By supplying quality applications, you will minimise the number of requests for information (RFIs) meaning your building consent application will be processed more quickly.

Requests for information can be sent during processing the application for building consent or application for code compliance certificate. They delay the issuing of the building consent or code compliance certificate by adding on-hold days to our processing time (see below).

Average number of processing days and on-hold days per application type

Type of application Average number of processing days* Average number of on-hold days**
Detached dwelling

12

20

Multi-unit dwelling

16

30

Commercial

14

40

Amendment

10

8

Change of use                                    

16

48

Solid fuel burner

2

2

Source: Statistics Building Consents granted, 2015-2016.

* Processing days mean number of days that the application for building consent has a status of currently processing in our system (i.e. the statutory clock is live).

** On-hold days mean the number of days that the application for building consent has a status of being on hold (i.e. the statutory clock has been suspended) because further information has been formally requested.

Most common reasons for RFIs:

Residential applications

Subject Reason for RFIs Tips to avoid these RFIs

Weather tightness

Plans and specifications do not demonstrate compliance with performances of building code clause E2 - external moisture. Where E2/AS1 is being used, the weather tightness risk matrix score is often incorrect.

E2 - MBIE guidance has useful guidance material on weather tightness. Wind zones and other environmental land features can be checked on the BRANZ MAP website.

Sanitary plumbing and drainage design

Mixing design principles from G13/AS1 & G13/AS2 with design principles from AS/NZS3500.2.

Sanitary plumbing and drainage design cannot combine principles from G13/AS1 & G13/AS2 with principles from AS/NZ3500.2 in the same system. Clarify which design principles you are using.

Site and floor levels

Site and floor levels in flood-prone areas of the city are not specified in terms of Christchurch Drainage Datum.

Parts of Christchurch are defined as flood-prone and have the status of being a Flood Management Area under the City Plan.

In these areas, site and floor levels are to be provided in terms of the Christchurch Drainage Datum to enable assessment for building code compliance, the natural hazard provisions of the Building Act and planning rules in the district plan.

There is a floor level map to find if your property is in a flood-prone area.

Structural and geotechnical engineering

The foundation design is not coordinated with the recommendations from the geotechnical investigation report.

The geotechnical engineer needs to confirm in writing that the foundation design complies with his or her recommendations.

No confirmation of whether a producer statement for construction monitoring (PS4) will be supplied, and no schedule provided of the construction monitoring to be undertaken.

Where significant specific engineering design (SED) elements are included in the building work, ensure the application documentation includes a schedule of construction monitoring, and confirmation that a PS4 will be supplied.

Supporting documentation is not provided to explain where barriers to upper floors or balconies require specific engineering design (SED).

There is guidance for designing barriers on the MBIE website.

Where the barrier design is SED, provide full project specific construction details along with a supporting producer statement for design (PS1).

Quality of application

Essential items are missing from the application.

The B-062 application check-sheet is a handy checklist for ensuring all items have been considered when lodging an application for building consent. We recommend you submit one with every application.

Planning issues

Planning issues have not been identified early in the process

Investigate planning issues before submitting an application by requesting a PIM and/or requesting a pre-application meeting.

Products information

Lack of supporting documentation for proprietary products, especially those that are relatively new in the New Zealand market.

Provide supporting information, either test results to relevant standards or appraisals from recognised bodies (e.g. BRANZ).

Where a building product or system has a CodeMark provide the certificate of conformity and details of how it meets the conditions and limitations of use. More information is available on the MBIE product assurance webpage.

Twenty-eight acceptable solutions and 10 verification methods for complying with the building code have been amended and took effect from 1 January 2017. For further guidance on the changes and the transition periods refer to the MBIE website.

Commercial applications

Subject  Reason for RFIs Tips to avoid these RFIs

Intended use of building

The intended use of the building is not always clearly defined in the application.

Ensure that the intended use(s) of the building is clearly defined in the application documentation. It is a requirement to state the intended use for the construction or alteration of a building. See building code clause A1 - Classified uses, these categories are used to define which building code clauses apply to the building work.

Stages of proposed building work

The manner in which construction of a building is to be staged has not been agreed upon prior to application for first stage being submitted.

Contact the Council early in the design phase of the building work to agree on the manner in which the building work to agree on the manner in which the building work is to be staged.

Consideration to fit-outs must be given in staging as full compliance with the building code is not always achieved until the final fit-out has been completed.

Weather tightness

Alternative solutions to E2 - External moisture not identified.

Alternative solutions for E2 - External moisture need to be identified in the application documentation. Supporting information also needs to be included to demonstrate that the alternative solutions will comply with the building code.

Many commercial buildings are not within the scope of the acceptable solutions or verification method for E2 - External moisture therefore their cladding systems require specific design.

In some cases it would be appropriate for the overall designer to provide a 'design features report' to detail their methodology for achieving compliance with E2. Please contact the Council early in the design phase to discuss E2 requirements.

MBIE provide guidance on their website regarding alternative solutions and weather tightness design principles.

Access and accessible routes

 

The accessible route from the building's accessible car park into the building is not clearly identified.

The route from the building's accessible car park to the internal space served by principal access needs to be clearly defined. It should be clear on the plans that this will comply as an accessible route.

The accessible car parks must be located in a way that avoids conflict between vehicles and people using or moving to or from the space. Wheelchair users should not have to travel behind other parked vehicles or share access ways with vehicles.

