Building consent amendments and variations
An amendment or minor variation must be approved by the Building Consent Authority before the new work is undertaken.
Changes to consented building work are often proposed during a building project. While the 'approved building consent' (obtained before work commences) is the foundation document for most building work, the building consent process does allow for this consent to be altered before or during construction - through the building consent amendment process.
At the end of the building project, the approved building consent documentation needs to be an accurate reflection of what has actually been built.
Changes to an issued building consent
Amendments and minor variations must be applied for and approved before the work can proceed; a minor variation can be approved on site by the Building Inspector at the time of inspection. In both instances adequate documentation must be supplied to enable an assessment to take place.
A variation that is minor is a change that does not usually affect compliance with the building code. Both Council and owners building consent documentation should be updated to reflect these changes. Please discuss and record any minor variations on site with your Building Inspector.
Some examples of minor variations:
- substituting one internal lining for a similar internal lining
- substituting the type of timber treatment
- minor wall bracing changes
- a change to a component (for example, fixing bracket)
- changing a room’s layout (for example, the position of fixtures in a bathroom or kitchen)
If the variation involves restricted building work, a certificate of design work issued by the licensed building practitioner who has designed the building work must be provided, together with the written authority of the owner acknowledging the variation.
Applying for a minor variation
Minor variations may be approved by the Building Inspector on site and can be dealt with simply by completing the application form and providing details of the variation. In some cases, plans and certificates of design work will need to accompany the minor variation application form.
The owner must acknowledge all variations in writing; the owner can do this by signing the minor variation application form or providing their agent written authority to act on their behalf.
A stamped copy of the minor variation must remain on site at all times.
- On site application for minor variation to approved plans
- Building (Minor Variations) Regulations 2009
Generally, where the work is outside the scope of the original consent (e.g. additional footprint or increases in floor area, construction method, or significant changes to the layout), this would be considered an amendment and requires an application to make the proposed change(s). Variations that are major often result when the change impacts on a number of Building Code clauses.
Some examples where a formal amendment is required:
- A change to the assembly (for example, acrylic shower unit to a tiled shower unit)
- A deck or carport shown on the building consent drawings is no longer to be built.
- The applicant wants an ensuite bathroom to be installed instead of a walk-in wardrobe shown on the building consent drawings.
- Timber joists complying with NZS 3604 are shown on the building consent drawings, but the applicant is advised by the builder to change to a
manufactured proprietary joist system.
- The applicant wants to change part, or all, of the proposed cladding system from that approved in the original consent.
- A new house is approved with a perimeter foundation wall and ordinary internal piles, but it is decided instead to construct a complete timber pile
Applying for an amendment
Building work affected by an amendment must not be undertaken until Council has issued the amendment. Council has 20 working days to process an amendment application.
You can apply for an amendment in the online portal.
- Guide to building consent amendments (building.govt.nz website)
- Apply for a residential building consent
- Apply for a commercial building consent