Apply for building consent

Last updated: 6 December 2022

A building consent is an approval to undertake building work in accordance with the approved plans and specifications.

All building work needs to comply with the Building Code, and in most cases, you will need a building consent before you can start building.

Some building work is exempt from the requirement to obtain a building consent, you can find out more about exempt work here: 

Exempt building work guidance

A building project starts when the decision to build is made. It is important to understand early what requirements need to be met that might inform your design decisions.

Prepare your building consent application and include all required information, documentation and fees. Check the council’s website for any additional information that they might require, including familiarising yourself with the council’s electronic submission system.

A quality building consent application will avoid delays and reduces costs.

Step-by-step guide to the building consent process

This step-by-step guide shows the building consent process from the pre-application stage, when site specific information is gathered, to when the code compliance certificate is issued. It will support you to understand early what requirements need to be met to help inform your design decisions. 

Step by step guide - The building consent process[PDF 787 KB]

Find out about each step in the building process. Diagram suitable for printing on A3 paper size.

Building Consent Guidance 

This guide covers the building consent process for applications for new residential building work, however the principles can be applied to all building consent applications, including those for large and/or complex commercial projects. 

Building Consent Guidance [PDF 2 MB]

Guide to applying for a building consent and code compliance certificate.

Who is this guide for? 

This guidance is for:

  • Homeowners who wish to understand the process involved in applying for a building consent.
  • Building practitioners (designers, builders, developers, engineers and architects) who are applying for a building consent application on behalf of the owner. 

Councils are also required to provide information to enable customers and applicants to navigate the steps and key requirements of the building consent process, and to make good consent applications. It is a good practice to check your local council’s website before you submit your application.

Make a good application 

Your building consent application should be clear, correct and complete, and include a suitable level of detail.

Standard order of documents checklist

This standard order of documents checklist can be used for residential dwellings and helps to ensure your building consent application is well organised and clearly set out. 

Standard order of documents checklist for building consent applications

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: