Key messages for building consent authorities

  • Provide general and comprehensive information to the public/consent applicants with advice about amendments for approved building work. This could include guidance on the quality of documentation required with an application, what process to follow, timeframes and who does what. Building consent authorities could summarise this into a one-page flow chart accompanied by key messages for consent applicants.
  • Develop and implement processes for handling minor and major variations. Treat each situation on its own merits and be prepared to operate different systems for different circumstances.
  • Remind consent applicants about the need to obtain prior approval if they want to vary building work after a consent is issued (or while it is being processed).
  • Be prepared to take calls from people asking for advice. Let them know what information they need to provide to justify their proposals. Have printed or web information available to assist.
  • If a proposed variation requires an application for amendment to the building consent, tell the applicant the appropriate form and information required.
  • Minor variations can be approved in a more informal manner, according to agreed building consent authority policies and processes. It is important to record a note of amendment on the consent records as a way of showing the building consent authority has been consulted and given their approval.
  • If the applicant submits new drawing details or specifications, attach these to the approved plans and stamp or mark and file old plans etc as superseded (some building consent authorities require applicants to countersign new plans). Mark these ones as amended.
  • Assess the applicant’s arguments about how a proposed variation meets the performance requirements of the Building Code, using the same criteria you would normally use to establish‘reasonable grounds’ under section 49 of the Building Act 2004.
  • Remember, there may be other requirements under the District Plan, local bylaws or other regulations that need to be considered. You may wish to advise the applicant of their other obligations if a proposed amendment could affect District Plan requirements.
  • Variation applications must be processed within 20 working days. A building consent authority should consider giving priority to these applications if work is now under construction.Remember, many variations are minor (see earlier examples) and can be assessed and approved without the need of a formal amendment.

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: