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Building Consents

Manawatu District Council is an accredited Building Consent Authority (BCA) and manages, monitors and processes building consent applications.

What is a building consent?

A building consent is a formal approval granted by Council which confirms the proposed building work shown in the documentation you provide complies with the New Zealand Building Act 2004 and the building code.

  • Building Act - The Building Act 2004 sets out the rules for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings in New Zealand.
  • Building Code - The Building Code states how a building must perform in its intended use, rather than describing how the building must be designed and constructed.

A BCA must grant a building consent if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code would be met if the building work were properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications that accompanied the application. The granting of a building consent is conditional on enabling the building work to be inspected.

Depending on your project, you may also need to apply for resource consent before you can start work.

When you need building consent

If you’re planning any construction or alteration work, you’ll need building consent before work can begin. Building consent may be needed for tents or marquees, pools, fireplaces, solar panels and some demolition work. There are some exceptions. If in doubt, talk to us or refer to the exemption guidance below.

Exempt building work

Exempt building work is not assessed or inspected by Council. It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that work is exempt by seeking advice from a suitably competent person. For Council to log exempt building work on a public property file as a public record, you need to apply for a building work exemption or complete a record of exempt building work.

There is one exception; a discretionary exemption may be applied for where the work is considered close to that of an existing exemption but does not necessarily meet the exemption criteria in its own right.

How are building consent applications processed?

When an application is submitted to Council it is vetted by a Building Officer. This initial check is to ensure that all of the information required to begin the process has been submitted.

Once the application is accepted, it will be assessed by suitably qualified officers to ensure compliance with the Building Act 2004, Building Code, District Plan and any relevant legislative requirements.

When the processing of the Building Consent is complete and the Building Officer is satisfied on reasonable grounds that compliance has been achieved, the consent is ‘granted’.  Following payment of any outstanding fees, the Building Consent is ‘issued’ with conditions and building work may begin unless the consent has been issued with a’ Building Consent restriction’ under the Resource Management Act 1991.

How long does it take to issue a Building Consent?

The Building Act requires Council to decide whether to grant or refuse to grant a building consent within 20 working days. The 20 working day “clock” starts from the day the application is received, provided the application is complete.

If further information is required to enable Council to make a decision whether to grant or to refuse to grant the building consent, you will receive a request for further information (RFI). When a request for further information is sent, the 20 working day “clock” is stopped and the application is suspended until the requested information is provided. The “clock” is restarted when all of the required information has been received.

When the decision has been made that the building consent demonstrates compliance with the building code, when constructed, the decision can be made to “grant” the building consent (this is the formal decision part of the process). All fees including any levies must be paid prior to the issue of a building consent. Fees and charges are payable either online (bank transfer), by cheque, in person (at Manawatu District Council, Customer Service 135 Manchester Street, Feilding).

Restricted building work

‘Restricted building work’ is design or construction work that is critical to make a home structurally sound and weathertight. You must use Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) to design and carry out or supervise this work.

LBPs are registered and required to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. LBPs are licensed for the type of work they do.

Your choice of designer, builder or tradesperson is important as not all building practitioners are licensed. 

The rules about restricted building work are part of the council’s role in consenting and inspecting building work. This protects you and future owners by creating a record of who did what on your home and how it meets the building code.

Your building consent application must include the names and registration numbers of all of the LBPs involved in your project.

Under the law, each LBP who works on your home must provide a Certificate of Design Work or Record of Building Work.

For further information please refer to the MBIE website.

TIP: When you apply for building consent, or before work starts, you’ll need to tell us which licensed tradespeople you’ll be using, using the notification form below. You won’t be able to book a building inspection until you’ve provided this.

Owner-Builder exemption

Owner-Builders are able to carry out Restricted Building Work on their own home. To see if you qualify as an Owner-Builder and to learn more about the Owner-Builder Exemption please refer to the MBIE website.

Applications need to include a statutory declaration from the owner. This statutory declaration is available on the MBIE website.

Natural hazards

Some sites may be subject to a natural hazard such as, erosion, falling debris, subsidence, slippage or flooding. Please refer to the guidance document for more information.

  • Natural Hazard Guidance

Unauthorised building work

Unauthorised building work is work carried out with no evidence it was approved by Council. The information in the guide below will help you determine what to do.

For building work carried out without a building consent before the introduction of the Building Act 1991, a third party report may be placed on the property file as a public record. Council does not accept any responsibility for checking or validating these reports, nor does it accept liability for the content, as current legislation does not allow for the lawful establishment of such work.

  • Third party application form

For building work carried out from 1 July 1992, you can apply for a certificate of acceptance.


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