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What is a consent and do you need one?

What is a resource consent?

A resource consent is written approval from us to carry out a project that has an impact on the environment, or could affect other people.

A resource consent may come with conditions that help manage the effects of your project.

For example, if you remove trees or vegetation to build your house, you may have a resource consent condition that requires you to plant some native trees after building is finished.

When you need to apply for a resource consent

Examples of situations where you may need to apply for a resource consent are:

  • building a house
  • developing or subdividing land
  • retail, commercial or industrial activities
  • earthworks
  • taking or damming of water
  • discharging contaminants into water, soil or air
  • using or occupying coastal space.

What is a building consent?

A building consent is written approval from us to carry out specific building work on a specific site, which must comply with current regulations. It ensures that the proposed work is safe, durable and doesn’t endanger the health and safety of anyone using the building.

A building consent is granted if we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building code provisions would be met if the work is properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications in the application.

Building work that is considered low risk may not need consent under the Building Act. See the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website for information on building work that does not require a building consent.

For building work that does need a consent, but that is minor and low risk, we can consider it for exemption from needing a building consent.

You should know

All building work in New Zealand must comply with the Building Code, and many projects will need a building consent.

Building consents cannot be issued after the work is completed. You have to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance in these circumstances.

You may get an infringement notice for carrying out building work without a building consent, even if you get a Certificate of Acceptance.

​How to check if you need a consent

There are several ways you can check if you need a consent.

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