Recommendations for building consent authorities


We recommend that BCAs:

  • develop, maintain and implement policies, systems and procedures for assessing minor variation applications and for granting minor variations. These should include training and guidance notes, and process flow charts for building inspectors and officials. This guidance document could form the basis for these policies and procedures
  • provide general and comprehensive information and advice to the public and consent applicants about the legislative change – for example, through newsletters, brochures, website, advice notes or fact sheets etc
  • remind building consent applicants (or their agent on their behalf) about the need to obtain prior approval from the BCA if they want to change building work after a consent has been issued
  • be prepared to take phone enquiries from people asking for advice about the minor variation process and the information they would need to provide to support a proposal for a minor variation
  • establish permanent written records (including electronic records) of decisions to grant or refuse minor variations (for example, by adding a note on the approved building consent documents and inspection notes and to the consent file)
  • assess how a proposed minor variation meets the performance requirements of the Building Code using the same criteria as the BCA would normally use to establish ‘reasonable grounds’ under section 49 of the Act
  • if new design plans or specifications include significant changes, attach any new design plans or specifications to the approved building consent documents and stamp or mark and file the original documents as superseded (some BCAs require applicants to countersign new plans)
  • consider any other applicable requirements under the District Plan, local bylaws or other legislation. The BCA should inform the applicant (or their agent on their behalf) of these other requirements where they exist
  • ensure that the final set of approved building consent plans and specifications that are used for the CCC accurately represent what has been constructed on-site. For minor variations this may require some use of ‘as-built’ plans and other information that is provided during construction.

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: