Making changes to your plans

If you want to change your plans before or during construction, you need to let your council know. They can tell you what you need to do, and whether you need to amend or vary your building consent.

The approved building consent is the foundation document of most building work. If you want to change it, you need to follow the correct process. That way, your consent documentation will be an accurate reflection of what has actually been built, and your project can legally be signed off as complete. The building consent demonstrates how the building meets the Building Code, both now and for any future building users or owners.

You need to get the right approvals before making changes to avoid potentially serious consequences. Otherwise your building might be:

  • unsafe or unhealthy
  • non-compliant with the Building Code.

At the end of the build the council might not issue a code compliance certificate. This might cause problems when you want to sell. The council can also require you to fix the non-compliant work, and even pay a penalty.

There is now greater clarity around considering and approving amendments to building consents, including distinguishing between 'minor' and 'major' variations to consented building work.

If you're a designer, builder or council, read our guidance on minor variations to understand in more detail.

You may also find our guidance on amendments and product substitution helpful. The guidance on amendments was written just prior to 2009 changes to the legislation and you should talk to your council if you need clarification.

Councils need to assess all proposed changes to previously consented building work, regardless of the size. They will then decide the best way to approve the change. Whatever is finally agreed needs to be consistent with the approved building consent documentation and recorded in it.

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: