21 June 2022


Kia ora, 

With another issue of our quarterly communication, I wanted to make a few observations from what we are seeing in applications and on-site around the city related to building work.

Building consent application rates remain steady relative to past levels but we are starting to see a slowdown in the level of inspection activity which may reflect on-going supply constraints and labour shortages. Wait times for inspections are relatively short with 1-3 day wait periods.



With consent processing we are still not delivering the timeliness we need. Consents with structural review components are averaging 55 working days due to engineering capacity issues.   We have brought more engineering capacity online and we expect to see tangible improvements in our timeliness over the next quarter. It will take some time for us to clear the backlog.

We apologise for the inconvenience and additional pressure this places on everyone, including our staff and appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to improve things.

If you’re anticipating complex structural elements in your building consent application, an option that is available is to contact We can then discuss any challenges and possible options with you before submission so that we can jointly speed up the process.

Ngā mihi,
Chris Scott
Building Compliance Consents Manager

GIB shortage and plasterboard substitution

There are significant supply issues impacting Winstone's manufactured GIB in New Zealand.  To address the supply issues MBIE has released guidance on plasterboard substitution that can be found here. 

We are still seeing that most consents are generically specified with “Gib wall board” as the means for lining all wall and ceiling surfaces. We understand that designers and the industry have become familiar with Gib and this is an easy default to use.

There are other products available, but care is needed as there are both those that comply with the building code and those that don’t. This means designers and specifiers will need to undertake some research to ensure that products and technical information is supplied and specified appropriately to avoid delays in the consent process or on site.



There are other manufacturers who have products that can be used for the likes of bracing and fire but again care is required where a system is being specified. For example, specific testing has been undertaken that shows that a combination of products used together in a specific way will provide x amount of bracing or y amount of fire or acoustic protection. If one of these products is substituted for another, the system that works together is compromised and may not be Code compliant.

Please be aware that substitutions need to be made with the approval of the owner.

The designer should also be involved to ensure there are no unforeseen flow on effects that compromise the building or a system within the building and potentially trigger rework and additional expense.

Where possible changes on site may be able to be treated as a minor variation but there is potential the change triggers a major variation which requires a formal amendment to the building consent. Talk to our inspectors on site or contact us early in the process so that we can assist in avoiding unnecessary delays and expense. We will do all that we can to process these changes as quickly as possible. 

Specified systems and compliance schedules

Specified systems in buildings are those that relate to certain safety and essential systems. These systems need a Compliance Schedule to ensure a building is safe and healthy for people to enter, occupy or work in.

To improve Compliance Schedules and Building Warrants of Fitness we are enhancing our assessment of specified system information submitted as part of the building consent applications to make sure they meet standards for completeness and accuracy.

This enhancement also includes the introduction of a new Compliance Schedule Inspection that will focus on confirming the systems intended for installation during the build.

For customers this means that any changes to specified systems deviating from the approved building consent need to be raised with the inspector early to ensure records are accurate and determine if an amendment is required.

Checking early will avoid customers getting a Notice to Fix for specified systems related work that is not in accordance with the building consent.  To support an efficient Compliance Schedule Inspection, you will need to make sure that the approved consent documentation including the compliance schedule detail sheet (CSD) is on site. Further information is on the BCC website.

Fee increases for Certificates of Acceptance from 1 July 2022

From 1 July we are increasing the fees for non-urgent Certificates of Acceptance (CoAs)  There are no increases for urgent COA applications (e.g., Emergency building works).

Following feedback, we reviewed the applications for non-urgent CoA’s and consider that in many cases the application pathway was inappropriately used to avoid the standard building consent process and fees.



The increase is to ensure that the incentive for applying for a building consent in advance of beginning building work is the best compliance pathway for customers.

Further information on CoAs can be found here.


Make sure you consider the impact of Natural Hazards on your building work

When you apply for a building consent for a new building, or a major alteration to an existing building, it’s important for you to consider how the building could be affected by natural hazards, or how the work could accelerate or worsen a natural hazard.


Wellington City Council was party to a recent determination Determination 2021/013 which provides useful information in determining Natural Hazards responsibilities. We would encourage you to review the determination as there is a helpful "Natural Hazards Decision Tree" in Appendix B of the determination.

Further information can also be found on Wellington City Council’s web site here on natural hazards and here for a link to Wellington’s flood zones.

Section 71 Building Act 2004 defines a natural hazard as land subjected to:
  • erosion (including coastal erosion, bank erosion, and sheet erosion)
  • falling debris (including soil, rock, snow, and ice)
  • subsidence
  • inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects and ponding)
  • Slippage.

Approval of the  Wellington City Proposed District Plan for consultation

Please be aware that the Approval of the Proposed District Plan for public notification goes to Committee on June 23rd. Once the Proposed District Plan is notified by the end of August, WCC will need to consider this Plan in any resource consent decisions.

Changes to the District Plan include the government's National Policy Statement that requires Council plans to enable (but not require) greater height and density, particularly in areas of high demand and access. A copy of this paper can be found here.


Please contact if you have any questions.
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Ngā mihi nui,  
Your BCC team  
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