Deciding to renovate is an exciting thing. All that extra room, refreshed decor, and the dream space you have been visualising for years.

The decision has been made, but now what?

Before that dream space can turn into a reality, there are a lot of things that need to happen. The renovation process is an involved one, and that is before the work even begins.

The first step in the process is to find out if you need building consent, then you need to obtain concept plans and working drawings from your chosen architect, then the documents get submitted to the Council for approval. Only when all of those boxes are ticked can the renovations truly begin.

Let’s look at the process in greater detail now.


What Has To Happen Before You Can Renovate?

Step 1: Find Out If You Need Consent

Most major renovation or building work will require you to obtain consent from your local council. This consent ensures that your planned work will meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Act, Building Regulations, and Building Code. The consent is required before any work on your renovations can begin.

The best way to find out of you need consent is to contact a building company. They will come and visit you to view your site and make an assessment of the work that needs to be carried out. Once the builder is aware of the work required, they would advise if you need to apply for building consent or not.

If not, the work could be arranged directly with the builder. But if consent is required, it would be time to get an architect involved for drawing up the plans.


Step 2: Concept Plans And Working Drawings

In this second stage, the Architect and builder would meet with you to assess what you wanted to happen during the renovation. Once they have an understanding of whether you want to add a room, makeover your kitchen, extend your home, or any other number of building tasks, then they would assemble a proposal to draw concept plans.

If you were happy with the proposal, then you would accept and the architect would start drawing up those concept plans. This is a process that takes about 3 months.

Once the concept drawings are prepared, they would be delivered to you for your approval. If you are happy with what the architect has put on paper, then the architect would move onto creating working drawings. They are a set of fully detailed drawings that explain all of the work involved in your renovation project.

These are what are submitted to your local Council to apply for building consent.


Step 3: Submission to Council

Once everyone is happy with the working drawings, they are submitted to the Council for approval. Depending on the situation, your local Council may or may not come back to you, asking for changes to the drawings to ensure compliance with the building regulations.

Then, if the council is happy with the end result, the plans would come back approved. At that stage, the project could be costed by the builder based on those approved drawings. This cost would obviously change if extra detail was required or deleted along the way.

Once you know the cost, you can accept the quote and agree a start date with your builder.

Be aware that this process is not one that can be done in a couple of days. The whole process can take up to 9 months just to get up to a start date.


Things To Prepare For The Process…

It is important to go into this process with your eyes open. Before you even go down the process of applying for building consent, you need to know a couple of things:

  1. The work you want completed

  2. What your financial position is

From the very beginning of the process, you should decide exactly what you want your renovation to entail. Any changes to the plan part way through will involve time delays and additional costs.

You should also be aware of your financial position. If you are going to be borrowing money for your renovation, then speak with your lender right at the start of the process. That way, you will know exactly what you can afford to do and what your budget will be.


A Few Words Of Wisdom From Someone In The Know…

Here at Jack, we choose to align ourselves with the very best in complementary services because we know that a renovation takes more than just a builder. We have been working alongside Ian Penniall from Harbour City Plans for a long time and he consistently creates great results for our clients.

Here are Ian’s pearls of wisdom when it comes to renovations…

“If you are renovating, you need to be looking at the long term and making sure it will work for you in the next 5-10 years. This is particularly critical if you have kids, as their needs change. You want to future proof for later. There is no point in doing renovations, realising you don’t like it, and having to sell a year later, losing money.

Think about what the dream is for your house in 20 years time. Be concrete on your ideas so that we don’t have change things partway through the process.

You also need to allow a really realistic time frame for your project. It will take around 8-12months between me starting the concept plans and the builders starting work.”


If you are considering a renovation, then get in touch with us here at Jack. We offer a fully comprehensive renovations service that involves all the key players - builders, architect, designer, project management and more. We manage all the different parties involved so that you don’t have to!