Application forms, fees, checklists, guides (Building Toolkit)

The Resources & Links section provides links to forms, fees, checklists, guides (in the Building Toolkit) and more information about applying for resource consent and the resource consent process.

Final inspection

From 1 April 2017 we will be changing the way we will be accepting bookings for final inspections. We will require all documents that support completion of work and compliance with the consent prior to accepting final inspection bookings.

Find out more about the Final Inspection process

Lodging your application

In most cases, your architect, designer or builder will act as your agent and lodge the building consent application on your behalf. If you’re doing it yourself you can lodge your application:

  • by delivering it in hard copy to the Council reception at 838–842 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday
  • by posting it to us at Private Bag 907, Upper Hutt 5140

Pre-application and application lodgment meetings

If you are working on a large or complex project or if you simply need some help with lodging your application we are here to help you. Please bear in mind that we are busy processing other customer’s applications and as such pre-application or lodgment meetings will need to be booked in advance through our customer services team. To book an appointment contact us by telephone on (04) 527 2169 or email us.

Tracking the progress of your application

You can track the progress of your building consent application by using the link ‘search for a building consent’ located on the right hand side of this webpage.

A building consent is the legal document which allows building work to commence and may include conditions

There is also a requirement to comply with other Acts such as the Resource Management Act 1991. Building work and building compliance in New Zealand is managed under the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code.

The Building Act

The purpose of the Building Act is to ensure buildings are safe, sanitary, have attributes that contribute to health and physical independence, have suitable means of escape from fire and are designed to be able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development. The Act also promotes the accountability of owners, designers, builders and building consent authorities who have responsibilities for ensuring that building work complies with the building code. You may obtain a copy of the Building Act 2004 or view it online at New Zealand Legislation.

Building Act 2004

The Council is a Building Consent Authority (BCA)

The Council is an accredited Building Consent Authority (BCA) under the legislation and has responsibilities for ensuring compliance with the Building Act and Building Code in Upper Hutt City.

The Building Code sets the building performance criteria

The New Zealand Building Code has objectives and sets functional requirements and performance criteria for building compliance in New Zealand. Building work must comply with the building code whether or not you require a building consent for it. You may obtain a copy of the New Zealand Building Code from or view it online at New Zealand Legislation.

The Building Code

Acceptable solutions and verification methods

Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods provide ways to establish compliance with the requirements of the Building Code. Copies of the acceptable solutions and verification methods are available on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.

Acceptable solutions and verification methods

Alternative solutions

An alternative solution is a building design, of all or part of a building that demonstrates compliance with the Building Code by a method that differs from an acceptable solution or verification method. It includes everything from a minor variation to an acceptable solution or verification method to a radically different design and construction approach. The Council encourages applicants to contact us with alternative solution proposals prior to submitting their applications. Further guidance on this subject can be found at the MBIE’s website. Alternative solutions

Restricted Building Works

Restricted building work includes design and building work relating to; primary structure or external moisture management systems of residential buildings and, fire safety systems for small to medium apartment buildings. Restricted building work can only be done by a licenced building practitioner (LBP) or by using an owner-builder exemption for the house that you live in. Further information on LBP and owner builder exemption or to search the LBP register.

Licensed building practitioners

Producer statements

A Producer Statement is a formal document prepared by a registered engineer or architect confirming their professional opinion. The Council will only accept design related producer statements from CPEng registered engineers and NZIA registered architects.

Producer statements must be comprehensively completed and:

  • clearly identify the property where the work that it covers is located;
  • clearly describe the work that it covers;
  • explicitly reference plans and specifications (including calculations);
  • state the Building Code clause or clauses which it covers;
  • state which relevant performances of the Building Code will be or have been met;
  • state what conditions of the building consent have been met (producer statements for construction review only);
  • justify any claims made by reference to Standards, manufacturer’s literature etc;
  • state any conditions or limitations on the validity of the statement;
  • where inspections are required by persons other than the BCA, list the inspections required, and identify who will perform them;
  • be dated and signed by the author; and
  • show the author’s name, qualifications, Registration number, and a statement of the author’s current professional insurance provisions.

Building Code requirements for fire design

Buildings must be designed to provide adequate protection from fire so that people can escape from fire and for the protection of other property. In recent times the building code clauses and design approaches for protection from fire have been revised (these changes largely affect commercial, industrial and complex residential buildings). For further information on fire design approaches please read the following attachment.

Requirements for Fire Design

Alterations to existing buildings

If a building consent is required for work on your house you will need to show us that the building has or will be fitted with smoke alarms in compliant positions, and that the means of escape for fire complies as nearly as reasonably practicable (ANARP).

