Processing of building consents can be complex. We can guide you on the process and how to avoid delays in your application.

You can also contact Council on 03 941 8999 to discuss with a duty building consent officer. You may also need assistance from a professional such as a designer or an architect.

All applications will be checked for completeness prior to acceptance. Make sure that you have all the required information to avoid delays in accepting your application.

This check is undertaken within 48 hours of receiving your application. However, during high workloads, this timeframe may be extended up to 96 hours.

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 at any time. 

All applications will incur a fee for the time spent assessing the application regardless of whether they are accepted or not.

The application is assessed to determine if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the proposed building work will meet the requirements of building code.

When your application is received and is accepted, the statutory time frame (or statutory clock) of 20 working days for processing your application starts on the next working day after the day on which a complete application is received. We make a decision on your building consent within 20 working days.

This timeframe is reduced to 10 working days if the building that you are proposing has a MultiProof approval(external link).

During the processing of your application, the statutory clock stops if we have to send you a request for information (RFI). 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.

Please refer to avoiding requests for information(external link) for tips that may allow your application to be processed more quickly. 

We process your application to become satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code(external link) would be met if the building work was properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications.

Your application may be circulated to other parties within the Council for processing, which may include planning, engineering, building, water, drainage and others.

We are required to advise Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga if your application affects an area that is on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.

For some applications for building consent, the Council is required to send the application to Fire and Emergency New Zealand(external link) for their advice.

You can withdraw an application for building consent and/or PIM at any time prior to the building consent being granted.

To withdraw an application, complete and submit the following form via online services(external link) or at the Civic Offices, 53 Hereford St, Christchurch.

Withdrawal Request of a PIM and/or Building Consent Application - Form B-014 [DOCX, 59 KB] (also available as a PDF [PDF, 151 KB])

Depending on how much processing work has been completed, you may either receive a refund or be charged additional fees if the costs to date exceed the deposit amount.

If you will no longer be proceeding with your building work after your building consent has been issued, you can advise the Council of this in writing either via Online Services(external link) or in-person at the Civic Offices, 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch.

At the time that your notification is received, you may be eligible to receive a refund of any unused fees. These will be calculated and issued to you.

Once we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the plans and specifications in the application demonstrate compliance with the building code, we will grant the building consent under section 49 of the Building Act 2004. 

Your building consent is granted pending payment of all fees due by you. You will be notified at the granting of the building consent of any fees that are outstanding.

When all fees are paid, your building consent will be issued.

Once your building consent is issued, make sure you read all documentation carefully.

Once the building consent is issued the building work may begin, but in some circumstances resource consent approval(external link) may still be required. In these circumstances, a certificate attached to your building consent (section 37 of the Building Act) will restrict the starting of building work until resource consent is obtained.

Your building consent documents consist of:

  • The building consent form (Form 5). The building consent will also list any Building Act conditions. It will always list the condition under section 90 on enabling the building work to be inspected. If applicable, it may also list conditions under:
  • The building consent may also state if a compliance schedule is required as a result of the building work with a list of the specified systems and their performance standards that will need to be covered by the compliance schedule.
  • Building consent construction documentation and advice notes.
  • Estimate of construction inspections. These are the inspections that are intended to be carried out by the Council. There may also be some inspections being carried out by your engineer. The details of these inspections will be noted on the above building consent construction documentation and advice notes document.
  • Project information memorandum (PIM) if you requested one, or one was previously issued for the project.
  • Development contribution notice (Form 3) if there are development contributions that are required to be paid before the code compliance certificate is issued (commonly referred to as a section 36 certificate).
  • Certificate attached to PIM (Form 4) if a resource consent is required and there are restrictions on carrying out the building work (commonly referred to as a section 37 certificate).
  • Stamped and approved copy of the plans and specifications that you have submitted. This may be split into plans, specifications, and supporting documents.

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 the MBIE website(external link).

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 the MBIE website(external link).