Regulation 16 – Filing applications for building consents

Last updated: 10 April 2024

Building consent authorities must comply with the record keeping requirements of the Building Act 2004 and other relevant legislation.

The objective of the regulation

The objective of regulation 16 of the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) is to ensure that all building consent authorities (BCAs) comply with the record keeping requirements of the Building Act 2004 (the Act) and keep relevant information in a way that ensures it is accessible for those who wish to access and use it. This is important as records provide an audit trail of how a BCA processed a building consent application, including the information gathered on the building and building work, the decisions made and the reasons for such decisions.

Regulation 16 is available on the Legislation website.

Regulation 16 must be read in conjunction with regulations 5 and 6.

The policies and procedures required by regulation 16 must be written and/or electronic, and appropriate for purpose.

A BCA must ensure that the policies, procedures and system required by regulation 16 are consistently and effectively implemented. BCAs must ensure they record the decisions they make under regulation 16, including the reasons for the decisions, as well as the outcomes.

MBIE's guidance on meeting the accreditation requirement

Checklist for regulation 16 outlines the minimum criteria for compliance.

A BCA may demonstrate compliance with regulation 16 by providing an independent assessment of its own, or parent organisation's, compliance with the Information and Records Management Standard (the IRMS) that has been completed within 12 months of its accreditation assessment. If a BCA’s parent organisation’s system is used otherwise to comply with this accreditation requirement, it will need to be accessible to the accreditation team for the purposes of an accreditation assessment.

The requirements of regulation 16 are linked to requirements in the Act and other building regulations including:

  • section 216 and a territorial authority’s requirement to keep reasonably available any information
  • section 238 and a private BCA’s obligation to provide a territorial authority with information.

Territorial and regional authorities, and council-controlled BCAs, also have information retention and storage requirements under the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, the Privacy Act 1993 and the Public Records Act 2005. Compliance with this accreditation requirement should assist a council-controlled BCA in complying with other legislative requirements and vice versa.

Recording a unique file number

To comply with regulation 16(1) all BCAs must have a system for allocating each and every complete building consent application a unique file number. The system may be:

  • manual or automatic – with the file number allocated by the staff member receiving the building consent application or produced automatically by an online consenting system
  • paper-based or electronic – with the file number recorded in hard copy on a paper-based form or electronically including in a work flow management system or online consenting system.

Given the importance of record-keeping to ensure up-to-date and comprehensive building and property files are maintained, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) strongly recommends that a council-controlled BCA links a building consent application to a building’s property file.

Information relevant to an application

The following information issued or received by a BCA in respect of a building or building consent is the minimum relevant information that must be stored on file, where available:

  • all plans and specifications received as part of a building consent
  • project information memoranda
  • building consents
  • code compliance certificates
  • compliance schedules
  • if applicable, the specified intended life of the building
  • statutory declarations provided by an owner-builder
  • records of work and certificates of work provided under section 45(2) or 88(1)(a) of the Act
  • building warrants of fitness
  • energy work certificates
  • notices to fix
  • any orders issued by the District Court under section 126 of the Act
  • records of any information on any land or building received by the BCA from a statutory authority
  • details about any levy collected under section 53 of the Act
  • a summary of any complaints laid in relation to the building, and the BCA’s response
  • any other relevant records that relate to the information above.

Building consent applications processed by or for a third party

If a building consent is processed or decided by a third party (acting as an agent), a BCA must also request and store the legal name and address for service of the third party. If a BCA performs a building control function for another BCA, it must keep records of all work it performs using its own policies, procedures and systems (regardless of how liability may be apportioned under any arrangement).

Storing additional information

A BCA can store information additional to that listed above. This could include information about a decision or activity by territorial or regional authorities of relevance to a building consent or building. This may include documents such as certificates of acceptance, certificates for public use or information on any waivers or modifications. It may also include owner notifications of any exempt building work that may have been undertaken on a building or property.

A BCA may also identify other information such as:

  • building consent processing check sheets, requests for additional information, superseded plans
  • building consent conditions
  • memoranda issued by New Zealand Fire Service Commission (where applicable)
  • approval from Heritage New Zealand (where applicable)
  • information on building material filed with the application.

Ensuring relevant information is readily accessible and retrievable, and stored securely

To comply with regulation 16(2)(b) and (c), a BCA should be able to demonstrate compliance with the relevant requirements of the IRMS. The IRMS is mandatory for almost all public agencies under the Public Records Act 2005 – this includes council-controlled BCAs.

For the purposes of accreditation, a BCA must have a system providing for records to be:

  • readily accessible and retrievable in a way that broadly complies with principles of the IRMS. At minimum, this requires a BCA to analyse and meet user needs for access to records, through assessing the value and level of use of records, and providing users with any hardware, software, space, specialist technical equipment, or any other resources required to access records.
  • stored securely in a way that broadly complies with principles of the IRMS. At minimum, this requires a BCA to assess risks to both physical and digital records, prioritise the assessment of higher-value and fragile records and store them appropriately.

A BCA may store records in hard copy, paper-based form or electronically. Where records are stored in multiple forms, the system must enable them to be linked to facilitate retrieval of the complete record.

You can read the following on the Legislation website:

Complete application definition can be found in the glossary.

The Information and Records Management Standard for the New Zealand Public Sector is available on the New Zealand Archives website.

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: