Certificate of Acceptance

​Illegal Building Work

Building work which requires consent but does not have consent is illegal.


The exception to this is building work that was carried out on Government-owned or administered properties before the Building Act 1991. Government agencies such as Housing Corporation, Maori Affairs and Lands and Survey were not bound by the requirements of the territorial authority at that time.

In most cases Council will not have details of such work. If you need this information, contact the relevant Government agency directly.

Issuing a certificate for work already done
Under the Building Act 2004  
  1. A territorial authority may, on application, issue a certificate of acceptance for building work already done if:

         (i) The work was done by the owner or any predecessor in title of the owner; and

(ii) A building consent was required for the work but not obtained; or

(b) If section 42 (which relates to building work that had to be carried out urgently) applies; or

(c) if subsections (3) and (4) of section 91 (which apply if a building consent authority that is not a territorial authority or a regional authority is unable or refuses to issue a code compliance certificate in relation to building work for which it granted a building consent) apply; or if:

(i) The work affects premises to which section 362A applies; and

(ii) A building consent for the work was obtained before 31 March 2005; and

(iii) The territorial authority is unable or refuses to issue a code compliance certificate for the work; and

(iv) The application for the certificate of acceptance was made before 31 March 2010.

A territorial authority may issue a certificate of acceptance only if it is satisfied, to the best of its knowledge and belief and on reasonable grounds, that, insofar as it could ascertain, the building work complies with the building code.

2. This section

(a) Does not limit section 40 (which provides that a person must not carry out any building work except in accordance with a building consent); and

(b) Accordingly, does not relieve a person from the requirement to obtain a building consent for building work.

What do I do if my building has illegal building works?

If your property has illegal building works, you can engage a suitably qualified person from a list of independent report writers​ to:

  • inspect the illegal works 

  • draw up plans and a specification of work undertaken 

  • write a letter to Council providing details of approximate age of works and compliance with the code of practice applicable at that time, and confirming that the works are deemed to be safe and sanitary.

Council will send you a letter confirming acceptance of plans and certification, and will file the plans and certification on your property record. This does not mean that the building works are legal. They will remain illegal works, unless a change to the Building Act changes their status.

Independent Report Writer List - 2020.pdf

Applying for Certificate of Acceptance

To apply for a Certificate of Acceptance you must complete appropriate forms:

Safe and Sanitary Reports

Page reviewed: 12 May 2020 10:30am