Do I need a consent?

If you're planning a construction activity, or an activity that affects the environment, you may need to apply for a building consent, resource consent, or both.

On this page you'll find information about the types of activity that require consent, how to determine if you need a consent, and why Auckland Council issues consents.

Building consents

A building consent is for a construction activity, and establishes that your planned building work complies with the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code.

If you build without a building consent, you may be liable for a fine. You may also have trouble selling or insuring the building in the future. 

We cannot issue building consents retrospectively, although you can apply for a certificate of acceptance.  

Here are some examples of work that requires a consent:

  • any structural building including new buildings, additions, alterations, accessory buildings (sheds), and re-piling
  • plumbing and drainage
  • heating (fireplaces), ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • siteworks for a building
  • retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres, or retaining walls with a building or driveway near the top
  • fences higher than 2.5 metres and any swimming pool fence
  • swimming pools
  • decks more than 1.5 metres from ground level.

Resource consents

A resource consent is for an activity that affects the environment.

The rules that set out what activities may or may not need a resource consent are laid out in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan decisions version, and the district and regional plans of the former councils.

All rules in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan decisions version have legal effect from 19 August 2016.

Prepared under the Resource Management Act, these plans control the effects of activities and development on the environment.

Auckland Council may take a range of enforcement actions against people or businesses who breach the rules set out in the plans, ranging from infringement notices to prosecution.

The kinds of activities that may require a resource consent include:

  • building a new house or making additions or alterations
  • subdividing a property
  • building or other activities in the coastal marine area
  • pruning, removing or working near a protected tree
  • building a swimming pool
  • discharging wastewater or stormwater
  • discharging pollution into the air
  • incinerating, cremating or burning outdoors.

Checking the rules

For building consents, you can find out which activities may require building consent in our building and structures or heating and insulation sections:

Alternatively, for guidance on work that doesn't require building consent, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website:

For more about which activities may require resource consent, see our types of resource consents page, or view the district and regional plans and the unitary plan:

Remember, your project may require both a building and resource consent. You will need to complete a separate application for each type of consent.

If you're undertaking building work you believe is exempt, you may still like to record it with the council using our record of exempt building work form (PDF 73KB).

To speak to someone about consents, or to report building work you think may not be consented, you can contact us on (09) 301 0101. Alternatively, view other ways to contact us.

To find out more about the services we offer to help people with their consent queries, see pre-application advice.

Protecting Auckland and Aucklanders

Auckland Council is responsible for ensuring that all significant building work is safe, durable, sustainable, and poses no danger to the health and wellbeing of property owners and users.

Under the Resource Management Act we're also required to make sure that environmental effects of these activities are managed well.

If you need to apply for a building or resource consent, you'll find lots of information and guidance on this website. You can also get advice by contacting us on (09) 301 0101 or visiting your local service centre.

Early discussions with us will help you make informed decisions about your application, and avoid unnecessary processing delays later on.

Your feedback helps us to improve our website. If you have feedback about our services (not the website), please contact us.