How Building Charges are Determined

Building consent charges are set to recover all the costs that the Council incurs when processing and inspecting consented works. The cost of the consent is dependent on the cost of the work to be done.  Use these formulas to work out the fee:

If the value of work is $20,000 or under: Base Fee for category + Accreditation Levy

If the value of work is more than $20,000: Base Fee for category + DBH Levy + BRANZ Levy + Accreditation Levy + Extra inspection/s fee (if any).

For new dwellings/additions/commercial

The base fee reflects the anticipated costs for both the administration and the inspection activities. The administration work is the receipt, processing and issue of the consent. Costs arising from engineering checks or Fire and Emergency New Zealand review, where applicable, are additional.

The inspection fee is an estimate based on the minimum number of inspections and other technical inputs needed for the project type. Inspections for these categories are charged on a fixed average booking and travel cost, plus the actual time spent on site.

Extra inspections are charged at a fixed rate per inspection.

Fixed fees

Fixed fees cover projects where the costs are easily identified before application, or where average rate is appropriate. The amount is fixed. No additional costs will be charged by the Council in regards to the fee quoted.

Other charges

Other fee categories, such as for outbuildings, alterations or relocations, where experience shows that there is quite a lot of variation between jobs, the base fee reflects the administration costs and a per-inspection average fixed fee is added. This means that you will be able to work out the exact charge depending on the number of inspections.

Payment of fees

The base fee and levies applicable are required to be paid in full when you submit your application. If the applicant is not responsible for the cost, an invoice can be sent to the owner. Fees must be paid in full before the consent is collected.

At the end of the project if the actual costs have exceeded the base fee, an invoice for the additional costs will be sent.  Additional costs will need to be paid before a code compliance certificate will be issued.

Payments for building consents, inspections and Code Compliance Certificates can be made by cheque, cash or eftpos at the Civic Centre or at one of our service centres. You can also pay online.


In cases where applications are withdrawn or there is a significant change in the consent, a refund will be considered.


When an application is withdrawn before the consent is issued and fees are outstanding, an invoice for work completed to date will be sent to the fee payer.

What causes additional costs?

Projects can vary greatly in both the number of inspections and the length of time various types of inspections take. Variables that affect inspection costs include:

  • How the job is organised. For example, building work on steep slopes might require two or more foundation inspections. Staged jobs may require a separate range of inspections for each stage. Jobs that progress very slowly without good communication with the Building Inspectors can create additional inspections because of the need to check progress.
  • Undervalued work. More inspections can be needed than is covered by the lower fee. The value is that of the finished building and not what it may cost you to build.
  • The value given is used to update the value of improvements of your property which prospective purchasers refer to. Rates are unaffected as they are based on land value.
  • The number of amendments. Amendments add costs as they each have to be formally lodged, checked and approved.
  • Complexity and/or the materials used. Complexity can add to the time on site and the number of inspections. For example, coated face claddings can typically increase the number of inspections needed.
  • Builder competency. Some builders need more advice and direction than others and this may result in more time being spent on site, adding to costs.
  • Re-inspection. Not being ready for a pre-booked inspection or failing an inspection will mean that the work needs to be re-inspected.

The preceding points show it is possible to have a great deal of variation in costs which would be very difficult to predetermine. When actual costs exceed the base fee, the costs will be invoiced. It would be prudent to cover this possibility with your contractor.

Extraordinary building  jobs

There are special cases involving jobs that are clearly different to the normal range of work in a particular category, or are not a good fit in any of the fee categories. Please contact the building department to discuss these.