Work requiring a building consent

New building work often requires a building consent and some maintenance work may also require a building consent. All Restricted Building Work requires a building consent. There is detailed information online about building consent requirements.

Specific maintenance work requiring a building consent includes:


The installation of both new or replacement built-in or free-standing solid fuel wood burners requires a building consent. Where a property is less than 2 hectares, woodburner installation must also comply with Resource Management requirements to meet discharge to outside and interior efficiency requirements. You can find details and a list of appliances that comply at the Ministry for the Environment website

Second-hand woodburners often do not meet current standards for air cleanliness for sites less than 2 hectares.


The installation of insulation to external walls of an existing building requires a building consent.

Non-complying performance

A building consent is required for all maintenance work where a building element or component has not met one or more Building Code performance requirements. For a roof or wall cladding, this might be that the cladding has leaked or it has failed within the minimum required durability period of 15 years.

Smoke alarms

When a building consent is taken out smoke alarms must be provided in the escape route on all levels of houses, and in or within 3 m of all sleeping rooms.

Retaining walls

Work on retaining walls over 1.5 metres high will require a building consent. Work on any retaining wall that supports an additional load (such as a driveway or carpark on top) also requires building consent.

Earthworks that alter ground levels or move significant amounts of earth may require a resource consent.

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Building work not requiring a building consent

Section 41 and the Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 describe the building work that does not require a building consent.

Regardless of whether or not a building consent is required, all building work must comply with the New Zealand Building Code to the extent required by the Building Act.

If consent is not required and a building complied with the Building Code immediately before building work began, it must continue to comply with the Code after the work is completed. If the building did not comply with the Building Code immediately before the building work began, it must continue to comply at least to the same extent after the work is completed.

You can read online about building work that does not require a building consent.

Some examples of exempt building work include:

  • general repair, maintenance and replacement work where comparable materials replace existing materials and relevant Building Code performance requirements have been met. For example, you can replace a profiled metal roof that performed well for at least 15 years with another profiled metal roof. Replacing a metal roof with a concrete tile roof requires a building consent, however
  • sanitary plumbing and drainlaying carried out by people authorised under the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006. (This is Part 2 of Schedule 1.) The work specifically listed does not need a consent if carried out by an authorised person, such as a registered certifying plumber and drainlayer. You can check a plumber’s status on the online public register of plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers. You can also ask to see their authorization card
  • building work on a window (including a roof window) or an exterior doorway of a dwelling or outbuilding no more than 2 storeys, as long as the original doorway or window has not failed prematurely and replacing it will not modify or affect any specified system such as sprinklers or fire alarms
  • replacement of or alterations to internal linings or finishes
  • walls and fences that are less  than 2.5 metres high
  • decks that are less 1.5 metres above the ground
  • altering, removing or constructing certain internal walls and doorways, provided that the wall that is not load-bearing, a bracing element, a firewall, or a masonry wall
  • work on an existing entrance or internal doorway of a detached or semi-detached house to improve access for disabled people (such as widening a door for wheelchair access)
  • removal of a building element, such as taking down an unsound brick chimney above the roofline to reduce the risk of earthquake damage. The exemption applies to any building up to 3 storeys high as long as the removal does not affect the primary structure, any specified system or any fire separation (which includes firewalls protecting other property). Necessary repair work such as making good the gaps left in a roof after chimney removal can also be done without a consent.
  • repairing or replacing all or part of a privately-owned one-storey detached outbuilding not intended for human habitation, where the work is done within the same footprint as the original building.

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