With alterations to commercial, public use and buildings of the like the applicant must demonstrate how the entire building (not just the altered portion) complies ANARP with ‘means of escape for fire’ and access and facilities for people with disabilities’. The key element here is that it must be no worse than before and the highest level of compliance that can be reasonably considered practical will be achieved. The ANARP clause can only be used on reasonable grounds and must take into account case law and MBIE guidance. If the application does not demonstrate compliance or propose practicable upgrades (including a sacrifices vs benefits analysis for shortcomings) the Council will not have reasonable grounds to issue a building consent.

Information about means of escape from fire for existing buildings.

Converting a house to a boarding house or flats (building law considerations)

Converting a house to a boarding house

For five or less (total occupants) no change as the regulations define that as housing.
For six or more occupants – a change of use from ‘sleeping single home’ to ‘sleeping accommodation’ and:

That type of change to a building use brings on specific requirements under the building act as follows:

  1. The owner must formally notify Council’s building department of the change of use moreover it is an offence not to.
  2. For the Council to allow a change of this nature it must be satisfied that any new work complies 100% and that the following items comply as nearly as reasonable, practicable:
    *  means of escape from fire,
    *  protection of other property,
    *  sanitary facilities,
    *  structural performance,
    *  fire-rating performance, and
    *  access and facilities for persons with disabilities.

What this means in real terms is that an applicant needs to commission reports from suitably qualified practitioners that demonstrates how the building will comply in its new use. Council strongly recommends the use of practitioners that specialise in complex residential and/or commercial type applications. It is highly likely that there will be a multitude of upgrades required that will need building consent.

It is worth noting that a boarding house, accommodation building or the like has distinctively different requirements to a dwelling. Sleeping areas are usually fire separated from each other and common spaces, fire alarms systems may be required, emergency lighting and directional signage may be required, external property protection (fire rating) may need to be increased, there may be a need to upgrade/increase sanitary facilities, structural upgrades may be required.

Boarding houses, accommodation or the like require accessible features and facilities such as:

  • accessible car parking,
  • an accessible route to all accessible spaces,
  • accessible sleeping units,
  • and an accessible kitchen, laundry, toilet and shower.

Converting a house into flats

A change of use from ‘sleeping single home’ to ‘sleeping residential’ and:

That type of change to a building use brings on specific requirements under the building act as follows:

  1. The owner must formally notify Council’s building department of the change of use moreover it is an offence not to.
  2. For the Council to allow a change of this nature it must be satisfied that any new work complies 100% and that the following items comply as nearly as reasonable practicable:
    *  means of escape from fire,
    *  protection of other property,
    *  sanitary facilities,
    *  structural performance, and
    *  fire-rating performance.

Note: access and facilities for persons with disabilities does not apply to household units.

What this means in real terms is that an applicant needs to engage a suitably qualified designer to provide a building consent application that demonstrates how the building will comply in its new use. Building compliance considerations are; fire separation between flats (separate household units), acoustic separation between flats, means of escape from fire – smoke alarms and travel distances, structural stability, and ensuring that both flats have all of the facilities as required for a house-hold unit (kitchen, bathroom facilities, laundry etc etc).

Apply to a Building Consent Authority for your Building Consent

Building Consent applications can be submitted at Upper Hutt City Council or forwarded by post. For complex applications such as large commercial buildings or a radically different design approach please book an appointment with a Building Control Officer by phoning (04) 527 2169. An application must be complete and contain all necessary information before the Council can lodge it, sub-standard applications will not be accepted for processing. Links are provided in the Resources & Links section to application forms, checklists and consent fees.

For additional information please read our guide to the building consent process which covers:

  • how to apply for a building consent,
  • how a building consent is processed,
  • how building work is inspected and
  • how building work is certified

A general guide to the building consent process

Content and quality of plans and specifications

Two copies of the plans and the specifications must accompany your consent application. Further copies of specific documents are required when specialist review is needed. Plans should be no bigger than A3. Critical measurements should be written in numbers rather than expressing these using a scale drawing. Specifications and construction details should be specific, avoiding generic examples. Examples of acceptable solutions also need to be specific. Multiple solutions for one detail should not be provided as only one will be accepted.

Please ensure that you supply:

  • specifications that are project and job specific
  • plans that are project specific
  • product information that is for the project only ie not entire manuals
  • building consent application forms that have been filled in appropriately and correctly
  • a clear description of the scope of the work
  • appropriate fire reports for commercial buildings
  • Information in respect to specified systems including the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for the purpose of compliance schedule

Building Consents are required before building work commences

You must have a Building Consent and may also need a Resource Consent (if required) before you start any building work. Building Consents cannot be issued for existing buildings or building works.

Do I need a Building Consent?

Most building work will require a building consent and all building work must comply with the building code whether or not you require a building consent for it. Building work described in Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 is exempt from the requirements of a building consent. If you are unsure whether or not your proposal requires a building consent please feel free to contact the building consents officers at the Council alternatively visit the MBIE’s website.

