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Building : Stage 7 - Arrange your building consents

Before work can start you'll need to get a building consent from your local council. These can sometimes take a while, so you may want to lodge your application as soon as your working drawings are finalised.

Building Consent application forms must be filled in and lodged with your plans. A fee is payable based on the value of the work. It takes a minimum of 10 working days (and often more) for larger projects and 20 working days for larger projects.

Don't even think about starting work without a consent. Even if you get away with it in the short term there will be major problems for you further down the track when you want to sell your house.

Under the New Zealand Building Code the building owner is responsible for obtaining the building consent and for obtaining a Certificate of Code Compliance when the work is completed. Owners who are building also have a clear obligation to subsequent owners to comply with the New Zealand Building Code.

It's a good idea to talk to the people at the council, and even call in a lawyer who has experience in this field.

Unforeseen circumstances and changes of heart

The fundamental rule in building is that the job always takes longer than anyone ever estimates. You'll have rainy days, sick days, delayed shipments, and contractors who are running late on other jobs (or just plain let you down).

It's also likely that there will be things you'll want to change once building has begun. Sometimes, this may be at the suggestion of your builder, sometimes it will be a second thought on your part.

Good open communication with your builder will help you decide if the variation is really necessary and how much it will cost. Remember that if it's a major variation it could require a new Building Consent

Building Inspectors

At various stages of the building process, council building inspectors will visit the site to check that the work has been done to standard and in accordance with the plans lodged with your Building Consent Application.

If your builder is working on a full contract he will organise the inspectors to come at the appropriate times, however if your builder is working on a labour only contract you will need to liaise with him to know when the work is ready for inspection and you will need to organise the inspectors yourself.

Sequence of events

  1. Excavations
  2. Foundations
  3. Concrete floors poured
  4. Framing constructed
  5. Roof on
  6. Windows fitted
  7. Exterior cladding
  8. Plumbing
  9. Wiring
  10. Insulation installed
  11. Doors fitted
  12. Interior lining installed
  13. Cabinets installed in kitchen, bathroom, laundry
  14. Tiling
  15. Further electrical and plumbing work
  16. Painting and finishing
  17. Floor coverings

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