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Building work and exemptions

What building work requires building consent?

All building work requires consent before the work is started. Building work refers to work that is for or in connection with a building’s construction, alteration, demolition, or removal.  
You will require consent if you want to:

  1. Change your building’s layout
  2. Add to it
  3. Renovate
  4. Build a new one.

Note: This also includes: plumbing, drain-laying, pool fencing/barriers, retaining walls, etc.

However, some exceptions to this requirement do exist. These are known as exemptions.

Building work exempt from consent requirements

Exempt building work is building work that can be done without first obtaining a building consent. Council suggests discussing your plans with your design or building professional who will be able to tell you if the proposed work is exempt. You can find more information on finding a design or building professional here.

Please note however, exempt building work must always comply with the Building Code.

The work may also need to comply with other requirements such as the District Plan and resource consent or bylaw requirements. Your competent design or building professionals are best placed to advise you on this.

See MBIE guidance for more information on exempt building work.

When building work can begin (including Resource Management Act requirements)

You should read your building consent carefully upon receiving it as it may have restrictions imposed that will prevent you from starting work, e.g. you may need a resource consent. However, if no restrictions have been identified on your consent then you can start work as soon as your consent is granted.

Managing changes on site

Matters can become complicated if changes are made on site without Council approval. You need to discuss any changes you wish to make to a design with both the designer and Council before making the change. In some cases you may need to apply for an amendment to the consent . This takes 20 working days to approve. In other cases the work may be a minor variation. Changes could hold up your project if not managed appropriately.

Restricted building work

You can find information on restricted building work on the building consents page .

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