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How to respond to a building notice for unauthorised works

We issue building enforcement notices for illegal building work and other breaches to the Building Regulations 2006.

We do not issue building permits retrospectively after illegal work has been carried out.

A notice explains the reason it has been issued and requires the owner of the property, building or land to justify why (‘show cause’) they should not demolish the building work within the specified time frame.

By choosing to ‘show cause’, you are asking us to permit the illegal structure to:

  • remain in its current form
  • be corrected, under a building permit, to reach compliance

If you decide to demolish the structure

You must inform the Municipal Building Surveyor because we may need to issue a building order before the demolition of the illegal work can proceed.

If you decide to show cause to try to justify the illegal structure

You will need to explain why the work was done without a building permit and provide evidence that the structure complies with the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006.

We highly recommend that you seek independent advice from a registered Private Building Surveyor (PBS).

They can assess the illegal work and determine the level of rectification work required to achieve compliance.

For domestic buildings, appropriate evidence must include but is not limited to:

  • compliant architectural drawings clearly indicating any required rectification work
  • engineer's certified structural report
  • copy of Report and Consents issued  by any relevant reporting authority
  • PBS report verifying compliance of the structure with the Act and Regulations, in its current form or after rectification work
  • building permit by the PBS for relevant rectification work and completion of the structure
  • any other documentation the PBS deems necessary to support compliance

Your evidence should also include the names of the contractors who undertook the work and costs incurred.

The Private Building Surveyor will coordinate other building practitioners that may need to intervene in the preparation of documents, including:

  • architectural drawings (showing required rectifications, if any)
  • engineering report
  • certification of the design and the building work:
  • if the work is structurally correct, the engineer must provide structural details and certificates of compliance
  • if the work requires structural correction, you must provide engineer-certified details of these
  • a general compliance report by the PBS

You must submit all documentation to us for assessment and determination. You will need a building permit to carry out the correction work.

After you show cause

After considering your submission, we may decide that:

  • the work does not comply and must be demolished
  • the work complies and can remain
  • the work in its current form does not fully comply and you can either obtain a building permit to alter the work and reach compliance, or demolish it.