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Applying for a Building Consent

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.

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

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 deign 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.

Step 2 – Prepare a Building Consent application

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


Matters to consider

Other consents

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.

Alterations to existing buildings

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.

Change of use of an existing building

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.

Subdivision of an existing building

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:

  • Means of escape from fire
  • Access and facilities for people with disabilities (if this is a requirement for the building)
  • Protection of other property

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.

Building on land subject to natural hazards

If your land is subject to or likely to be subject to one or more natural hazards the Building Consent Authority is required to notify the Registrar-General of Land so that a notice can be placed on the Certificate of Title for the property. Under Sections 71 to 73 of the Building Act, natural hazard means:

  • Erosion (including coastal erosion, bank erosion and sheet erosion)
  • Falling debris (including soil, rock, snow and ice)
  • Subsidence
  • Inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects and ponding)
  • Slippage

The procedure for granting a Building Consent subject to Section 72 of the Building Act 2004 is that you will be made aware that the application is being considered under Section 72 and that the hazard will be registered against the property’s title. You may also be required to apply for a waiver to part of E1.3.2.

Your confirmation of having received this advice is required, to record that you recognise the potential implications this may have on insurance and any future sales. At this stage, you have the opportunity then to withdraw your application.

There will be a fee for notification to LINZ regarding a Natural Hazard.


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.

Multiproof consents

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.

Building with specified intended life

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.

Documents that may assist with preparing for your project include:

Step 3 – Reviewing your application

It is compulsory for Building Consent applications to go through a pre-lodgement assessment process. This assessment process is called ‘PlanSmart'. It involves a Council review of your consent documentation against a standardised checklist. If there is information missing from your application it will be documented in an email and the application returned to you. Please re-submit your application when you have completed all requirements in the request.

It is important to remember that this is only an initial check to ensure you have provided all the necessary information. A full examination and technical assessment of the application 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 practitioner. See the LBPs page for more information.

The documentation of building work must be of the standard detailed in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Guide to applying for building consent  (pdf 3MB)

Producer statements

A producer statement is a formal statement on a specific part of building work, or proprietary system within a building projectthat is provided by a suitably qualified professional. It is a declaration or statement made that building design or building work complies with the Building Code. The statement may provide supporting evidence and/or assist the Council to establish whether the design, work or system complies with the Building Code. Material to whether a producer statement will be accepted will be Council’s assessment of the author’s credentials and the veracity of the statement provided.

Council may request producer statements as part of an application for Building Consent and/or as part of the Code Compliance Certificate assessment process. Project managers should ensure that Council requirements for producer statements are clarified with their contractors prior to the start of construction.  

Step 4 - Lodging Your application

Applications can only be entered on-line. Pre--consent meetings are encouraged for large or complex residential buildings and all commercial building projects. If you wish to make an appointment for a pre-Building Consent lodgement meeting, please contact Council on 871 5000 to make an appointment with the building team leader - processing.

Amendments: Can I change the plans?

You are able to make minor changes to your plans at any stage of the application process. 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 require a separate consent.

Any changes to a consent that has already been granted will require an amendment application. This will cost extra. To find out more on what type of alteration to an existing consent requires an amendment application see MBIE's Guide to building consent amendments.

For all printable forms related to Building Consents see the 'related pages' section at the bottom of this page.

To find out about the process that follows the lodging of an application for Building Consent, see the Process page.


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