Cochrane Law
Building a new house

Building A New House

If you are looking to build a new house chances are you have already purchased a block of land to build on.  It is also probable this land is in a subdivision.  Before you start planning your dream home and preferably prior to purchasing the land, it is important you consult with your lawyer on the following issues:


Subdivisions usually have restrictive covenants registered against all titles within the subdivision that require any building on the property to comply with a strict set of criteria established by the subdivider. These typically include requiring specific types of material to be used in construction, limiting colours and specifying building techniques to be used.  In some subdivisions even the building plan is required to be approved by the subdivider!  This can make or break your build.

The District Plan

After checking the title you should also check the relevant District Plan to ascertain what you can and cannot do on the land.  The property will be designated in a specific zone and the Council will have set out rules for properties in that zone.  If your proposed build does not comply with the rules for the zone and other general rules set out in the District Plan, you will have to get Resource Consent prior to building your house.  This is obviously a costly and time consuming process.  It may even be easier to alter your plan than to go through the Resource Consent process.

Building Consent

Before you start building you will need a Building Consent from the local Council.  A Building Consent is a document issued by the Council which verifies that proposed work complies with the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code 1992 and the Building Act 2004.  Your new build is required to be carried out by, or under the supervision of a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP).  Each LBP operates within their specific area of expertise, for example, a carpenter or plumber.  A Building Consent will not be issued for a new build without LBP’s signing off on the Consent application.  The same applies to a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) issued by the Council upon completion of your build.  The LBP’s involved must sign off on the build prior to a CCC being issued. It is therefore important that you appoint qualified people early in the building process to smooth the path to completion.

Where We Can Help

  • We are able to provide you with advice regarding any issues on the title.
  • We are able to research the District Plan and provide you with advice on whether your proposed build complies with the District Plan.
  • We can assist you in applying for Resource Consent if your build does not comply with the plan; and
  • We can liase with the LBP’s and provide advice regarding your contract with each of these professionals.  For best results, it is important to involve all professionals at an early stage to ensure all parties are on the same page and are working towards a common goal – the construction of your new home.


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Palmerston North, 4410
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