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Shaun Peacock: Building consents - a FAQ

Thursday, March 07, 2019


In light of recent smack-down of unconsented work being carried out in Auckland, we thought it would be a great opportunity for all of us to learn about building consents, CCCs, inspections and all that fun stuff. Big thank you to Shaun Peacock and the team at Duncan King Law for providing excellent answers to these FAQs. 


What is a Building Consent?

A Building Consent is the initial approval from Council to construct, alter or demolish a building and confirmation that your plans comply with the Building Code (which is New Zealand’s national standard for how buildings should be built and operated).

Do I need a Building Consent?

If you are carrying out construction, alteration, demolition, or removal work that affects any building in New Zealand and which was commenced after 1 January 1992, then the default position is that you need a Building Consent. There are a number of exceptions, which are set out in Schedule 2 of the Building Act 2004.

What is the process after a building consent is granted?

As you carry out the work, Council will carry out a number of inspections of the property. You and your builder will need to provide producer statements, electrical certificates and other reports for various elements of the building work.

You should be aware that most building agreements provide that the builder must only make “reasonable efforts” to obtain producer statements from subcontractors.

What is a Code Compliance Certificate?

A Code Compliance Certificate is Council’s confirmation that the building actually carried out is in accordance with the Building Code. It requires a final inspection by Council and a number of other documents.

What happens if the Building Consent has expired?

You have five years from when Building Consent is granted to complete the work and obtain a Code Compliance Certificate. You may be able to extend this period.

After 5 years, Council imposes additional requirements, such as carrying out durability assessments of the whole dwelling.

When dealing with historical work where Council processes have not been completed it can pay to involve a consultant. These are usually former developers or Council staff who are familiar with the process and with the people, which can make the process run much more smoothly. For example, recently we worked with an estate which had not obtained a Code Compliance Certificate, and additionally, the work actually carried out differed from that in the building consent, though this work had been inspected by Council inspectors and there were no issues with the quality of the work. The consultant was able to procure Council to retroactively vary the Building Consent and grant a Code Compliance Certificate in approximately 3 months.

What about work that was done without a building consent?

If a Building Consent has not been obtained and the work was commenced after 1 January 1992, you should apply for a Certificate of Acceptance. Council will inspect the work and determine whether it complies with building standards. It may also be helpful to involve a consultant.

What about worked commenced before 1 January 1992?

Prior to that date, you should have obtained a building permit, which did not require a Code Compliance Certificate to issue as evidence that the work is compliant. However, if a building permit was not obtained, you can obtain a third-party inspection report, called a Safe and Sanitary Report, which confirms that the work is safe and habitable.

If a Safe and Sanitary report is obtained and a copy is accepted onto the Council file, Council has a policy of taking no further action, unless it becomes aware that there is a safety issue.

Who can carry out Building Work?

Building Work must be supervised by a Licenced Building Practitioner. You can check if your builder is an LBP here.

What do I do if I have a problem with Building Work?

The Building Practitioners Board, which licenses building practitioners, disciplines Building Practitioners, and can impose fines and suspend or cancel a practitioner’s licence but cannot order compensation.

The Building Disputes Tribunal hears disputes relating to quality and payment disputes. It can order compensation and specific performance. The Tribunal has limited timeframes once the claim is commenced of approximately 12 weeks from the initial notice of proceeding to the adjudicator issuing their decision, which is beneficial from a speedy resolution perspective, but it requires that you be organised before the claim commences.





This is a guest blog submission from APIA member Shaun Peacock. Guest submissions are a way for APIA members to share their views and experiences with each other and do not necessarily reflect the views and position of the APIA.  The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matters and should not be relied upon for that purpose. 


Shaun Peacock


Campbell is a Solicitor at Duncan King Law, and acts for clients on a broad range of commercial and property matters, from conveyancing and subdivisions to commercial leases and business transactions. 




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