Resource consents and what you need to know

Posted: 1 June 2016

Land excavation on a building site
What is a resource consent and what do you need to know about working with them?
Article is relevant to LBP licence classes. Article is relevant to LBP licence classes: Brick and block laying, Carpentry, External plastering, Foundations, Roofing.

You need to have a good working-knowledge of the ‘rules’ that apply to any land you are working on, including the requirements of any resource consent.

A resource consent is authorisation from your local council to undertake certain works or activities on a piece of land. These works may affect the environment and natural surroundings (bush, land, water, sky and animals), or the people and community nearby (including streetscapes, light and noise aspects, and heritage considerations).

On a construction site, these activities may include:

  • large-scale earthworks
  • a building footprint larger or closer to a boundary than the district plan allows
  • a new dwelling located in a flood-prone or contaminated area
  • works in close proximity to a watercourse, on a steep gradient, in a natural heritage area and/or in a coastal environment.

Resource consents come with a set of conditions that reduce the risks to the environment and community. Common conditions for a residential new build may include:

  • sediment controls, such as silt fences and stabilised entrances
  • limiting on-site hours of work to prevent excessive noise in the community
  • certificates from trades such as engineers, surveyors and drainlayers
  • construction and traffic management plans.

Although you may not be the holder of the resource consent, you and your subcontractors are required to comply with its conditions while undertaking activities on-site. Failure to comply with the conditions can result in your site being shut down, fines or court action, or both.

Before you start works, obtain a copy of all consents from whoever engaged you to do the works, and ensure you understand the conditions. Contact your local council if you have any questions.

When you finish a project, make sure you review both the resource consent and building consent, and submit any required documents to council. These may include geotechnical reports, survey certificates, drainage plans or any report required under the consent.


1.  As a builder, I only need to be concerned about the building consent, not the resource consent.

  • True
  • False

2. I am required to comply with resource consents conditions.

  • True
  • False

3. My site may have a resource consent if:

  • the works breach a rule in a district or regional plan
  • large earthworks are required during the project
  • the dwelling is very close to a boundary
  • the site is in an identified hazardous or special area, or the environment may be affected from the activity on-site
  • all of the above

4. My subcontractors are required to comply with the resource consent conditions.

  • True
  • False

5. Failure to comply with resource consent conditions may result in:

  • site shut down
  • fines
  • prosecution
  • all of the above

Quiz answers

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: