What Renovations Need Building Consent In Auckland?

If you’re thinking of renovating and have been doing some research, then there no doubt that the term “building consent” has come up once or twice. Most people would try to avoid renovations that require building consent, and builders/renovation companies are guilty of this as well for a number of reasons such as:

  • It’s too complicated dealing with the council
  • It might uncover more things that need to be done
  • Building consent related works sounds too expensive
  • It will create unnecessary issues during the project
  • It will create unnecessary delay
  • And the list goes on

However, it’s not all true – we will generally weigh up both sides (with and without consent) and draft up an action plan with scope of works that reflect both. The deciding factor really comes down to matching the scope of works (client’s requirements) with their budget; and whether that requires building consent or not – we manage the process for the client.

Building Consent applications needs to be included project documentation and specifications which identify the compliance path used for each aspect of building performance, with evidence to show how that will be achieved.

If you are renovating, always do your own research into what requires consent – you may find that different builders have different opinions on the situation, and may make suggestions that favour them.

We suggest looking at the following Government sites for up to date information:

  • Building.govt.nz
  • Aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
  • And legislation.govt.nz

So, what renovations require building consent?

Have a look at the list below (put together by the team at lodge.co.nz)

Renovation Consent needed? Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) needed?
KITCHEN
New cabinetry No No
New sink and tapware No Only if you’re modifying the set up of the plumbing and/or drainage.
Stove/cooktop install No Yes, regardless of whether you use gas or electricity.
New rangehood install No Yes (electrician)
Removing a wall to modify kitchen size Yes Yes
New counter and/or splashback No No
Re-flooring kitchen No No
BATHROOM
New sink and tapware No Only if you’re modifying the set up of the plumbing and/or drainage.
Shower/bath install (including re-tiling shower) No Only if you’re modifying the set up of the plumbing and/or drainage.
Removing a wall to modify bathroom size Yes Yes
Installing new vanity and cabinets No No
Re-flooring bathroom No No
Installing an extractor fan and/or heat lamp No Yes (electrician)
INTERIOR
Repainting No No
Adding new lights No No
Adding new powerpoints No Yes
Recarpeting/flooring No No, but we recommend using a professional to install it
Re-gibbing walls No, unless they are part of an exterior wall No
Insulating interior walls No No
Insulation exterior facing walls Yes Yes
Removing/adding a wall to modify room size Yes, if a structural wall is being removed Yes
Adding a new room Yes Yes
Installing a woodburner or air-conditioning system Yes Yes
EXTERIOR
Re-roof home Yes Yes
Replace external cladding Yes Yes
Repainting cladding No No, but you will need to use scaffolding on anything high enough to present a fall risk
Add a deck Yes, if over 1.5m high Yes, if over 1.5m high
Replace fence No, unless over 2.5m high No, unless over 2.5m high
New driveway No, unless it differs from the council blueprints No
Building an ancillary dwelling (i.e. a granny flat) Yes Yes
Converting a garage into a room Yes Yes
New shed Yes, if greater than 10m2 in floor area Yes, if greater than 10m2 in floor area
Swimming pool and fence Yes Yes
Retaining wall No, unless higher than 1.5m No, unless higher than 1.5m
Garden trellis No, unless over 2.5m high No
Exterior home maintenance (e.g. replacing a weatherboard or piece of spouting) No No

 

How much does it cost for the building consent?

Check out the table below from Auckland City Council, it is subject to change so please check it directly from their website for the most up to date figures. We’ve put a list of references at the end of this article to guide you to the right page. Please note that all prices at inclusive of GST.

Pre-application meetings

Description Fee
Building consent – standard pre-application meeting $311 (fixed fee)
Building consent – complex pre-application meeting ​$311 processing deposit (additional charges by the hour)
Fire engineering brief meeting ​$311 (limited to 1 hour, hourly rates apply thereafter)

Building applications

Description Processing deposit Inspection deposit Total deposit
Project value up to $1999 $500 $288 $788
Project value $2000 to $4999 $840 $432 $1272
Project value $5000 to $19,999 $1100 $576 $1676
Project value $20,000 to $99,999 $1925 $720 $2645
Project value $100,000 to $499,999 $2775 $1440 $4215
Project value over $500,000 $4620 $1728 $6348

 

Code compliance certificate

Description Total deposit
Project value up to $19,999 $152
Project value $20,000 to $99,999 $355
Project value $100,000 to $499,999 $533
Project value $500,000 and over $853

 

Do you need a building consent for a kitchen and/or bathroom renovation?

When you’re renovating a kitchen or bathroom, whether you need to apply for building consent or not can be a bit tricky, and it’s not always so clear – here are some examples of what may require consent, and what doesn’t.

You are unlikely to require a building consent to:

  • re-position or replace sanitary fixtures (e.g. a bath, bidet, wash hand basin, shower or toilet pan) within an existing home bathroom
  • move a toilet pan from a toilet compartment into an adjacent existing bathroom
  • remodel an existing kitchen within the same space, leaving the kitchen sink in the same position
  • move an existing home laundry tub to a new location to an adjacent room
  • relocate or remove an existing hose tap
  • remove a bath with a shower over it, and replace it with a new proprietary shower enclosure and a new bath within the existing bathroom space.

You will need a building consent to:

  • install a tiled wet area shower – as it involves critical building work that is not sanitary plumbing, such as carpentry and installing waterproof membranes
  • move a vanity, bath, and shower within an apartment of a multi-level building – as it may involve new penetrations through a fire separation
  • add a shower, hand basin, and toilet to an ensuite – as these sanitary fixtures are additional to those already existing in the building.

Where sanitary plumbing work could adversely affect the performance of structural elements, such as floor joists or wall framing, this work may require a building consent. You are required to obtain a building consent if the work involves adding an additional sanitary fixture to your house – for example, a new bath, new toilet – where there was not one previously.

 

A building consent is not required for a range of general building repairs, maintenance, and replacement of parts

This information can be found on building.govt.nz – you’ll also find many specific examples on the website that clarifies what is determined as “general” repair, maintenance or replacement.

What the law says

Subject to section 42A of the Building Act, Schedule 1 exempts the following from a building consent:

  1. The repair and maintenance of any component or assembly incorporated in or associated with a building, provided that comparable materials are used.2. Replacement of any component or assembly incorporated in or associated with a building, provided that: (a) a comparable component or assembly is used; and (b) the replacement is in the same position.3. However, subclauses (1) and (2) do not include the following building work:(a) complete or substantial replacement of a specified system; or(b) complete or substantial replacement of any component or assembly contributing to the building’s structural behaviour or fire-safety properties; or(c) repair or replacement (other than maintenance) of any component or assembly that has failed to satisfy the provisions of the building code for durability, for example, through a failure to comply with the external moisture requirements of the building code; or(d) sanitary plumbing or drainlaying under the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006.

Understanding Consent Requirements for Bathroom Renovations in NZ

When you’re planning a bathroom renovation in New Zealand, it’s crucial to determine whether you need consent. According to the guidelines provided by Building.govt.nz and Auckland Council, not all bathroom renovations require consent, but there are specific instances where it is mandatory.

When You Don’t Need Consent

For minor renovations or maintenance that doesn’t affect the structure or weathertightness of your home, you typically don’t need consent. Examples include:

  • Replacing old fixtures with new ones (like-for-like replacements).
  • Painting, tiling, and other cosmetic changes.
  • Installing new cabinetry or vanities, provided they don’t require plumbing changes.

When You Do Need Consent

However, certain renovations do require building consent. These include:

  • Structural Changes: If you’re moving walls or altering the structure of your home.
  • Plumbing Work: Significant changes to the plumbing system, such as moving a toilet, installing new pipes, or modifying drainage systems.
  • Waterproofing: Ensuring the bathroom is properly waterproofed is critical. If your renovation impacts the waterproofing layer, you may need consent.
  • Adding Windows or Doors: Changes to the exterior that affect weathertightness

So, do you need consent to renovate your bathroom in NZ? It depends on the scope of your project. For minor cosmetic changes, you’re likely in the clear. However, for more substantial renovations involving structural changes, plumbing, or waterproofing, obtaining the proper consents is essential. Always check with your local council to get specific guidance tailored to your situation.