Where the accessible car park is not directly visible from the principal entrance of the building, further signage will need to be provided as necessary.

Contact the Council early in the design phase to discuss any issues with accessible routes.

The accessible route from the street boundary is not sufficiently detailed.

Include sections through the building accessible entrance and out to the footpath and kerb showing the finished surface levels and gradients to demonstrate compliance with D1.

Compliance with building code clause D1 - Access routes must occur within the property boundary lines as compliance with the building code is the responsibility of the property owner not the Council. The Council generally slopes the footpath at 2% (1:50) and does not normally permit re-grading of the footpath.

The design shows isolated steps on access routes.

Building code performance D1.3.3 (i) states "access routes shall not contain isolated steps". This performance does not apply to detached dwellings or within household units of multi-unit dwellings, or to outbuildings and ancillary buildings. In all other buildings the acceptable solutions allows only a 20mm change in level weathering strip at a door threshold. 

Contact the Council early in the design phase to discuss any issues with access routes requirements.

Sanitary plumbing and drainage design

Mixing design principles from G13/AS1 & G13/AS2 with design principles from AS/NZS3500.2.

Sanitary plumbing and drainage design cannot combine principles from G13/AS1 & G13/AS2 with principles from AS/NZS3500.2 in the same system. Clarify which design principles you are using.

Design coordination

Lack of coordination between architectural design and other consultants' designs.

Refer to coordination checklists in CIC guidelines.

The lead designer should check architectural drawings are coordinated with drawings provided by other consultants e.g. structure, fire, civil and HVAC.

Energy efficiency of artificial lighting

Energy efficiency calculations are not included in the application for artificial lighting design in ‘commercial’ buildings and ‘communal non-residential’ with a floor area greater than 300m2

Where commercial buildings and communal non-residential buildings have a floor area that is greater than 300m2 compliance with building code performance H1.3.5 is required to be demonstrated. Note this requirement applies to all new tenancies of buildings where the combined floor area of all spaces of the building is greater than 300m2 regardless of the size of the tenancy.

Include a statement from the lighting designer detailing the mean of compliance used (e.g. schedule method of NZS4243: Part 2:2007) along with relevant calculations. Where an electrical engineer has been engaged, include H1.3.5 in the scope of building code clauses covered by their PS1.

Sanitary facilities numbers

No justification provided with the application for the proposed number of sanitary facilities

G1/AS1 requires sanitary facilities to be provided for certain user groups. Accordingly, where it is not intended to provide sanitary facilities for all users of the building, the application should clearly identify the user group(s) and the numbers of persons associated with that group for whom sanitary facilities are being provided.

MBIE has a toilet calculator to allow the number of toilet pans, basins and urinals to be calculated to G1/AS1 based on the number of people and building use.

Fire engineering

Confirmation of construction monitoring by the fire engineer is not included with the application.

Where the fire safety design includes significant features, engage the fire engineer for construction monitoring and include confirmation of this construction monitoring with the building consent application.

Not all the documentation has been  provided with the application where the verification method (C/VM2) has been used as the means of compliance. 

The lead designer should ensure that all the documentation as agreed to in the fire engineering brief (FEB) process has been provided by the fire engineering designer and the peer reviewer.

Refer to IPENZ Practice Note: Guidelines for Documenting Fire Safety Designs (2011).

Not all emergency lighting design documentation is included with the application.

Ensure that emergency lighting design drawings are supported by a producer statement for design (PS1) and provide confirmation that the emergency lighting designer will provide a producer statement for construction monitoring (PS4) on completion of the work.

Structural and geotechnical engineering

The foundation design is not coordinated with the recommendations from the geotechnical investigation report.

The geotechnical engineer needs to confirm in writing that the foundation design complies with his or her recommendations.

No confirmation as to whether a producer statement for construction monitoring (PS4) will be supplied and no schedule is provided of the construction monitoring to be undertaken.

Where there are significant specific engineering design (SED) elements included in the building work, ensure the application documentation includes a schedule of construction monitoring and confirmation that a PS4 will be supplied.

There is no supporting design documentation with the application where there is secondary or ancillary structural elements requiring specific engineering design (SED).

Often the producer statement for design (PS1) provided by the structural engineer covers only the design of the building’s primary structure. Ensure that PS1s are provided for all secondary or ancillary structural SED elements. e.g. barriers, seismic bracing to the building services, suspending ceiling systems, plant platforms, etc.

Other authorisations

Written approval(s) from network utility authorities has not been included with the application where there is a new water supply, increase in wastewater outfall or change to the storm water outfall proposed. 

Obtain written approvals from network utility authorities for the proposed work as follows:

Written approval(s) from other Council units has not been included with the application

Obtain written approvals from other areas of the Council for the proposed work as follows:

Mechanical ventilation

Drawings, specification and calculations are not included with the application where mechanical ventilation is required. 

Engage a mechanical engineer earlier in the design process to be able to provide details for mechanical ventilation. You should include mechanical drawings, specification and calculations supported by a producer statement design (PS1)

Note, the natural ventilation solutions in G1/AS1 excludes natural ventilation to occupied spaces in ‘Commercial’ and ‘Industrial’ buildings where products listed in building code performance clause G4.3.3 are generated (mechanical ventilation of these spaces is required).