Skip to main content

Building and building consents

A building consent is a formal approval to undertake building work in accordance with approved plans and specifications.

The Building Act

The Building Act 2004 provides for the regulation of building work, the establishment of a licensing regime for building practitioners, and the setting of performance standards, to ensure that:

  • people who use buildings can do so safely and without endangering their health; and
  • buildings have attributes that contribute appropriately to the health, physical independence, and well-being of the people who use them; and
  • people who use a building can escape from the building if it is on fire; and
  • buildings are designed, constructed, and able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development.

To achieve this purpose, the Act requires anyone proposing to do building work to obtain Building Consent from a Building Consent Authority before commencing building work except if exempt under Schedule 1.

You can download a visual guide to the building consent process below:

We have compiled a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions that will help you to navigate the requirements of your next building project.

Key information

If you just want to gain an overview read our key information to get you started. 

A Building Consent is the formal approval issued by a BCA that certain works meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Act, Building Regulations and Building Code.

Most building work requires a Building Consent, but some minor work is exempt under the Act. Exempt work is documented in Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. This may be viewed on the web at If you would like Council to confirm whether your project is exempt under Schedule 1, you will need to complete an exemption application form and supply scale plans of the project (including a site plan where applicable). An inspector will assess your plans and give you written confirmation as to whether a consent is required.

The processing of exemption applications is charged out on an hourly basis with a minimum deposit fee and full cost recovery.

If you want to get an overview of the building consent process have a look at the MBIE Guide To Building Consent Process

Once you are ready to go, you can apply via our online building consent application platform Objective Build. 

Objective Build makes applying and managing building consents consistent, transparent, and efficient. It is a central hub for everything related to your building consent. Read about the many features and how to navigate the new system in our helpful resources 

If you need further help to lodge an online consent please contact Council and a staff member will be happy to help. Alternatively, you can still download and complete the hardcopy forms. 

If you have a question relating to your building consent or any other enquiries, please contact Council’s Duty Inspector by emailing Please include your contact details and a detailed message so we can respond efficiently.

You can make a 15-minute appointment to see a Building Inspector through our Customer Service team. Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon. When you book your appointment, please include a detailed description of what you would like to discuss.

The duty inspector phone line, 03 788 9610 will be staffed between the hours of 10:00 am to 12:00 noon to discuss your proposed activity. This line is not staffed outside of these hours, but you can leave a message.

A Project Information Memorandum (PIM) is a memorandum issued by Council under section 34 of the Act and sets out information relevant to your building work. Council does not issue a PIM unless one has specifically been requested. However, a PIM can be an extremely useful tool to help with design requirements and may reduce time and costs during the consent approval process.

A PIM must include all such information known to Council which may be relevant to the project or site including any known or potential erosion, falling debris, subsidence, slippage, inundation, or the presence of hazardous contaminants which are likely to be relevant to the design, construction or alteration of your proposed building which are known to Council.

Details of stormwater or wastewater utility systems which may relate to your project or site will also be included (where applicable).

Contact Council Planners, to determine whether your proposal complies with the District Plan. If it does not, and resource consent is required, you are strongly advised to obtain this before seeking Building Consent to avoid possible expensive changes to your proposal.

Your consent documents will identify the type and number of inspections required eg prepour, floor slab, preline plumbing etc. For more information refer to our inspections and requirements page.

It is the responsibility of the owner and/or builder to ensure that the appropriate inspections are booked when and as they are required. It is essential that these inspections are carried out so that Council can be satisfied before issuing the Code Compliance Certificate that the building work carried out complies with approved plans and specifications.

The approved building consent plans and specifications (stamped copies) must be available on site in order for the inspection to be carried out. If they are not available a further inspection may need to be carried out which will incur an additional cost.

As part of a commercial/industrial building consent, additional specialist engineering inspections may be required, as well as a requirement for producer statements to be presented to Council on job completion.

Council must decide whether to issue a code compliance certificate within two years from the date the consent was issued. If you are unable to complete the work within this timeframe you need to contact Council to request an extension of time.  There is a small fee for an extension of time.

A customer has a right to appeal or to complain about any building function the Buller District Council undertakes; have this heard and resolved. Complaints provide feedback about our service and give us the opportunity to improve our performance.

Complaints may be made in person, by phone or fax, email or in writing, and must include what the complaint is about, the address if relevant, whether a complaint has been made previously, what action you would like to happen, a contact name and preferably a contact address.

The contact details are required so a staff member can advise you about what has happened, and any action taken. Generally, anonymous complaints will not be acted upon unless they relate to possible health and safety risks.

Complaints that are in relation to possible health and safety risks will be investigated as soon as possible. We will investigate your complaint and contact you to work through the issue. Your complaint will be acknowledged within 5 days, something will then be done about your complaint within 28 working days.

All complaints will be treated in confidence (your name will not be released under any circumstances) but if they relate to a staff member or any other individual the Council will also seek and consider their input before considering any action to be taken.

Complaints are recorded in a service request system and emailed to the appropriate department unless they concern a staff member in which case the complaint will be forwarded to the relevant team leader or manager.

The Group Manager Regulatory Services has the responsibility to ensure a satisfactory resolution of complaints but if you don’t believe that your complaint has been dealt with satisfactorily the Chief Executive has the ultimate responsibility for dealing with complaints if they have not been able to be resolved.

If you are still unhappy or choose to use an alternative route to settle a matter of doubt or dispute about a building control function you may apply to MBIE for a Determination. Visit for further information on this service.

A building control function is defined as a complaint about:

• meeting statutory time frames
• lodgement or vetting of Building Consent applications
• failure to meet legislative or Building Code requirements
• issuing Compliance Schedule
• failure to provide appropriate information or advice
• processing of Building Consent applications
• inspection of work under construction
• issuing of Code Compliance Certificates
• fees and charges
• issuing of a Notice to Fix

View Buller District Council's building consent costs here