What happens if you build without building consent

Find out about the penalties you might face if you start building work without an approved building consent.

Potential penalties for building without a consent

If your project needs a resource consent and you start work without one, or you don’t comply with your building consent, you’re committing an illegal offence.

The penalties include fines of up to $200,000 and the removal of the work you’ve done.

The work you do without a build consent won’t qualify for a Code Compliance Certificate. This will make it difficult to sell the building and get insurance.

If we learn that you’re building without a consent, we may issue you with a Notice to Fix, which means you’ll have to either:

  • apply for a building consent or an amendment to an existing building consent
  • apply for a Certificate of Acceptance (a statement from us that says the work you’ve done complies with the New Zealand Building Code, or
  • stop the building work straight away, and not start again without our permission.

How to avoid penalties

Get a pre-application meeting

You can book a pre-application meeting with us to talk about your proposal before you submit a building consent application.

These meetings can save you time and money in the long run.

Book a pre-application meeting.

Get professional help

Building consent applications can be very complex. Depending on the project, they might need a lot of technical detail too. We recommend that you use a planning consultancy, surveyor or architect to apply for resource consent for you. We can help you find the right people.

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