The building consent process depends on the nature of the work you are planning.
There is a streamlined process for solid fuel heaters (wood burners or fireplaces) and some small low-risk projects can be considered for exemption, with all other building work requiring the process outlined on this page.
Restricted building work: Building or design work that relates to either the structure (load-bearing walls, foundations etc) or moisture penetration (roof, cladding etc) of homes including small-to-medium sized apartments is classified as ‘Restricted Building Work’. This work can only be carried out by competent, appropriately licensed building practitioners.
A Project Information Memorandum (PIM) is a Council report related to a specific site which provides information about land and legislation that might be relevant to your proposed building work.
A PIM is not mandatory but does include information that is useful during the feasibility and design stages of a project, particularly for larger endeavours such as building new homes, making large alterations, or constructing new commercial or industrial buildings. For more information and instructions on applying for a PIM see the PIM page.
A Building Consent is required for a range of building projects, including new buildings, alterations to existing buildings, and change of use of a building.
Applicants must complete an official Building Consent application form on-line. It is to be completed by the property owner or their authorised agent, e.g. architect, engineer, draughtsman or builder. Detailed plans and comprehensive supporting material is required. For more information on what is required, please see the MBIE Guide.
If you’re thinking about carrying out building works, consider whether there may be any natural hazards present, and how they could affect compliance with the Building Act 2004 and the New Zealand Building Code.
Natural hazards include:
Gaining a building consent
New building work or major alterations should be designed with any natural hazard in mind. The Council cannot grant a building consent for new buildings, or major alterations, on land that is subject to or likely to be subject to 1 or more natural hazards or is likely to accelerate, worsen or result in a natural hazard on that land or any other property.
It may help your application to have a report from a Geotechnical Engineer, Hydrologist or other specialist who can advise what the impact of your development may be and how to address the natural hazards. You should check with Council prior to lodging a building consent application.
If the Council is satisfied that your plans will adequately protect the land, building work or other property from the hazard, or restore it after the work is complete they can grant a building consent without endorsing your title.
The Council strongly recommends that you or your advisors discuss your proposals with Council staff before lodging your building consent application.
When a building consent is granted on a property that contains natural hazards the Council may arrange to endorse the Certificate of Title advising the consent has been issued on land subject to natural hazards. Endorsements may refer to:
You can find out if there are any endorsements on your Certificate of Title by requesting a copy from Land Information New Zealand.
If there is a Section 72 endorsement (or similar) on the Certificate of Title and the building is subsequently damaged by a hazard event, then the owner and subsequent owners may not be insured for that damage. Refer to clause 3(d) of Schedule 3 of the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.
We advise contacting your solicitor, insurance company or the Earthquake Commission if you are purchasing a property where the land is subject to natural hazard or you are planning to alter or add to the property in the future.
Building Act 2004
It may be appropriate to engage a suitably qualified and experienced professional or expert to assist in preparing your building consent application.
Experts can help by providing evidence to support your application in demonstrating compliance with the building code.
Supporting evidence may take many forms including:
Professional opinions can assist in demonstrating compliance with the building code on reasonable grounds. They can also be used in the assessment of alternative solutions.
When processing your building consent the Council will need to determine if:
Competence and independence of the author
The Council does not maintain a list of approved professionals/ experts.
Competence - is a mixture of qualification and relevant experience, this is established by:
Independence - the author must be independent from:
If in the Council's view the author is not suitably competent or independent. The Council will go back to the applicant, or agent, and seek information from another source.
Is the opinion reasonable?
This needs to be determined by the processing officer and will include factors such as:
If in the Council's view, the opinion is not considered reasonable, further information will be requested from the applicant, agent or author of the expert/ professional opinion as appropriate and may require a peer review from an independent suitably qualified person.
Sometimes building work may not proceed if a Resource Consent is required and has not been obtained. We recommend that you speak to your designer early in the planning stage to ensure all approvals required for your project are applied for in a timely manner.
If your consent application is for an alteration to an existing building it is important to note that the building must comply as nearly as is reasonably practicable with the provisions of the Building Code that relate to means of escape from fire and access and facilities for persons with disabilities.
The building must continue to comply after the building work has been completed or, if it did not comply prior to the commencement of the building work, it must continue to comply at least to the same extent. For further information, refer to the Building Act: NZBA 2004 s112.
Depending on the nature of the work and the location of the property, other departments within Council may also be involved in this evaluation, including those involved with transportation, water services, coastal and river erosion, flooding, ponding etc.
It may also be necessary, depending on the nature of the work, to have certain aspects of the consent reviewed by a third party, such as a specialist engineer. In all cases where a third party review is required, you will be notified and given the choice of using your own specialist or a Council-appointed specialist, with the cost added to your consent fee.
A change of use is when both of the following apply:
You cannot make the proposed change until Council gives you written confirmation that the requirements of the Building Act have been complied with.
The requirements will vary, depending on whether the change of use means that household units/sleeping areas will be incorporated into the building. If this is the case, Council will need to be satisfied that the building's new use will comply with the Building Code as near as reasonably practicable (known as ANARP). If this is not the case, the building will have to comply with Building Code requirements on accessibility and escape for fire.
If you make the change without advising Council you could be liable for a fine of up to $5000.
For more information, see the change of use section of the MBIE website.
A Territorial Authority cannot issue a certificate under section 224(f) of the Resource Management Act 1991 for the purposes of giving effect to a subdivision affecting a building or part of a building unless it is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the building will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with every provision of the Building Code that relates to one or more of the following:
The building must also continue to comply with the other provisions of the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the subdivision application was made.
Based on a GNS Science report reassessing the region's susceptibility to earthquake-induced liquefaction, Council has prepared and released the following document:
Guidelines for Geotechnical Site Investigation for Residential Building Consents in Hastings District (draft final - December 2018).
The guidelines were developed with input from a panel of geotechnical engineering experts appointed by the Council. The guidelines were revised and finalised in December 2018 following a process of public consultation. Council is now in the process of contacting all submitters to the draft document advising the guidelines have been updated.
The draft final document is now in use and will be confirmed as final after all submitters have been notified. The guideline is available from the ‘related documents’ section at the top of this page.
Interactive GNS liquefaction indicator maps are available through the Hawke's Bay Emergency Management Group website.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment manages a multi-proof service for standardised building designs that are intended to be built several times. If your building design is Multiproof certified, you can build the design repeatedly nationwide without having the whole design assessed each time. You will still need to apply for a Building Consent in the area in which you want to build and comply with local District Plan and Resource Consent rules.
For more information see the MBIE document: How to apply for Multiproof approval.
Most buildings have an indefinite life exceeding 50 years unless a specific intended life is specified.
Where a building is proposed to have a specified intended life the Building Consent will be issued subject to the condition that the building must be altered, demolished or removed before the end of its specified intended life. If you wish to extend the life of a building beyond its specified life, you must give written notice to Council proposing that extension. For more information, refer to the MBIE website.
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