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Six Tips For Dealing With Council

Before you jump into a house relocation, consider Craig Brierly’s key tips for a smooth consent process.

By: Craig Brierly

1 July 2018

At The Relocatable House Co. we believe in educating our community and clients by sharing our knowledge. This gives you the power to make informed decisions based on facts and experience rather than fears or myths.

Craig Brierly, the design manager at The Relocatable House Co., is passionate about re-using, re-purposing and re-designing existing houses to make them, yet again, somebody’s dream home. He runs a team with three designers and additional contractors available when required.

Craig and his team deal with council and consent applications daily, as they work through multiple applications each week. He has the following advice when it comes to dealing with council:

The Earlier The Better

Talking with councils early in the process can be the difference between a dream project and a nightmare. Avoiding surprises in this process should be of high priority, as surprises often end up being expensive. Researching and understanding the district plan rules is of high importance in this process. To help you, a pre-application meeting is available at regional councils to seek advice from a Council Planner and Building Compliance Officer (BCO). Alternatively, our design team can conduct a Site Audit Report as well as complete your council consent application.

Avoid DIY

We know the DIY genes are strong amongst us Kiwis, however this is one better left to the professionals. Unless you are personally experienced with council consent requirements, this is not something you want to take on yourself. Restricted building work must be designed by a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) qualified designer. This will not only cost you an endless amount of time but will also ultimately cost you more money than you saved by not involving a professional.

Plan Ahead

Council requires 20 business days to process any building or resource consent, once the application has been vetted and granted. There is no “fast-tracking urgent matters”, so planning ahead will save you unnecessary stress. It is likely that you will receive “requests for information” (RFIs); that stop the clock on the 20-day processing time until the questions have been answered adequately. We strongly recommend a minimum 10-day contingency when it comes to project planning.

Online Submissions

The council have now started moving their application process to an online system. This means they often don’t provide you with a printed copy of your approved and stamped plans. However, a copy of your stamped consented drawing is required to be kept onsite during construction. Get your prints organised early to avoid delays to your project.

Specialists Required

It is likely that you will need specialist input at the design stage, this may include a geotechnical report; structural engineering report; land surveyors; and drainage designers and planners. These are required to ensure the designer specifies the correct foundations and other critical information. To avoid any delays or miscommunication, it is best to organise each specialist as early as possible as they are often booked up weeks in advance.


Any professional you engage should be able to show you that they are registered and qualified. Only when using registered and qualified professionals will your project be adequately covered by insurance if something goes wrong. Additionally, restricted building works require LBP certified designers to undertake the design documents. Council will have a list of approved engineers available.

In this business we are constantly working with council, we know who to talk to and what to look out for. Whether you are relocating or looking at alterations and additions, the design team at TRHCo. can help no matter what stage your project is at.

Check us out on our NEW website trhco. co.nz or give us a call to talk to the team 0800 572 3771.

At TRHCo we pride ourselves on the fact that we are a professional services firm in the relocation and removal industry. As a relocation specialist, we can help you achieve your dreams of becoming a property investor, creating equity, sub-dividing your land and creating future income. Land research, project feasibility and project management are all part of our expertise, enabling us to help you save money on demolition and bring you a step closer to your dreams.


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