Council typically receives building consents electronically.
Council then does a non-technical check to ensure the required information is present, e.g. forms complete and relevant plans, specifications and technical information supplied. We also check to ensure the correct property details have been selected.
After that, Council will:
Accept the application
The statutory clock starts ticking.
The application will be returned
The application will be returned and the applicant will receive a “Plansmart information request” outlining the additional information required. The application will then need to be resubmitted.
The building officer processing your consent checks that the information is project specific and relevant, and whether they are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the proposed building work complies with the Building Code (see Building Act Section 49).
Other Council teams such as Planning and Infrastructure also check the consent.
Where Council considers there is insufficient information to demonstrate Building Code compliance, Council sends a letter to the applicant requesting this information. This suspends the processing time. (See more information below.)
Council will send you an invoice once your consent is processed. Your consent will be granted and issued once you have made this payment.
Typically your consent will be given to you electronically. If you want the consent printed, printing fees will apply.
Granting a consent means Council are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building work will comply with the Building Code, if completed properly in accordance with the plans and specifications within the application.
Once you have received your consent, please read it carefully as it contains important information such as:
Note: the consent must be available on site for every inspection.
When processing a consent, the building officer checks the design plans and specifications against the performance requirements of the Building Code and Building Act.
If the design specifications and plans don’t clearly prove to Council that the proposed building complies with the Building Code, Council may either refuse the application or request more information. This suspends the consent processing time.
If we need more information, we’ll send a letter to the applicant requesting this. We will copy the letter in to the owner so they are aware of the application status. In some cases, your letter may include information required by other Council departments, or they may contact you separately.
The Building Act allows Councils 20 working days to process Property Information Memorandums and/or building consent applications to the point of either granting or refusing your application. Where your application relates to a multi-use approval the Building Act allows 10 working days.
The Act allows Council to stop or suspend the processing clock where additional information is required to establish Building Code compliance. The clock will restart the day after which the completed information was received by council. Please ensure your designer makes a proper and complete application in order to avoid consenting delays.
Council may refuse building consents if the designer has failed to show Building Code compliance. This is normally a last resort, and may suggest the designer is working outside of their competence.
Your designer may need to design in certain features such as minimum floor heights or specific foundation systems, to take account of any natural hazards your land is subject to. Natural hazards may include:
Council may either:
If your land is subject to natural hazards we suggest you discuss this with a competent design professiona l and possibly a lawyer before applying for a building consent. A notification on your title can lead to wider issues outside of Council’s role.
As a building consent authority, Council can process all building consents except for those relating to large dams. You must discuss any plans to build a large dam with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council instead.
In some cases you may provide technical opinions from design or building professionals or product manufacturers with your application to show how Building Code compliance will be achieved. Your designers should read that information carefully to ensure the Building Code compliance section is current and adequately described. This will help you avoid unnecessary delays.
Council are not obliged to accept statements from engineers and the like, and do so at our discretion.
Depending on the circumstances, Council may either:
If your application includes information from an engineer and a “producer statement”, you should check to statement to see if it covers “all” or “part only” of the work. If it covers “part only”, you will need to provide a full description of what parts are/are not covered. You should also ensure the engineer is working within their identified field of expertise.
Fire reports are critical to ensuring people are safe when using buildings and you should ensure you are using suitably qualified and experienced design professionals for these reports.
Council expects all fire reports to be concise, clear and project specific. Reports that are not done by chartered professional fire engineers will likely be peer reviewed by Council-contracted chartered professional fire engineers with costs passed on to the owner.
In cases where complex designs need to be supported by a peer review (i.e. by a suitably qualified engineer), Council may seek an additional peer review at their discretion if that peer review is not deemed sufficient. These costs would also be passed on to the owner.
Once your building consent has been issued, the building work that the consent relates to must be started within 12 months. Otherwise the consent would lapse, and you would have to reapply for a new one if you wish to proceed with your building work.
Council will remind you of this date closer to the time, and you may apply for an extension of time provided you do so before the 12 months is up and pay a fee.
Some types of building consent applications need to be forwarded to Fire and Emergency NZ for review. These are described in a gazette notice. Typically Council will check the report to see if the consent does need a Fire and Emergency NZ review.
Council’s expectation is that the fire designer or engineer would correctly state if this is the case or not. Fire and Emergency NZ have 10 working days from receiving the consent to provide feedback to Council. If the designer has incorrectly stated the need for such a review this can hold up your consent.
The Building Act allows many conditions to be applied to a consent and the most common one relates to our ability to inspect the work and natural hazards. The conditions listed on your building consent are important and you should read them carefully.
If you have any questions you should discuss them with your design or building professional in the first instance.
For builders, property developers and housing providers changing commercial buildings into inner city homes.
Inner city living is gaining popularity in Hastings, and Hastings District Council supports this change. We have developed a guide to provide a brief insight into what is involved from a consenting perspective to change a commercial building into a residential building.
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