Building Consents

What is a building consent?

A building consent is formal approval for proposed building work, certifying that the project, as documented, complies with the New Zealand Building Code, Building Act and building regulations.

No building work requiring a building consent can start until one has been issued (it cannot be issued retrospectively) and other requirements such as resource consent conditions have been met. 

Building consents do not give any form of planning approval under the Council's District Plan. It is your responsibility to find out whether your proposal complies with the District Plan by contacting us or consulting your own planning advisor.

If it does not comply with the District Plan you will need a resource consent. You are strongly advised to obtain this before seeking a building consent, to avoid expensive changes to your proposal.

Do I need a building consent?

Most building, plumbing and drainage work requires a building consent. 

Some building works are exempted from the need for a building consent. A full description of exemptions is contained in Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 or for guidance, consult the MBIE Guidance – Building work that does not require a building consent

Applying for exemption

One of the exemptions outlined in Schedule 1, is Part 1, s.2, which allows the council to exempt any work at its own discretion.

A review of this type of exemption is based on the Council’s own assessment of risk of building work not being carried out in accordance with the Building Code or of endangering people or property.

This generally includes low risk projects such as farm buildings, marquees and tents.

A Guide for Schedule 1, Part 1, s2 Exemptions for Marquees provides code compliance considerations and calculation information for customers wishing to apply for marquee/tent exemptions.

Guide for fire safety in marquees 42 KB

Council has a general exemption policy to allow the construction of a farm building in the rural environment provided it meets criteria listed in the exemption application form.

In order to apply for an exemption under Schedule 1, Part 1, s2 you will need to complete the following application form, provide details / drawings that show the extent of the proposed exempt work and pay the non-refundable fee.

If we are satisfied that your proposal is covered within Schedule 1, Part 1, s.2 we will give you written confirmation of this and add the information to the property file.

If we are not satisfied then you will need to apply for a Building Consent to carry out the work.

Applying for a building consent


Click button to apply online

The process of applying for a building consent depends on the nature of the work you are planning.

There is a streamlined process for solid fuel heaters (wood burners or fireplaces), all other building work requires the following process.

NOTE: from the 1 March 2012 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 was classified as ‘Restricted Building Work’. This work can only be carried out by competent, appropriately licensed building practitioners

Step 1 (Optional) – Project Information Memorandum (PIM)

A Project Information Memorandum (PIM) is a Council report which provides information about land and the requirements of legislation that might be relevant to proposed building work.

You can choose to apply for this before lodging a building consent application so that you can anticipate any potential issues, or you can apply at the same time as your building consent.

A PIM is not mandatory, but for larger projects such as new houses, large alterations and new commercial or industrial buildings, you will find a PIM very useful in establishing the feasibility and design of the project.

Therefore, it's a good idea to obtain a PIM in the planning stages of larger projects.

A PIM covers:

The PIM either confirms that, subject to the requirements of the building consent and all other necessary authorisations being obtained, you will be able to carry out the building work, or it gives you notification that building work may not be undertaken.

Apply for a PIM

To apply for a PIM, you must complete a Building Consent application form, BUT it is important that you specify that you want a PIM ONLY.

Submit the completed application form, accompanied by one set of plans and specifications for the proposed work and the required fee, to the Customer Service Centre, 207 Lyndon Road East, Hastings.

Council has 10 days to request additional information, and must issue the PIM within 10 days of receiving this information.

Step 2 – Prepare and submit your building consent application

Complete a Building consent application form (click here to access our forms page) or by completing a form online

The form is to be completed by the property owner or their authorised agent, e.g. architect, engineer, draughtsman or builder. 

Alterations to existing building

The following must be considered when making alterations to an existing building:

Building Act 2004 – Alterations to existing buildings

Multiproof consents

The Ministry of Business,Innovation and Employment provides a multiproof service for standardised building designs that are intended to be built several times. If your building design has a Multiproof you can build the design several times within one district or nationwide, subject to any approval conditions, without needing to have the whole design assessed by the BCA each time you apply for a Building Consent.

Find out more about how to apply for a multiproof design

Submit the completed application forms, accompanied by one set of plans and specifications, and a completed application checklist for the PlanSmart assessment.

Step 3 – Reviewing your application

It is compulsory for building consent applications to go through a pre-lodgement assessment process. 

This process is called ‘PlanSmart' and may consist of a meeting which is optional.

PlanSmart assessment

The assessment itself involves a review of your consent documentation against a standardised checklist.

If there are any omissions in your documentation, they will be highlighted on the checklist and the full application returned to you.

It is important to remember that this is only an initial check to ensure you have all the necessary documentation. A full examination and technical assessment of the information supplied is completed by a Building Officer after the consent has been accepted and lodged.

