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Building ConsentsTono whakaaetanga hangatanga

Almost all building work requires approval by us through a building consent. A building consent is a legal document, provided by Council, stating that your proposed building, plumbing, drainage and safety requirements comply with the Building Code.

Wairoa District Designation of Area for Building Emergency Management

Key messages on the designation : 

On 20 February 2023, Wairoa District Council notified the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of their decision to designate the Wairoa District, under the Building Act 2004, to manage buildings that have been affected by land instability.

The decision to designate the area of the Wairoa District will allow Wairoa District Council to manage any ongoing risks to people from buildings as a result of the event.

What is a designated area?

A designated area is an area approved by the relevant decision maker to allow a local authority to take specific actions under the Building Act to manage buildings in an emergency. The decision to designate was made by the Local CDEM Controller of Wairoa District on 20 February 2023.

The designated area extends across the entire Wairoa District. The area designated will be reviewed once Rapid Building Assessments are completed. 

This designation will be reviewed every 90 days by Wairoa District Council to confirm that the powers conferred by the designation are required to manage the response and recovery.  

The designation may remain in place until 21 February 2026, unless terminated earlier.

What will happen next?

Once a designated area is in place, the Building Act provides a number of special powers that may be exercised in respect of all buildings within the designated area.

The powers that can be used within a designated area provide a responsible person with authority to (among other things):

-        Enter buildings;

-        Complete post-event assessments;

-        Direct the evacuation of buildings;

-        Put in place measures for protecting buildings and keeping people at a safe distance;

-        Place notices and signs on buildings;

-        Direct the owners of building or land to provide information;

-        Direct works (urgent and non-urgent) to remove or reduce risks;

-        Direct works for long term use or occupation of a building.

How long will it be a designated area?

Until all buildings within the area are deemed safe, Wairoa District Council will review the designation at least every 90 days and notify the public of the outcome of this review.

A designation of an area can be in force for up to three years and can be subsequently extended one time for a further three years, during which certain powers may be exercised.

A placard has been placed on my house, does this mean I can’t go home?

Information about the different placards and what they mean is available here: North Island severe weather events 2023 | Building Performance

What happens if a building owner or resident chooses to ignore Council instructions?

The Building Act sets out a number of offences and penalties for non-compliance when the Building Act powers are in place. The responsible person who has been designated for building emergency management has the powers to make decisions about non-compliance.

The powers for offences and penalties are in sections 133BR to 133BU, and 133BW and 133BX of the Building Act.  The penalties include the ability for fines of between $5,000 and $200,000 to be imposed if a person intentionally fails to comply with the relevant provisions of the Building Act.

The responsible person will consider the appropriate compliance approach. 

Additional MBIE messages :

MBIE has activated the National Building Response Management Plan to support the response to the emergency in the Auckland Region and in preparation for Cyclone Gabrielle.

The Building Management Response Team will continue to monitor activities in the designated area and consider further support for Wairoa District. Wairoa District Council are still assessing the damage in their region.


Wairoa District Council's 90 day designation review was received and approved by MBIE. The next designation review is due 13th August 2024

Need to Talk to a Building Inspector?


We are instigating a change to create efficiencies and reduce unscheduled interruptions for our very busy building officers. We appreciate that this may be inconvenient at times but this will assist our inspectors in organising their valuable time and preparing for meetings in advance.  The WDC building team greatly appreciates your cooperation and understanding.


To arrange an Appointment with a Building Officer, please click the Request a Meeting button or call our friendly building team on 06 838 7309.

Before You Submit a Building Consent Application

In our experience, Clients that have had a meeting with our Building and/or Planning teams before submitting their application, have had their Building Consents processed faster.

The ideal time to request a meeting with the Building and/or Planning teams would be once you have your Draft Plans or a reasonable amount of Building Information together. This meeting will provide you with guidance about what to expect from your unique Building Consent application journey.

To arrange your Pre-application Meeting, please click the Request a Meeting button or call our friendly building team on 06 838 7309.


Applying For a Building Consent

For existing customers – Please be aware :

You need to re-register with your previous email address, and log into our new customer portal. All your previous account information has been retained but it will be linked to your previous email address used in the old system”. 

Council accepts online application lodgements of buildings consents. 

Save $270 on your consent fees by lodging your Building Consent application online

Apply online

A lot of information is required to apply for a Building Consent in order to ensure everything is covered. For more details read the Building Consent information sheets.

The documents you supply in your Building Consent application need to answer a lot of legal building questions required by law.

The consent process can be complex and challenging, if you are not familiar with building plans and compliance with the building code we strongly recommend you engage a design professional (an architect/draftsperson for example) to supply the required drawings and information and to apply for the building consent on your behalf.

Applying for, and being granted a Building Consent is a very complex process.

Please be aware that it can be a journey, and there is a high chance that further questions will be asked and requests for additional information during the Building Consent process.

