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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.

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.

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.

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


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