But just how many pieces of paper does it take to build a house?
Well in case you are unfamiliar with the process, the steps go something like this.
- Plan well – Find out whether the work you wish to do (building or renovating) needs a consent. Some basic building work, may not require a building consent, but most building work will.
- Refer to this handy Government booklet about what does and does not need consent. If in doubt ASK the Council. Many a homeowner has got caught short by the tradie giving bad advice in this regard.
- There will be contracts to sign, disclosure forms and checklists let alone several iterations of plans, specs, as well as the actual building consent form.
- Get your consent – You won’t be able to start any actual work until you have building consent, this is the time to consult your professionals, and making a good application will help avoid unnecessary delays. Will you be the applicant or allow the designer or building company to be your agent. I would recommend that you get yourself copied into all correspondence between the Council and your agent as sometimes you get a nasty surprise you may not be expecting (eg more consent fees). There are items called "RFIs" or requests for further information from the Council to your designer asking for more detailed information or a correction to drawings. You'd be surprised to know that every job has these!
- Starting the build – Once you have your building consent, you also have a green light to get going; but the paperwork doesn’t end there. I don’t think I’ve ever known a building project that doesn’t change (even slightly) along the way. These need to be dealt with by an application to amend the consent. If you want to substitute a building product originally specified in your building consent application, you need to show the council how it meets the Building Code requirements. You’ll also need to submit as-builts for minor variations… Guess what? More paperwork! PS3s and PS4s are important documents to help the council decide whether your intended work complies with the Building Code.
Council inspectors will have their own records too either paper form or digital over the numerous occasions they inspect work.
- You have a building – Before you can get sign off, and your code of compliance certificate is issued, you’ll need to make sure that your contractor has supplied you with warranties and manufacturer’s literature that relate to your building, amended plans, Other items you’ll need to include in your application are energy certificates, LBP records, plumbing and drainage as-builts. You will likely need them for your code compliance certificate application, as well as for management and maintenance of your building.
So as you can see, it takes many pieces of paper to build a house. That’s not a bad thing the process is there for a reason. Like all law, it also has a tendency to change… To stay abreast with any changes to the consent process, visit my website and sign up to BuildNet; it’s your One Stop Shop for building compliance training and advice. Join HERE.