Often, the biggest fear of a house project in NZ is dealing with council and obtaining building permits and consents.
However, so many people try to work against them, just because ‘Council is annoying’. The solution is to realise they’ve got a purpose, and work with them.
Our towns and cities would be an absolute mess if it wasn’t for council policing properties and ensuring that work completed not only looks and works well, but is safe and suitable for the area it’s located in.
Not all Consents and Permits below are needed for every project, but let’s take a look.
Building Permits (called Building Consents in NZ)
This is for the structure of the house. How the house is to be built. Nowadays, Councils don’t accept hand drawn details and all plans submitted must be produced on a CAD program in a suitable layout. The Building Consent shows where the house is going, the earthworks, all the council rules applicable, the site plan, floor plan, elevations, cross sections and all details involved in how the building will be constructed. A Building Consent is required on all projects.
PIM (Project Information Memorandum)
This is generally assessed at the same time as the building consent, and is Councils way of checking all the zoning, district and consent notice rules on your property. If your plans are showing any breaches with the rules they issue a Form 4 Letter detailing which rules are being breached and that you’ll need to apply for a Resource Consent to get these breaches approved. A PIM is required on all projects.
Only projects that are breaching rules (as stated in the PIM above) require a Resource Consent. The most common breaches are Earthworks volumes, Boundary Setbacks, Sunlight Rule Breaches, proximity to bush, impermeable surfaces and maximum height. (there’s loads of other rules depending on the zone and Council, and what your project is. Often we’ll submit a Resource Consent prior to the PIM as we know which rules are being breached.
Not all councils have Earthworks permits. As an example in the Far North District the Council requires an earthworks permit for any earthworks over 100m2, 50m3, 500mm high or within 3m of a boundary. These are a fairly simple application that requires plans to be submitted showing the proposed earthworks, allowing the council engineers to review the projects proposed earthworks.