Unauthorised (non-consented) Building Works – Certificate of Acceptances


What is unauthorised building works? Can I get a Certificate of Acceptance?

There are construction jobs that have been carried out without a Building Consent (after 1 July 1992), (there are some exemptions and we will talk about them in the next blog), this work will require a Certificate of Acceptance as you can not apply for a Building Consent retrospectively.

It maybe that you have purchased a property and the previous owner had done some work or you have done some work unwittingly not knowing it required a Building Consent (BC).

Examples of non-consented work are a wall has been removed or re-positioned or a garage has been converted to a sleep-out through to a whole house has been built. So anything that is considered to be structural i.e. foundations, walls, roof framing or to do with the buildings envelope – exterior cladding, windows, doors or the roof, or plumbing or electrical. There are times where it can also be a change of use … from a residential dwelling to a hostel or boarding house … so the a Resource Consent may also be required.

What are your Risks ?

So, what are some of the risks with not getting a Building Consent?

  1. Your Insurance policy could be null and void
  2. The Council can issue a Notice to Fix (Section 164 Building Act 2004) even to the point of putting it back to how it was originally or request that you apply for a Certificate of Acceptance (CoA).
  3. If the Council feel it is unsafe and puts people at risk they can issues a Notice requiring building work or restricted entry (Section 125 Building Act 2004) due to the building being considered Insanitary or Dangerous. This means you would not be allowed to access or stay in the building.


A CoA cannot be applied for work completed prior to 1 July 1992.

The learning which I have experienced is … it is always cheaper to apply for a Building Consent and get the work approved prior to starting the job. Applying for CoA’s is an expensive process.


What is required for a CoA application?

We need to prove to Council that the works meet the Building Code at the time of application. Important to note that it is not at the time of the work was constructed.

We complete an initial survey, this will give us a preliminary outline of what is required.

                What areas we will need to open up and look at

                Who will need to be involved … an Engineer, a Designer, a Builder etc


We then complete an indepth survey which allows us to answer three statements …

  1. I have evaluated the building work and come to the following conclusions:

Building work that I conclude has been constructed in accordance with the Building Code.

The following building work was able to be inspected and is supported by sufficiently detailed and accurate documentation that reflects what is built, and for which I therefore have reasonable grounds to concludes complies with the Building Code:

  1. Building work that I conclude has not been constructed in accordance with the Building Code

The following work was able to be inspected and I have reasonable grounds to conclude the work does not comply with the Building Code:

  1. Building work that I cannot ascertain and reach a conclusion about whether the work has been constructed in accordance with the Building Code.

The following building work could not be inspected or the information provided was insufficiently detailed or inaccurate and there was variation between the documentation and the observations made on-site, and I therefore have concluded that there is insufficient information and no reasonable grounds to ascertain compliance with the Building Code:

These become the basis of the report and for the Building Consent for any Remedial work.


If remedial work is required, a Building Consent must be applied for at the same time as submitting the application for the CoA.



Every application is different, the time involved varies greatly, what other people are required to have input i.e. Draughtsman, Engineers, Resource Consent Planners, etc. Sometimes we don’t know what we will find when we start doing invasive investigations e.g. where we need to take a wall lining off to look at the join between a beam and wall. So unfortunately we cannot put a fixed package together for these, however through good communication and planning we can keep costs to a minimum.

If you have any questions, please get in contact to confidentiality discuss … call Brett 0274 572 285 or email brett@westwindprojects.co.nz


In our next blog we look at what Building Works that can be completed without a Building Consent.

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