that a further invoice will need to be paid before the decision is released.
An application that is comprehensive, concise and clear will be faster for the Council to process. That means it will be considerably less expensive.
Applying for and obtaining a certificate of acceptance does not relieve you from any other penalties or actions that may apply for carrying out building work without building consent.
When the application is submitted it is briefly checked to see that adequate information has been supplied so it can be processed.
Council officers, or in some cases external consultants on behalf of the Council, will then carry out a desktop assessment, followed by an inspection of the building work. We will consider all information that is available to us in order to decide whether we have reasonable grounds that the work complies with the building code.
A comprehensive report will then be written and a recommendation made.
At any stage during the process, there may be communication with you to request clarifications or further information. The Council has 20 working days to process your application but the statutory clock will be stopped until the Council receives all information requested.
The final decision will then be made on whether to issue or refuse to issue the certificate of acceptance, with the decision being released when all fees have been paid.
Your certificate may include acceptance from the Council that some or all of the building work complies with the building code because we have reasonable grounds to believe this, but it may be qualified to say that we have not been able to inspect some or all of the building work.
If there is work that we do not believe complies, or we do not have enough evidence of compliance, we may enter into discussions with you to change the scope of work that is covered by the certificate.
The certificate of acceptance would then be issued to include only the building work that we believe complies. We may also issue you with a notice to fix that will require you to rectify the non-compliant building work.
Your application for a certificate of acceptance may be refused in the following circumstances:
The Council takes a reasonable approach in assessing an application, considering any inspections done by the Council and all other relevant evidence, including its knowledge of all circumstances surrounding the building work and who undertook the building work.
If you do not agree with the Council decision then you can apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for a determination(external link).
A land information memorandum will show the certificate of acceptance application and the decision made.
If a purchaser requests to see the property file, all documentation associated with the application will be made available.