1. Applying for a building consent

A building consent allows a landowner to carry out building projects in accordance with the consent and associated plans and specifications.

Required forms and information

An application for a building consent must be submitted on the prescribed form (Form F002 ) (PDF File, 512.6KB), in accordance with the Building Act 2004 and building regulations. 

Information required:

We must decide whether or not to grant a building consent within 20 working days (subject to any further information requests) from receipt of all required information.

You can make your application via

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a Project Information Memorandum?

Although not mandatory, we strongly recommend that applicants obtain a Project Information Memorandum (PIM) from us, as well as the relevant district or city council, before submitting a building consent application.

Information contained in these PIMs may be critical in the processing of the building consent, such as:

  • Details of any stormwater systems which relate the proposal
  • Potential natural hazards
  • Any land classifications imposed on the property by organisations such as the Department of Conservation or the Historic Places Trust
  • Any resource consents that already apply to the property

If applications are made without a PIM, it is likely that further information will be required. This can result in increased processing cost and timeframe.

An applicant can apply for PIMs at any time and should consider this information during the building design. An application for a PIM must be submitted on the prescribed form (Form F002 ) (PDF File, 512.6KB), in accordance with the Building Act 2004 and building regulations.

What if my land is affected by a natural hazard?

A natural hazard under the Building Act 2004 means land affected by erosion, falling debris, subsidence, inundation, and slippage.

Where a PIM identifies that the proposed building work may be affected by a natural hazard, the applicant will be made aware that the application is being considered under s72 Building Act 2004.

Should the hazard exist after the proposed work has been completed, this may be registered against their title.

Do I need a Producer Statement?

Producer statements have no specific status under the Building Act 2004. However, they can be used as a mechanism for helping establish compliance with the Act and the Building Code.

We and our external consultants must have confidence that the engineers involved in designing a large dam have the appropriate experience and competence in their field. Producer statements are an indication of these skills and each statement will be assessed to its accuracy and content.

How much will it cost?

The Building Act 2004 provides that we may recover the costs of performing its functions under the Act.

Accordingly, the applicant must meet the costs incurred by us in processing the building consent application.

The cost of processing a building consent is generally time-based, so the quality of the information provided with your application will affect the overall fees (i.e. poor quality drawings and details will take longer to process and will cost more). Costs include:

  • Our time in processing the application
  • Our actual costs in engaging external contractors with the required technical expertise to assist with processing of the application
  • The building levy collected by us on behalf of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
  • The building research levy collected by us on behalf of the BRANZ
All costs must be paid before the building consent is issued and may be paid using internet banking, credit card and in person.

Costs are set out in on pages 21–22 of our Fees and Charges Policy (PDF file, 468KB).

What are the consent processing time frames?

The time frames for the building consent process are:

  • 20 working days for us to grant or refuse a building consent (subject to any further information requests)
  • 20 working days for us to grant or refuse a code compliance certificate (subject to any further information requests)
  • 12 months for the applicant to start building work from the date the consent was issued (unless this time frame is extended by mutual agreement)
  • A code compliance certificate must be applied for as soon as practical after building work is completed.  If Environment Canterbury does not receive an application for a code compliance certificate within 24 months of the building consent being granted Environment Canterbury must made a decision whether to issue or not the code compliance certificate.  A request for an extension to the 24 month time frame can be made in writing to the Building Control Authority Co-ordinator.
Can I start building work on my dam before I have all of the necessary consents?

No building work may start without building, subdivision or resource consent; however, there are some situations where building work may proceed after obtaining permission from us.

This must be discussed with our BCA co-ordinator, who will need to see details of your plans prior to any decision-making.

What do I do if work has been carried out without a building consent?

We may issue a certificate of acceptance in relation to work carried out that should have had a building consent. For example, a certificate of acceptance may be used for certification of work that has been carried out urgently because of safety issues, and where there was no time to obtain a consent because of that emergency.

An application for a certificate of acceptance must be submitted on the prescribed form (Form F008 ).

Where do I go to search for a title on a property?

A certificate of title can be obtained from Land Information New Zealand. You can access copies of these and other records through a variety of methods which are explained on their website at www.linz.govt.nz.

You may also be able to get a certificate of a title from your lawyer or engineer.

Can I apply for an exemption to a building consent?

A discretionary exemption for a building consent may be possible under Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 where there is little or no value to be added by Environment Canterbury processing a building consent application.  An exemption request will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be granted where Environment Canterbury considers that:

(a) The completed building work is likely to comply with the building code; or

(b) If the completed building work does not comply with the building code, it is unlikely to endanger people or building, whether on the same land or other property. 

Download and print building consent application forms

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Environment Canterbury and contractors engaged to undertake regulatory review work are not able to provide design or technical advice. Dam owners and building consent applicants should seek their own technical advice. This may include obtaining a peer review of the proposed design of the dam. The applicant has the responsibility to make sure enough detail is provided in the plan of the proposed building work, the specifications and other documentation.