Navigating the Consents process

August 24, 2020

If you are undertaking a housing project, be it a Relocatable, a New Build or Renovations, its likely you will need a consent somewhere along the way. Consents are used by all local councils as a way to monitor and approve any works that fall under the Building Code or the Resource Management Act. However, each council varies in how they manage submissions, review and approval of consents. It can be a really confusing process!

Luckily our Design and Operations team are experts in supporting the preparation, submission and approval of Consents. They have

  • the experience and knowledge of the process followed by each individual council,
  • they understand what documentation is needed and
  • have a view of some common watch outs to be considered.

They have provided some great insights below around the broader process, and how you can approach consents with confidence.

What are the different types of consents?

There are two key types of consents:

  • Building Consents – Used to manage any restricted building (construction) work, as dictated by the Building Code and residential work requiring sign off by an LBP (Licensed Building Practitioner)
  • Resource Consents – As managed by the Resource Management Act and relating to any changes in Land Use as dictated by the local councils district plan

When considering if you need to file for a consent, it is recommended to first speak with a Planner or Building Control Officer at your local council. They can help you to understand the rules as set by that council and as they relate to your specific site and project. Examples could be:

  • A Resource Consent could be required where there are Permitted, Controlled and Discretionary activities within the local plan – understanding what type of activity your project is and therefore the need for a consent sign-off is an important first step.
  • A Building Consent could be required when you are looking to complete renovations on an existing dwelling.

The way these activities are managed by one council may be different to another so it pays to check for each individual project.

What is needed to submit a Consent?

Once you have checked with Council and are confident a consent is required, you can start preparing the documents required for submission. Depending on the type of consent, and the issuing Council, you may need some or all of the following support documents:

  • A full set of working drawings
  • Material specifications
  • Foundation designs
  • Structural Engineering designs
  • Septic Design
  • Confirmation of Council connections
  • A Topographical survey
  • Geo-technical report
  • Second hand building report
  • Asbestos report and management plan
  • Stormwater design plan
  • Windzone testing

With the possibility of many other documents/plans depending on your project.

How much time do I need to allocate to prepare my submission?

In order to keep your project on track, it is important that your Consent Application contains all the necessary information and correct supporting documentation when first submitted or you risk the chance of the consent being delayed or rejected.

It’s important to consider how long it can take to prepare your supporting documents. As an example, a Geo-technical report is often required for Building Consents. This can take 4-6 weeks to prepare. Once received, your Geo-tech may indicate the need for the design to be  Structurally Engineered, a process which can take another 4-6 weeks to prepare. Both these steps need to be completed prior to submitting a consent so it’s worthwhile allowing up to 12 weeks to prepare your submission.

Once the background preparation is complete, you are ready to submit your consent to council.

Having the support of a specialist consents agent such as The Relocatable House Co. increases your chances of a prompt approval as we have the knowledge and contacts to quickly and professionally prepare and submit your consent.

Once submitted, how long will my consent take to be approved?

Whilst each council has its own timeline, the general rule of thumb is approximately 20 workings days. This means:

  • From point of acceptance and payment for the consent submission – 20 working days to process
  • These 20 working days will be paused if a request for further information (RFI) is issued
  • Once approved, there is often an administration requirement of a few days to lodge the consent in the councils records and issue an invoice.

At The Relocatable House Co. we typically allow 6 weeks for the full process to occur.

If you choose to submit the consent yourself, there are some key watch outs to consider:

  • you will be the first port of call for Council should any queries or issues arise with the submission.
  • If they require clarification or further information the process will be put on hold at that working day (i.e. Day 5 of the 20 working days) and the process will only begin again once the required information is accepted by council.
  • If you are unable to answer their queries, or provide supporting information you risk delaying the turnaround time of the consent and therefore the timeline for your project.
  • If you are needing the support of an external party to update drawings or plans then you will also need to organise this and re-submit the updated documents yourself.
  • Without being the Agent, external parties are unable to work directly with council to rectify issues, meaning more legwork for you as the original submitter of the consent.

For a small fee you can engage our team as your consents agent, with the peace of mind that the responsibility sits with our experts to ensure a successful consent outcome!


Do consents for Relocatable Houses differ to New Build or Renovation Consents?

Councils have a responsibility to ensure the safety of building and construction works occurring within their region. And as such they need to look at each consent submission based on the realities of that project. A Pre-loved or 2nd hand house will find itself in a completely new environment from where it was originally built. Its new location may be on a hill or in a higher wind zone for example. Because of this, council need to consider not only the structural integrity of the new site but of the house itself. This includes any changes needing to be made to the house at its new location, including foundation supports, re-joining of parts, re-erection of the roof structure, new cladding etc. Many Councils see the benefits of 2nd hand housing as a cost-effective way for people to get onto the property ladder, and as such are often trying to improve their approach because of this. But it also means that the bar can shift from time to time, so it pays to be aware of the council’s current stance on pre-loved homes.

We are here to help!

As specialists in Relocatable and Transportable housing, our team are here to support you through the consents process, where a prompt and successful consent submission is the best outcome for everyone involved!

If you would like to know more about engaging our team for Consent Services, give us a call on 0508 4 RELOCATE (473 562).

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