Building work that does not require a building consent.

Frequently asked questions

Q   What wind zone is my property in?
A
  A wind zone assessment is site specific and involves factors such as the; proximity to open terrain, topography of the surrounding land and any sheltering offered by permanent obstructions at the same ground level. Property owners are advised to seek the services of a suitably qualified design practitioner for their site specific wind zone assessment.

Q   Do I need a building consent for my deck?
A
   Decks do not require a building consent if:

  • You are not able to fall more than 1.5 metres even if it collapses

Note that a safety barrier is still required under building code clause F4 – safety from falling where there is a fall of 1 metre or more.

You should consider obtaining a building consent for the deck if there is a possibility that you may wish to enclose the deck at a later stage (for a conservatory or the like).

Q   Do I need a building consent for my foundations?
A
   You should check that your deck foundations:

  • are clear of drains (call at Council to get a copy of the drainage plan for your property)

Q   Do I need a building consent for my structure:
A   You should check that your deck structure:

  • does not cover over any subfloor ventilation grilles and,
  • provides access panels for maintenance to gully traps and drainage inspection points

Q   Do I need a building consent for my stairs
A   Stairs must comply with the building code and in most cases must have handrails; Acceptable Solution D1/AS1 contains the parameters for tread, rise, landings and handrails.

Q   My soakpit is blocked, do I need a building consent to fix it?
A   This Council does not require a building consent for the maintenance or replacement of an existing soakpit.The owner of a property is responsible for ensuring that stormwater collected on his property (by buildings, other structures or paving) does not flow in a concentrated way onto neighbouring property, and so create a nuisance.

You should ensure that:

  • the soakpit is at least 3 metres away from buildings and boundaries.
  • you dig down until you reach free draining soils/river run (check with Council how far you are likely to have to dig down).
  • you check the percolation (that water does in fact drain freely away) before filling with boulders.

All other drainage work needs a Building Consent and is to be done by Registered drainlayers.

Q   Does my fence need a building consent?
A
   Fences and hoardings do not require building consents if they:

  • are no higher than 2.5 metres (measured from the low side) and
  • do not form part of a fence around a swimming pool (the fence around a swimming pool, even if it is also a boundary fence or a building, always requires a building consent).

Fences that are 2 metres in height may require resource consent, for fences 2 metres in height or greater please discuss your proposal with the Council’s planning officers.

Q   Do I need a building consent for a fireplace?
A   A building consent is required for the installation of any solid fuel fireplace whether it’s new or a replacement, in-built or free-standing unit.Wood-burners are also required to comply with Resource Management regulations for properties less than 2 hectares. The standards control discharge to the air and internal efficiency. It is unlikely that second-hand wood-burners will meet these standards.

Q   Can I build a garden shed without a building consent?
A   Small sheds do not require building consent if they:

  • are no more than 10 square metres in area, and
  • are sited no less than their own height away from other buildings and the boundaries (a 2m high shed must be sited at least 2m away from a boundary or another building, and not be placed hard into the corner of the property unless a building consent is obtained).

Such a shed may not be used for storing dangerous goods, contain cooking facilities or have any plumbing.

Q   Does my retaining wall need a building consent?
A
   Retaining walls do not require a building consent if they:

  • retain no more than 1.5 metres depth of ground (measured from the foundation) and
  • if they do not support any surcharge or additional load other than just dirt (for example a building or driveway).

Note that the ground area at the top of the retaining wall should be relatively flat and not have driveways, buildings or other retaining for a horizontal distance of 2 x the retained height in clay soils and 3 x the retained height in sandy soils

Where the wall is more than a metre high and the top of the wall is likely to be frequented by children, you will need to also erect a safety barrier at the top to comply with building code clause F4.

Q  I would like to put up a marquee, do I need a building consent?
A
  A tent/marquee does not require a building consent if:

  • it is to be erected for no more than a month and
  • it is no more than 100 square metres in area.

This exemption applies to residential use and public use, however if your project involves public use we recommend that you contact the council just in case there are any other requirements such as food handling registration and/or noise restrictions.

Q   I want to create a porch area will a building consent be required?
A
  The enclosure of a verandah, patio or the like, to form a porch, requires a building consent if the porch is more than 5 square metres in area.You should make sure that such a porch does not enclose the main window to a habitable area and so compromise the ventilation of the room, and that the porch area does not enclose a gully trap.

Q   My tap needs replacing, surely I don’t need a building consent?
A
   You can replace (with comparable items), taps, washers and ball washers in domestic systems without a building consent.All other work has to be done by qualified/registered persons and generally a building consent is required for any work other than repairs and maintenance with comparable materials in the same position.

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Last updated on 15 Mar 2017