What to know before building a house: resource consent

Building a new house is exciting, even life changing, but all the experts agree on one thing: careful planning beforehand is essential. At Summit Homes we believe that it’s important to know everything involved with building your house and planning for success. One of the most important things to be aware of is resource consent, and knowing how they affect your plans.
A resource consent is a formal approval for such things as the use or subdivision of land, the taking of water, the discharge of contaminants in water, soil or air, or the use or occupation of coastal space. It’s not just new buildings that may require resource consent, renovation A new use of an existing building may also require a resource consent. Before you start any activity that might affect your neighbours, your wider community or your environment, it is vital to find out whether a resource consent is required. Resource consents are an integral part of planning to build or renovate as they, by nature, let you know what and how you can build.
There are five types of resource consent:

• land-use consent
• subdivision consent
• water permit
• discharge permit
• coastal permit.

Just as council plans vary, the need for resource consents varies from one area to another, so it’s important to recognise what your dream house looks like and where you will be able to build it. If the activity you want to carry out isn’t clearly identified as either a permitted or prohibited activity in the plan, then you must obtain a resource consent.

Here are some examples of work that requires a consent:

• any structural building including new buildings, additions, alterations, accessory buildings (sheds), and re-piling
• plumbing and drainage
• heating (fireplaces), ventilation and air conditioning systems
• siteworks for a building
• retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres, or retaining walls with a building or driveway near the top
• fences higher than 2.5 metres and any swimming pool fence
• swimming pools
• decks more than 1.5 metres from ground level.

The process for obtaining resource consent’s is straightforward but can take time, and does cost so it’s important to budget the time and money to allow for these. Contacting the local council is the first step to finding out whether you need to apply for a resource consent. They will also provide you with the application form, additional information, and steer you in the right direction. The council will also tell you if the activity is prohibited, which means that it is expressly not allowed and you can’t even apply for a resource consent.

Building a house is an exciting project, and our aim is to give you the tools to build it right, every time!