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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
Building plan.

Starting work and inspections

Included on this page are details around the life of a building consent, starting work and inspections.

Changes to building inspections

Soon we will be introducing a new system for building inspections which will cut paperwork and streamline the process. Some of the changes you may notice once the system has been implemented are below.

When you book an inspection, you’ll need to provide phone and email details for the person booking the inspection and the person who will be on site. You will also need to note what type of inspection is needed and whether it is a re-inspection.

  • An email notification will be sent confirming the booking time, and you will get a text reminder an hour before the appointment.
  • We will email records from inspections, rather than giving out paper records.
  • Inspectors will be able to take photos and link them to the inspection record.
  • The inspector will be able to issue notices to fix for non-compliant building work and will email these to the owner and the person/s responsible for the non-compliance.

Inspection bookings may take a bit longer than usual while our inspectors get used to the new system. Once the system is up and running, the process will be quicker, but we apologise for any inconvenience caused in the meantime.

Starting work

Work must not begin on your project until a building consent (and resource consent if required) has been granted and issued.

Advisory notes may be attached to your issued building consent. It is important you read and understand all these requirements prior to commencing work. If you do not understand any requirement imposed, please contact us.

Dunedin City Council building inspectors will be entering the site to carry out inspections. For health and safety reasons we require property owners or their agents to notify us if any part of the site is contaminated with potentially hazardous substances. Substances may include, but are not limited to asbestos or contamination caused by the manufacture of illegal drugs. If we haven't already been notified please call our Inspections Team on 03 477 4000.

Building consent applicants must also check there are no resource management issues outstanding before work commences.  In some circumstances a building consent may be issued with a “Section 37” certificate. This certificate prohibits work commencing until resource consent issues have been resolved.

How long is my building consent valid for?

Work must commence on your project within 12 months of the date the building consent was issued. If there is no record that building work has begun at 11 months from the issue date, a reminder letter will be sent requesting that you either advise us of the commencement of work or apply for an extension of time to commence work.

We strongly encourage you to respond to this letter as the building consent will lapse at the expiry date of the 12 month period if work has not begun or an extension of time applied for.

Once a building consent has lapsed, it has no effect and a new building consent will need to be applied for in order to carry out the work.

How can I apply for an extension of time to start or complete work?

An extension of time can be applied for if you are unable to commence work 12 months from the issue date of the building consent or request a code compliance certificate two years after the building consent was granted.

Please use one of the following options to request an extension of time:

Please include the following details with your request:

  • building consent number
  • project location
  • anticipated start or completion date
  • contact person details
  • reason why the extension is required.

  • How can I withdraw my building consent?

    If you no longer wish to proceed with your building work after the building consent has been issued, you can advise the DCC in writing as below. Your consent will continue to remain active until it lapses at 12 months. At this time you will receive a letter from DCC advising you that your consent has lapsed.

    At the time that your notification is received you may be eligible to receive a refund of any unused inspection fees. Requests should include payee and bank account details for a refund (if applicable). This is in line with DCC’s preference to pay all monies direct to bank accounts where possible.

    The requests should be made to Dunedin City Council, Team Leader Inspections by:

    • By email:
    • By post: Building Services, Dunedin City Council, PO Box 5045, Dunedin 9054
    • In person: Building Services Enquiries Desk, Ground Floor, Civic Centre, 50 The Octagon, Dunedin.

  • What do I need to know about building inspections?

    We estimate the number of inspections required to the best of our ability, but ultimately as we are not involved with the building design or construction planning the number can be questioned in some instances. We recommend applicants and designers discuss inspection requirements with their builder  and make the number known when lodging the building consent application.

    At various stages during construction, you will need to arrange inspections to verify that the building work complies with the conditions of the building consent and building code.

    Inspections are project specific and identified during the processing stage. A list of required inspections is included with your issued building consent and you need to book these as each stage of the work is being completed. It is possible that further inspections are necessary depending on the nature  of the work.

    It is important to have all approved documentation on-site for the inspector to refer to during the inspection. This includes, the building consent (Form 5), project information memorandum and approved amendments, and any attachments, such as the specified system list and site inspection record.  An inspection will not proceed if these are not available. Building consent documentation issued to you electronically must be printed in a size suitable for viewing.

