Defining variations and amendments


Key terms

For the purposes of this guide, a ‘variation’ refers to any proposed or agreed change to consented building work.

An ‘amendment’ means a change made to the original building consent, be it a simple alteration like a handwritten note on the consented plans by the consent applicant/builder/designer (informal), or through a formal amendment as set out in the Building Act 2004 and Building (Forms) Regulations 2004.

All amendments must be approved and recorded by the building consent authority.

Many building consent authorities have developed their own version of the prescribed form required for building consent applications (Form 2 from the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004). The Building (Forms) Regulations 2004 allow this flexibility but requires certain minimum information to be prescribed in the form. You can see the prescribed form here. 

How to assess a minor or major variation

As noted, it is very common for variations to consented building work to take place during a construction project.

The question to consider is whether the change is considered minor or major in nature.

The following explanations of ‘minor’ and ‘major’ variations are to assist building consent authorities to more effectively determine what they consider to be ‘minor’ or ‘major’ variations, and then consistently implement a policy for how they handle each of these.

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: