Before you apply

Ensure you read through the information below before you apply for a building consent. Because Consentium is not a territorial authority (council), there are some approvals that need to be sought from the relevant council before Consentium can issue a building consent.

Check if you need a consent

A building consent is required for a range of building projects, including new homes, alterations to existing homes and demolitions.

Some work can be undertaken without a building consent, but still needs to meet the Building Code. Before you start, check whether the planned building work needs a building consent or if the work is exempt(external link).

Restricted Building Work (RBW) and Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) scheme

Building or design work that relates to either the structure (load-bearing walls, foundations etc) or moisture penetration (roof, cladding etc) or certain fire safety aspects of homes, including small-to-medium sized apartments is classified as 'restricted building work(external link)'. This work can only be carried out by competent, appropriately licensed building practitioners(external link) and appropriate Certificate of Works (or RBW Design Memorandum) needs to be provided with the building consent application.

MultiProof consents

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment manages a MultiProof service for standard repeatable building designs. If your building design is MultiProof certified, you can use the design repeatedly nationwide without having the whole design assessed each time. You still need to apply for a building consent and comply with the local District Plan and resource consent rules. Learn more about MultiProof consents(external link).

Kāinga Ora MultiProofs are different from traditional MultiProof approvals as they are ‘performance based’. Each certificate allows for variations. Architects must ensure the MultiProof drawings are specific to the building consent application and discard any details that are not relevant.

To ensure a quality MultiProof application:

  • Ensure irrelevant details are discarded and where all details on the page are irrelevant, discard the page (and cross out the sheet on the index).
  • Only provide relevant documents listed on the MultiProof certificate.
  • If you intend to make “minor variations” to the design, please discuss this with Consentium by emailing or book a pre-application meeting.
  • As a performance based MultiProof, the specifications are generic and therefore a product selection sheet must be completed and supporting manufacturer literature provided with the application.
  • Means of compliance on the application form should only include site specific works. For example, NZBC E2 for achieving cladding clearances or NZBC C for locating the building on site away from the boundaries.
  • A Certificate of Design Work is only required for site specific design elements (e.g: foundation).

Note: It is important to consider the scope and limitation of a MultiProof approval. If a MultiProof is outside of scope for the project, for example due to the soil, wind, seismic or climate zone of the project, it cannot be considered a MultiProof, but this does not mean that the approved design details cannot be used. Please book a pre-application meeting to dicuss any variations to Multiproofs or contact

For more information, please refer to Consentium guidance on Using Multiproofs with changes [PDF, 178 KB].

Construction over two or more allotments

If your project requires construction over two or more allotments you will need to seek approval from the relevant council before the building consent can be issued (under s75(2) of the Building Act).

Please get in touch with the relevant council to complete a s77 form. Most councils will have a form available on their website. General information on Certificate imposing condition(external link) (building over two or more allotments) is also available on MBIE’s website.

Project Information Memorandum (PIM)

A Project Information Memorandum(external link) (PIM) is a memorandum issued by a territorial authority (council) under section 34 of the Building Act. The PIM must include all information known to the council that may be relevant to the project or site.

The PIM must be provided to Consentium with your building consent application. Where applicable, some important documents will be attached to the PIM and need to be provided with the building consent application to Consentium. For example:

  • Under section 36 of the Building Act 2004, a territorial authority may issue a development contribution notice attached to the PIM. Development contributions must be paid by the owner before a CCC is issued.
  • A section 37 notice will be issued if resource consent is required or if the resource consent will or may materially affect building work proposed. A building consent can be issued in cases where there is a section 37 notice, however no building work may proceed or can only proceed to the extent stated in the certificate on site.
  • Under section 39 of the Building Act 2004, a territorial authority must advise Heritage NZ Pauhere Taonga where the proposed building affects a historic place, historic area, wāhi tapu, or wāhi tapu area that has been entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero; and the territorial authority has not previously advised Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga about the building work to which that application relates.
  • Zone maps may also be attached to the PIM.

All attachments listed on or received with a PIM must be attached along with the PIM to the building consent application. Only one PIM per project/development is required.

Land subject to natural hazards

The Building Act 2004 requires an applicant to identify and address any natural hazards. Section 71 of the Building Act identifies natural hazards as:

  • 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

A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) or Project Information Memorandum (PIM) will identify hazards that the council knows about - Land subject to natural hazards(external link).

Consentium cannot issue a building consent for any building or major alteration to a building if it or the land is subject to a natural hazard, unless the applicant has mitigated the effects of the hazard and does not worsen the situation for any other property (see section 71).

If a hazard is identified, an assessment from a suitably qualified person is required assessing the effects on the land, the proposed building and any other property. The report needs to explain the extent of the hazard and confirm this is minor or less than minor in order for Consentium to process the application.

Please check with Consentium by emailing to discuss your specific project if the land is subject to a natural hazard or should be identified and discussed at pre-application meetings.

Approvals required from other authorities

Where applicable, approvals from other authorities will need to be submitted to Consentium before the building consent can be granted.

This includes:

  • Network utilities, including three waters, as required by the Building Code
  • Build over approvals required under the Building Code
  • Land use resource consent
  • Subdivision resource consent
  • Earthworks
  • Vehicle crossings

Building work may be delayed if a resource consent is required and has not been obtained. It is important to discuss the proposal and any requirements that may be necessary with the relevant council before planning/commencing work to understand what approvals are required(external link). Please ensure you have considered all relevant legislation, including the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Alterations to existing buildings

If your building 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. Refer to Section 112(1) of the Building Act 2004.

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.

Building consent applications where the work will not fully comply then section 112(2) will apply and this work falls outside of Consentium’s scope. Approval must therefore be sought from the relevant council.  For further information, refer to section 112(2)(external link) of the Building Act and Alterations to existing buildings(external link).

Change of use

A change of use is when both of the following apply:

  • The use of a building or part of a building changes from one use to another as defined in the Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005. For example, creating bedrooms in a building or parts of buildings where none existed before.
  • The new use has more onerous, or additional, Building Code requirements than the old use.

Learn more about the change of use(external link)

If the project involves a change of use, you will need to seek approval from the relevant territorial authority (council) for the change of use before Consentium can process the building consent.

A subdivision that will affect a 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.

Additional sources of information

Further information can be obtained from the following websites:

Page updated: 29 September 2022