Standard of documents

Building work which requires a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) will need to be documented by the LBP.

Documentation for building work must be of the standard detailed in the Ministry of Business,Innovation and Employment Guide to applying for building consent 3MB

Producer Statements

Producer statements can be used to reduce the councils input into specific aspects of design reviews or construction monitoring work.

Council may accept/require a Producer Statement from a suitably qualified expert as evidence that their design or building work complies, or will comply with the New Zealand Building Code. The content of producer statements must be project specific.

Step 4 - Lodging Your Application  

Applications can be entered online, posted or handed in at Council's Customer Service Centre, 207 Lyndon Road Hastings or posted to Building Team, Hastings District Council, Private Bag 9002, Hastings 4156. If you wish to make an appointment for a Plansmart Assessment please contact us on 06 871 5000 to make an appointment with a building officer to lodge your application.

Amendments - can I change the plans?

You are able to change your plans at any stage of the application process. However, only minor changes may be made, and they will have to be checked for legislative compliance, which may slow the processing of your application.

New projects cannot be added to your consent application once it is submitted. They will require a separate consent.

Any changes to a consent that has already been granted will require an Amendment application. This will cost extra.

Find out more on what type of alteration to an existing consent requires an Amendment Application. For guidance consult the Guide to building consent amedments.

Processing building consents

Once your building consent application has been accepted, it will be given a unique (ABA) number and entered into our processing system.

You should quote this number whenever you contact Council about your application, which will be linked to other records for the property.

Building officers will evaluate your building consent application to ensure it meets all legal requirements.

Alterations to existing buildings: if your consent is 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 NZBA 2004 s112

Depending on the nature of the work and the location of the property, other departments within the council may also be involved in this evaluation - 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 specialist engineers. 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.


Council is legally required to process your application within 20 working days.

The processing “clock” starts when the consent is accepted, but may be stopped if we find your application does not contain all the necessary details for us to make a proper evaluation of the proposed work.

In that case an officer will ask you for extra information. Until it is received, the processing “clock” remains stopped and the delay is not counted as part of the 20 days. The clock will re-start as soon as the requested information has been received and assessed. 

Even if your consent is suspended by the building department, it will continue to be processed by other council departments. This may result in separate requests for further information from those departments.

Some applications will be sent to the Design Review Unit of the NZ Fire Services Commission. In these cases there will be additional fees to pay.


Building consent fees will be assessed when the consent is processed and will include payment for an estimated number of inspections required for your project. See fees and charges

If the value of your application is over $20,000, your fees will include levies that Council is required to collect on behalf of the Ministry of Business,Innovation and Employment and the Building Research Association of New Zealand.

Development Contributions are a fee payable on developments or subdivisions that generate additional demand on infrastructure and services. Development Contributions that are identified during the processing of a Building Consent must be paid before the Code Complaince Certificate can be issued.

Decisions and disputes

Whether we approve your building consent application depends upon how well the project conforms with the requirements of the Building Code and Building Act.

If you disagree with us over some aspect of your building proposal, or a decision the Council has made, you can apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for a determination.

The Ministry will make a ruling on matters within its jurisdiction (refer to Section 177 of the Building Act 2004 for a complete list of matters falling under the Department's jurisdiction). There is a charge for the service.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
PO Box 1473
Wellington 6140
New Zealand
Phone: 04 238 6362, 0800 242 243

Granting and issuing consents

Once your application has been assessed as meeting all requirements, it will be Approved.

It will be granted and issued when all the necessary fees have been paid.

Once you have your building consent and any other approvals required, such as resource consent, you may begin building.

The consent will consist of a large red envelope that contains the approved Building Consent Plans and Specifications.

The pack also includes guidance documents. This pack must be available on site during the entire project. It is very important that you and your contractor(s) read the building consent documents to ensure you are clear about its requirements.

It will contain a list of inspections required to be made by Council Officers during the building process, and a list of Producer Statements required from specialists.

Those specialists will be required to provide documentation of the work or inspections they undertake in support of their Producer Statement (refer to the Producer Statements page for further information). 

Lapsing of Building Consent

Work must start within 12 months of the building consent being issued. If work does not start the consent is lapsed. An extension of time may be applied for but must be approved prior to the 12 months lapse date. If a consent is lapsed, a new building consent will be required before work may commence.

Other building-related approvals

Sometimes building work may not proceed if a Resource Consent is required and has not been obtained.

We recommend you speak to your designer to ensure all approvals required for your project are applied for.

It is important to discuss your proposal and any requirements that may be necessary with the appropriate Council Officer before planning/commencing work.