FAQ's

Building consents are designed to ensure the safety and livability of our city. The Building Act 2004 aims to ensure that:

  1. People who use buildings can do so safely and without endangering their health
  2. Buildings have attributes that contribute appropriately to the health, physical independence and well-being of the people who use them
  3. People who use the building can escape if it is on fire, and
  4. Buildings are designed, constructed and able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development. 

For many small projects around your property you may not need to apply for a building consent. For example, no consent is required for a fence that’s less than 2 metres high. 
 
If you’re unsure about whether you need a consent for a project, visit find out if you need a consent to take a quick questionnaire and find out. 

There are also some circumstances where you would ordinarily need a consent, but you may be able to apply for an exemption instead. In many circumstances this is a faster and less costly process. 
 
Council can decide to exempt the work under Schedule 1(2) of the Building Act. We look at these projects on a case-by-case basis where the work is:

  • carried out by suitably qualified and experienced persons with a proven record of competence in similar work, and
  • a clear understanding of the Building Act and building code is demonstrated in the application, and
  • assurances are given as to how compliance with the New Zealand Building Code will be achieved.

Refer to the Tauranga City Council website for the Building consent process.

Building Consent applications can be complex and we recommend you engage a professional to help with design work and drawings. See here for the information required when applying for a building consent. 

The consent process goes much faster when we have all the information we need. That way we don’t have to come back to you with questions and we can just get on with the job. 

This portal can help - we’ve provided free property information so you can look up crucial design considerations guidance such as wind zone, flood risk, slopes and assets.

We’ve provided checklists with every application form to help you ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes before you apply. 

The Building Act is about the safety of the occupants of a building and in the neighbouring properties, and ensures that buildings are designed, constructed and able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development. The City Plan governs what you are and aren’t allowed to do on your site and is designed for sustainable management of natural and physical resources – for example, to protect wildlife or to avoid or mitigate natural hazards. 

The Decision Tree tool is for general guidance only.  Any results do not constitute acceptance or agreement by TCC that a building consent is or is not required.  

By using the tool you acknowledge the following:

  1. It is the owner's responsibility to obtain a building consent before starting a building project, or to identify whether the work is exempt. 
  2. The information is made available in good faith. TCC makes no warranty, express or implied, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or completeness of any information in this tool and the results it provides.  
  3. If you act or rely on the information or results provided by this tool, you do so at your own risk.  TCC is not responsible or liable for any direct or indirect losses or damage in respect of any action taken as a result of using this tool or any reliance placed on the accuracy or completeness of the information or results provided by this tool by you or any other party. 

Council requires a Certificate of Title to be lodged with every application to establish an activity or carry out building work on a site. When ordering the certificate from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) it is important that all property information is requested. 

Ordering a Certificate of Title and relevant documentation from LINZ is a two stage process. First order the current title and diagram - this typically takes up to two workings days. Once you have received the certificate you may need to order the documentation for any instruments listed on the title, which also takes up to two working days.

The Certificate of Title provides the legal description of land, and the rights and restrictions that apply to the land. These rights and restrictions are listed as interests on the title although often referred to as instruments, and may include the following:

  • Consent Notices (Council Requires)
    Consent Notices are registered on the property title, alerting current and future property owners of certain obligations that must be complied with on a continuing basis by the owner, and subsequent owners. Consent notices may provide conditions for new buildings on the land such as minimum floor levels, storm water disposal or specific design conditions.
  • Easements (Council Requires)
    An easement is a right agreed between a landowner and another party (private or Council) to use a property for a particular purpose. Easements may be registered for pipelines, electricity supply transmission lines, or to establish rights of way.
  • Covenants (Council does not require)
    Covenants are often private agreements between parties that place restrictions on the property. Council does not check or enforce private covenants; these are civil matters and are enforced privately.
  • Building Line Restrictions (Council Requires)
    Building line restriction often indicates that building works are restricted within that defined area.

Select the ‘Let us know your thoughts or feedback’ link at the bottom of any page on this portal to contact us with any issues you may have. 


Last Reviewed: 11/12/2017