Building Act 2004

Relationship between the Resource Management Act and the Building Act

Buildings may be controlled under both the Resource Management Act and the Building Act. 419  The Resource Management Act addresses the environmental effects of buildings (e.g. the height and bulk of buildings and the impact which they have on the amenities of the neighbourhood) whereas the Building Act addresses construction standards (e.g. weathertightness). In general terms, the RMA determines whether a structure may be erected on a site and the Building Act determines how a structure may be erected.

There may be some overlap between resource management controls and building controls, particularly in relation to natural hazards. In addition, building work cannot be commenced under a building consent until any required resource consent is obtained 420  and subdivision of land for a cross lease or unit title cannot be completed unless the territorial authority is satisfied any existing building complies with the building code. 421   Despite the overlap, there are separate application procedures.

Building Act and Building Code

The Building Act 2004 sets out the law for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings.

Is building consent required?

No building work may be carried out unless it is in accordance with a building consent 422  unless the building work is listed in Schedule 1 of the Building Act (for example, this schedule includes general repair, maintenance, and replacement). 423  For more information see the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s Guidance: Building work that does not require a building consent.

Building consent process

An owner must apply for a building consent before beginning building work. 424  An application for a building consent must be in the prescribed form, include any required plans, specifications and other information, and be accompanied by any fees and charges imposed by the building consent authority. 425  The application forms for your area should be available at any council office and on the council website.

An application for building consent must be granted if the building consent authority is satisfied that the provisions of the building code (see below) will be complied with if the building work is completed in accordance with the plans and specifications. 426  A building consent application must be processed within 20 working days (so long as all the correct information is provided). 427  For more information see the Department of Building and Housing’s Guide to applying for a building consent (residential buildings).

Code Compliance Certificate

Once building work carried out under a building consent is completed the owner must apply to the building consent authority for a code compliance certificate. 428  A code of compliance must be issued if the building consent authority is satisfied the building work complies with the building consent (and any other requirements). 429  The code of compliance application must be processed within 20 working days or any further period agreed between the owner and the building consent authority. 430

Building Code

All building work must comply with the building code, whether or not a building consent is required. 431  The Building Code does not prescribe how buildings should be designed or constructed, but sets minimum performance standards that all new building work must meet. It covers matters such as protection form fire, structural strength, moisture control and durability. 432

  1. Application by Christchurch International Airport Ltd [1995] NZRMA 1

  2. Section 37 Building Act 2004

  3. Section 224(f) Resource Management Act 1991

  4. Section 40 Building Act 2004

  5. Or another exception applies: see section 41 Building Act 2004

  6. Section 44 Building Act 2004

  7. Section 45 Building Act 2004

  8. Section 49 Building Act 2004

  9. Section 48 Building Act 2004

  10. Section 92 Building Act 2004

  11. Section 94 Building Act 2004

  12. Section 93 Building Act 2004

  13. Section 17 Building Act 2004


Last updated at 2:19PM on January 8, 2018