 

Do I Need Consent to Renovate Kitchen NZ?

When planning a kitchen renovation in New Zealand, it’s important to determine whether you need building consent. The guidelines from Building.govt.nz and Auckland Council help clarify this.

When You Don’t Need Consent

For minor kitchen renovations that don’t affect the structure or weathertightness of your home, you typically don’t need consent. These include:

  • Replacing existing cabinets, countertops, and appliances without altering their locations.
  • Painting, tiling, and other non-structural cosmetic changes.
  • Installing new fixtures (sinks, taps) in the same positions.

When You Do Need Consent

However, certain types of renovations do require consent. These are:

  • Structural Changes: Moving or removing walls, adding windows, or making changes that affect the structure of your home.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Work: Significant changes to plumbing or electrical systems, such as installing new pipes, relocating the sink, or adding new electrical outlets.
  • Ventilation and Gas Fitting: Installing or altering ventilation systems, or making changes involving gas appliances.
  • Waterproofing: If the renovation impacts areas that require waterproofing, such as around sinks or dishwashers.

So, do you need consent to renovate your kitchen in NZ? It largely depends on the scope of your project. Minor cosmetic updates typically don’t need consent, but significant structural, plumbing, electrical, or waterproofing changes do. Always check with your local council to get precise guidance for your specific renovation.

 

What renovations require resource consent?

A resource consent is completely different to a building consent, a resource consent is a formal approval from your council to do something that they haven’t clearly identified in their unitary plan as either permitted or prohibited. Also keep in mind that the unitary plan differs for different zones around Auckland – so make sure you know what rules apply in your zone. Normally your architect/planner will check this as part of their feasibility study, and this is done prior to drafting plans.

You’ll need to apply for resource consent if your renovation includes things like:

  • using or subdividing land
  • taking water
  • discharging contaminants in water, soil or air
  • using or occupying coastal space.

If a proposal/scope of works sits within the Building Controls in the District or Unitary Plan, Resource Consent will often not be necessary.  You can check Auckland’s Unitary Plan here: https://unitaryplanmaps.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/upviewer/ – but again, we suggest talking to an architect or planner if you’re not familiar with interpreting the plans.

If you don’t need resource consent but want confirmation, a council can issue a certificate of compliance for permitted activities. This confirms that the activity is lawfully established in relation to the Resource Management Act. However, you may still need a building consent or need to meet our district requirements.

Talking to your local building consent authority (BCA) is also a good idea. If the scope of what you are planning is slightly beyond the exemption listed in on their website, for example, the BCA has discretion as to whether or not it will require a building consent.

 

We hope this article has helped answer some of your questions, we’ve included all the references below that was used to develop to article so you can read further. If you do have further questions about consents, feel free to let us know by emailing us or by filling in a form – we will then forwarded it onto our Architect to follow up.

 

Please note: Whilst all information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and Superior Renovations is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.

 

To wrap up

How much does it cost for the building consent application?

The cost starts at $788 for projects up to the value of $1999, and $2645 for projects up to $99,999 - the cost is dependant on the value of the project.

Do you need a building consent for a kitchen and/or bathroom renovation?

It's generally not required unless there is going to be alterations to the structure of the building (removal of a wall) or additions to sanitary fixtures.

Where do i find the most up to date information about consents?

We suggest visiting the government websites such as building.govt.nz, aucklandcitycouncil.govt.nz and legislation.govt.nz - main reason is because this information is continually updated. Talk to an architect or a planner will also help because they will be able to interpret the information for you.

Does adding an extra toilet require a building consent?

Yes it does, because you'll be added an extra sanitary fixture that wasn't there before - so you will need to apply for building consent for this.


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