    To avoid delays on-site make sure you book inspections in advance. Inspection spaces at times can be fully booked by up to 3-5 days.

    Access must be provided to all the areas that are to be inspected. Ladders that are provided by the owner/agent should comply with relevant New Zealand Standards.

    There are a range of inspections undertaken during the course of construction.  Some of the more common ones are explained below:

    Type of inspectionDescription
    Foundations Foundations are inspected prior to concrete being poured. The inspector will verify the siting and the design of the foundation trench including reinforcing and width. Bearing conditions will be confirmed as acceptable.
    Floor slab Floor slabs are inspected prior to pouring of concrete. The inspector will confirm that the construction of the slab is in accordance with the approved plans, including polythene, tailings, load-bearing points, waste pipes and thickness etc.
    Basement tanking A shower tanking inspection is carried out after the waterproofing or tanking product is installed prior to installing the tiles. We will be looking at the slope to the floor and that the product is installed to the manufacturer's specifications.
    Half high brick At this inspection we will check the installation of the cladding part way through the progress. Items like cavity, vermin control, timber treatment, fixing of the cladding, window support etc. will be checked.
    Bracing Location of bracing hold downs, element locations, length and type. A post line inspection is undertaken once the Gib has been installed.
    Pre-line This is an inspection carried out prior to lining of the building. We will check framing, insulation, plumbing, air seals, roof and truss framing and all fixings.
    Cladding The installation of the cladding, parapets, paint systems, sealants, scribers, facings and flashings are checked during this inspection.
    Heating appliance You should have your heating appliance inspected prior to lighting it up. The heating appliance needs to be fully installed prior to inspection. The inspector will verify that the make and model is as per the approved consent.  They will also verify the installation complies with the installation instructions and/or the New Zealand Standard. Smoke detectors will also be checked at this time.
    Drainage The drainage inspection is done prior to backfilling of the drains. We will be verifying items like drain grade, size, bedding, and lateral connections or outfalls. The certifying drainlayer should have a water test on by the time the inspector arrives on-site.

    What happens at a site inspection?

    The DCC building inspector will verify that the building work has been completed in accordance with the building consent documents. At the end of each inspection the outcome is recorded on the inspection report and a copy provided to the on-site contact to retain with the consent documentation.

    If the inspection outcome is recorded as failed, the work that is required to be rectified will be recorded on the inspection report that is provided to the onsite person. The inspector will also explain what is required to be rectified and any conditions in regards to continuing work. In most cases  a re-inspection will need to be booked and this may incur additional charges.  An amendment to the building consent may be required. If the work is not remedied to the satisfaction of the inspector a notice to fix may be issued.

  • Why would additional inspection charges occur?

    Additional inspection charges may be incurred if further inspections are required due to:

    • the nature of the work (minimum fee paid did not cover the number of inspections undertaken)
    • an amendment or minor variation to the building consent
    • re-inspection after a failed inspection
    • the building consent pre-dates 2007 (where the fee paid at that time did not cover the number of inspections required)
    • the code compliance certificate has been refused.

  • How can I book an inspection?

    When you make an inspection booking you will need to supply the following information:

    • your building consent number
    • the project location/address
    • the type of inspection required
    • the name and contact number of the person who will be on-site at the time of the inspection
    • licensed building practitioner (LBP) name and registration number for restricted building work inspections.

    There are a two ways to book an inspection:

    Hours of inspections

    Building inspectors are available:

    • Monday to Friday - 9am- 4.30pm (lunch breaks from 12pm - 1pm).
    • Saturday / Sunday - by special arrangement (see current fees and charges)
    • Public Holidays - no inspections.

  • Final inspection

    Once the building work has been completed you can book a final inspection. Make sure you have all the copies of the consent documents on-site. If you have mislaid any of the approved documents, copies can be obtained from the Dunedin City Council Property Search team:

    • In person: Property Search Enquiries Desk, Ground Floor, Civic Centre, 50 The Octagon, Dunedin
    • By phone: 03 477 4000
    • By email:

    Please note there is a charge for this service.

    The inspectors will check that all the outstanding inspections have been undertaken and any failed inspections have been rectified. If everything is completed they will suggest you apply for a code compliance certificate (CCC). Before you do this, ensure all supporting documentation (for more information refer to the Code compliance certificate page) that is required is available to accompany the CCC application.

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