We are happy to discuss your building consent with you at any stage of the process and recommend you book a pre-application meeting to ensure you have good quality information to submit.

Once you submit your application, it will be checked twice to ensure all the required information is provided. The initial check is to vet what is supplied and its contents, to ensure that enough quality information has been provided to progress to the next stage. Then a more detailed technical check is carried out during the processing of the consent application. Application may be declined if too much information is missing.

Why do I need a Building Consent?

If you plan to carry out any building work to a temporary or permanent, movable or immovable structure, then you need a building consent. This is to ensure that we live in a community that has buildings and structures that are safe and sound and fit for purpose.

Here are some examples of work that requires consent:

  • Any structural building including new buildings, additions, accessory buildings (sheds) and re-piling.
  • Plumbing and drainage.
  • Demolition or relocations of existing structures.
  • Heating (fireplaces)
  • Siteworks for building
  • Retaining walls higher than 1.5m or with a driveway near the top.
  • Fences higher than 2.5m and any swimming pool fence.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Decks more than 1.5 from ground level.

Regardless, all building work must comply with the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code. The Act and the Code are legally binding and if you breach them or don't obtain a building consent you may face penalties.


Building Consent conditions

Conditions may be imposed on the building consent to ensure compliance with certain requirements of the Building Act. Conditions may apply to some aspects of work, and a list of inspection requirements will be included.

Once a Building Consent has been issued, your Building work must commence within 12 months.

Once the building works are complete you can submit an Application for Code Compliance Certificate. This is required within or on the 2 year anniversary date on which the building consent for the building work was granted.  It is important to note that a Building Consent Authority must decide whether to issue a code compliance certificate for building work within 20 working days.

If more time is required an Extension of Time application can be made free of charge. This may be agreed between the owner and the Building Consent Authority.


What will it cost?

A Building Consent is never clear cut and we cannot give you a quote.

A fireplace consent is relatively straight forward and has set Consent fees (see our website for these fees), but building a garage, shed, small or large house are not necessarily that easy.
Depending on what you are building and the estimated value of that build, the deposit required at time of submission, will be $600 or $1,500. All commercial builds will require a deposit of $1,500.
The invoices will depend on many factors, but in our experience they have ranged between (plus deposit):

  • Fireplace Consents              $590 - $860 (Flat fee – depends on free stand/in-built and your location)
  • Basic Shed Consents           $800 - $4,500 (Plus deposit)
  • Average 3 bedroom House  $4,000 - $8,000 (Plus deposit)

But we have had Consent Invoices that are much higher than this. The final invoice might be far greater or less, but we hope this allows you to begin your budgeting process. 

Detailed information about Building Control Fees and Charges



Exemptions from a Building Consent

Section 41 and the first schedule of the Building Act 2004 describes work which may be carried out without a consent. It is regularly updated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) with a wide range of building work being exempted. The document that outlines the full list of exempt building work can be found at website which is approved by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment or you can check with council.

An exemption does not allow for building work if that work would be in breach of any other Act e.g. exempt work may still require planning approval.

Note: all exempt work is to comply with the Building Code. View New Zealand Legislation website


Appeal a building consent decision

To make a formal complaint to WDC

If you are unhappy with our decision on your consent or your problem has not been resolved, you can make a formal complaint. This should be made in the first instance, in writing, to the Wairoa District Council.

How to make a complaint to WDC

You can contact us by phone, in person or in writing.

Phone: 06 838 7309 

Post: Building Compliance Team
Wairoa District Council
PO Box 54
Wairoa 4160
New Zealand

What to include: 

 When making a formal complaint, please include:

  • your first and last name
  • your best contact phone number
  • your address
  • a detailed description of your compliant
  • any Council reference numbers you have in relation to your problem, such as your service request number
  • names of any Council staff you have been dealing with
  • copies of any relevant letters, photographs or emails.

What happens next: 

 We will reply within 1 working day to let you know that your compliant has been received. We aim to respond with the next steps within 5 working days.


Complain through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

If your complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction through our complaints process, then you can:

Apply for a determination

If no one can agree on whether building work complies with the Building Code or we make a decision you disagree with, you may be able to apply for a determination. A determination is a legally binding ruling made by MBIE.

How a determination is reached

Determinations can look at whether a building or building work complies with the Building Code. The determination can apply to building work that is planned, partly done or complete. MBIE will take a detailed look at the specific matter and make a legally binding decision. The law that covers determinations is set out in the Building Act 2004 (sections 176-190).

A determination can be appealed to the District Court.

Find out more about determinations see the information about determinations on the MBIE website.

Building Guide

Undertaking a building project is a challenging time and can be immensely enjoyable or thoroughly frustrating.

One useful tool to have in your back pocket while you go through your building project is the Building Guide.

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Information Sheets

Application Forms


For more information please contact the Wairoa District Council.

+64 6 838 7309
97-103 Queen Street, Wairoa 4108
PO Box 54, Wairoa 4160


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