Ever wondered about adding a car-port to your property, filling in the veranda or adding a standalone home office space? Some building projects around the house require consent, but there are also a range of things you could do without getting consent (but getting a professional in to carry out these works). We have found a range of resources for you to give you some understanding about what you can do with and without consent.
Before we go further, we must say before carrying out any renovation or building work on your property you should always check with your local council first, to ensure that what you propose doesn’t have any district planning implications (like maximum site coverage, setback requirements or permitted activities). A resource consent may be required and you must get one of these before starting any building work. If you are looking at building close to property boundaries you need to consider the Building Code and fire protection requirements. You could contact Council directly or through your architect. We would recommend chatting to the professional involved in your project to get a full understanding of the building rules.
So, what is a Resource Consent and Building Consent?
Both Resource and Building Consents give you permission from your local Council to carry out works (whether it is something you are permitted to do or a professional undertakes) on your property. Some projects are exempt from needing a Resource Consent or a Building Consent, some may need one but not the other.
Resource Consent is required to ensure the project meets the provisions of the Resource Management Act, which for buildings are usually covered by the District Plan -or in Auckland, the Unitary Plan.
Basically, you may need a Resource Consent on projects that impact on height in relation to boundary (how high and how close you can build to your boundary), the overall building envelope, or if it infringes on local rules. A resource consent could be required on anything from an extra tall fence, to a pool, to a factory.
Building Consents are required to ensure the project meets the provisions of the Building Code.
And then there are the projects that don’t require either. A really handy document that lets you know if you need a consent is http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/consents/Pages/doineedaconsent.aspx and this one lets you know what you can do without needing a consent (but still may need a professional) https://www.building.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/projects-and-consents/building-work-consent-not-required-guidance.pdf
What can I do without needing a consent?
There are a range of things you can do to your property without needing a consent, but they all have some specific rules. For example, you could build a detached ‘Granny-flat/ Home Office/ Man or Woman Cave’ type building in your backyard without consent. It would still need to meet the Building Code (correct materials etc) and it would need to have a floor area less than 10 square metres, be no more than one storey tall (3.5m above floor level), doesn’t contain sanitary facilities or potable water storage, or have sleeping or cooking facilities. If it didn’t fit with those requirements, then you would need to apply for building consent. But of course, we recommend you check the guidelines in case they have been developed since this was posted, and check with what you can do on your property under the new Unitary Plan that came into effect on 15 November 2016.
How do you know what the rules are on your property?
By looking up your property on the Unitary Plan (which came into effect on 15 Nov 2016) you will be able to see what zoning you are located in which references the applicable rules for your site. (mixed urban, single dwelling etc).
The Auckland Council website has some fantastic resources, and its all reasonably easily to access.
This is the main page for ‘building and your property’ http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/Pages/Home.aspx
And to see what the rules are in your District this page is helpful http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/DistrictRegionalPlans/Pages/Home.aspx
How do you apply for Consent?
You could apply directly to Council for one, or you could take your project through an Architect who could apply on your behalf as part of the services they provide.
The Council does offer a pre-application service which (at a small cost) allows you to discuss your project, advise on what you may need to do before it is too advanced and for clarification and guidance. More information can be found at http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/PreapplicationAdvice/Pages/PreApplicationMeetings.aspx
To apply for a Resource Consent, there is a form you need to fill in, and Auckland Council has a checklist of what you will need. Visit http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/consents/resourceconsents/Pages/applicationsassessments.aspx
Applying for a Building Consent is a different process again, and you’ll find all the ins and outs here – http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/consents/resourceconsents/Pages/applicationsassessments.aspx