The Building Division is responsible under the Building Act for the regulatory control of all building work (including plumbing) in the Invercargill and Bluff areas.
This is to ensure that substandard or inappropriate building materials or practices do not become a problem for building users, now or in the future. Among the division’s duties and responsibilities are processing and issuing building consents, building inspections and issuing code compliance certificates.
The Invercargill City Council’s Building Consents Guide (link below) contains important information about applying for a building consent from the Council. It covers the whole process, from the application stage, through to the Code Compliance Certificate phase. Links to the guide – and to related information:
- Building Consents Guide 2015
- Homeowner’s Building Guide website.
- Work that does not require consent Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. This link is to Government guide on building work that does not require building consent.
The application process
The Building Act allows the Council’s Building Consents Authority up to 20 working days to either refuse or grant a building consent. When an application is received by the Council it is vetted for completeness and signed-off as “fit for the purpose of processing”.
The application is then entered into the Council’s system and the 20 working day statutory clock commences. If the Council requires more information during processing, the application is suspended (statutory time clock stops) until the requested information is provided. Once the information is provided the time clock is restarted and processing continues. It is important for applicants to provide full details (as per the Council’s checklists) with their applications.
Building safety and Warrants of Fitness
Owners’ responsibilities to ensure their buildings are safe to use: Guidance on building warrants of fitness and compliance schedules (November 2010). The Department of Building and Housing guide outlines best practice on how building owners can meet the requirements of the Building Act 2004 relating to building WoFs, compliance schedules, and related matters. Standard template forms have also been developed with this guidance that comply with the requirements of the Building Act and Regulations.
More useful links
- Otago-Southland-Southern Lakes 2014 Annual Building Guide
- Smarter Homes (independent information about how to design, build and renovate “smarter” homes)
- Certified Builders Association of New Zealand
- Association of Consulting Engineers NZ
Building WOFs and IQPs: summary
Buildings with specified systems (alarms etc) installed have ongoing requirements through the Building Warrant of Fitness regime. These will be commercial buildings unless the specified system is a cable car installed in a dwelling. A Building Warrant of Fitness (Form 12) is a statement from the building owner confirming that the systems in the building have been checked and the inspection and maintenance required (stated in the compliance schedule) for the building has complied for the previous 12 months. After a new building is constructed or existing building altered, Council will issue building owners with a compliance schedule covering requirements for any specified systems in the building. The owner pays for an Independent Qualified Person to inspect and maintain the buildings specified systems.