Do you need to apply for a building consent?

Here are some examples of work that requires a consent:

  • Any structural building including new buildings, additions, alterations, accessory buildings (sheds), and re-piling
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • Heating (fireplaces), ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Siteworks for a building
  • Retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres, or retaining walls with a building or driveway near the top
  • Fences higher than 2.5 metres and any swimming pool fence
  • Swimming pools
  • Decks more than 1.5 metres from ground level.

The list of work that does not require a building consent includes:

  • Fences up to two metres in height (except pool fences).
  • Retaining walls up to 1.5 metres in height, providing they only carry the ground load.
  • Small garden sheds — they must be less than less than 10 square metres and a single storey. They cannot include sleeping accommodation or toilets or stored drinking water, and they must be as far from the boundary as the height of the shed itself and the rain water from the roof must not cause ponding or a nuisance to the neighbouring property.
  • Closing in an existing veranda or patio where the floor area does not exceed five square metres.
  • Changing existing household plumbing, including minor drainage work, as long as the work is done or signed off by a licensed plumber or drain layer
  • Building or installing a small cabin near to an existing home, as long as the cabin is smaller than 10m² and does not have cooking or sanitary facilities
  • Removing or changing a non load-bearing wall
  • Building awnings, pergolas or verandas over a deck
  • Installing or replacing windows or exterior doors, provided there have not been weather tightness problems and there is no change to structural elements
  • Making a home more accessible by widening doorways and building access ramps
  • Fitting out shop or office interiors where the work does not modify certain important building features, such as fire escapes
  • Erecting tents or marquees, as long as they are smaller than 100m² (for private use) and 50m² (for public use) and will not be used for more than a month

The consent requires the work to commence within 12 months of the application being approved. After the work is complete, you are responsible for making sure a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) is issued unless your builder or architect is obtaining this on your behalf. Builders are required by law to fix defects within the first 12 months, no questions asked. 


For more information on the consent process, visit

Shannon CorbettComment