What is a Certificate of Acceptance (COA)
You can apply to Council for a certificate of acceptance for work done without a building consent, or in specific circumstances when a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) can’t be issued.
For more information visit the Building.govt.nz website.
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
- A territorial authority may, on application, issue a certificate of acceptance for building work already done if:
- The work was done by the owner or any predecessor in title of the owner; and a building consent was required for the work but not obtained
- Section 42 (which relates to building work that had to be carried out urgently) applies
- 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
- The work affects premises to which section 362A applies, a building consent for the work was obtained before 31 March 2005, the territorial authority is unable or refuses to issue a code compliance certificate for the work and 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.
- This section
- 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
- 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 to:
- inspect the illegal works
- draw up plans and a specification of work undertaken
- apply 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 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. There is a cost associated with this application.
Application for a Certificate of Acceptance is now available on our online consents portal.
Manage required documents
- Proof of construction compliance
- Supporting evidence if the work is closed-in and unable to be inspected. This could include (but is not limited to):
- relevant certification
- architectural drawings
- PS1 & PS4 from supervising engineers (if applicable)
- expert opinion reports – e.g. Building Surveyor’s report, Fire Reports and reports from suitably qualified professionals
- Statement of urgency – a letter providing the reason why the work is being done under urgency (see section 42 of the Building Act 2004, if applicable)
- Declaration of who completed the work
Issuing a Certificate of Acceptance
Council will issue a COA when it is has inspected or assessed the building work and is satisfied that it complies with the Building Code. (See section 17 of the Building Act for further explanation.)
If Council has not been able to assess and approve a building consent application, this may be because it could not inspect the work during construction to ensure it meets the Building Code. In this case, Council may not be able to ensure compliance.
As Council will have had no involvement in the work to date, the applicant is responsible for providing evidence to show that the work complies with section 17 of the Building Code. This is particularly important for those parts of the building work that Council cannot inspect, such as foundations.
The COA will include a list of the building work that Council has inspected and confirmed compliance for. Any building works that cannot be verified will also be listed and excluded on the COA.
As the result of a COA, Council may issue a Notice to Fix, or you may need to remove building work that does not comply with the Building Code. You may also need to get a building consent to carry out further work, to ensure that the building complies with the Building Code.
Refusing a Certificate of Acceptance
If your COA application doesn’t provide enough information or does not show compliance with the Building Code, Council may refuse to issue a COA.
You may also need to remove the building work if it is deemed dangerous or insanitary (under section 124 of the Building Act) or if approval under the Resource Management Act 1991 is not obtained.
If Council refuses to grant you a COA, you will receive written notice of this and details on the reasons for the refusal.
Third party reports
COAs cannot be issued for building work carried out prior to 1 July 1992 (before the Building Act) as this work was subject to the Building Bylaws and the Building Permit system.
It is not necessary to do anything about this work, but if you would like a record of the work undertaken recorded on your property file you may choose to get a third party report.