Your planning checklist

Scope the project

  • Decide what you want and need. (What’s a must and what’s a bonus?)
  • Are there any special requirements associated with your site, such as a need for earthworks or heritage restrictions? (This information is available from your council.)
  • How involved do you want to be? (For example, do you have the time and expertise to be a hands-on project manager?)

Organise your finances

  • What is your total budget?
  • Arrange finance if required.

Complete the design

  • Decide your design needs - do you want an architect, draftsperson or designer/builder? (From 1 March 2012, Restricted Building Work must be carried out or supervised by a licensed building practitioner. Design of primary structure and external moisture management systems of houses and small-to-medium-sized apartment buildings, and the design of fire safety systems in small-to-medium-sized apartment buildings is Restricted Building Work and your designer must be licensed to do or supervise this.)
  • Appoint the designer and confirm the contract.
  • Brief the designer and ensure they understand the budget.
  • Agree on concept drawings.
  • Optional - get a PIM.
  • Go through the design in great detail. How will you use the space? What will it look like? Will there be enough light? Once your consent is issued, it is costly and time-consuming if you change your mind. Variations from the consented plans may lead to problems getting the work signed off.
  • Confirm the final plans.

Arrange project management

  • Decide who will manage the project. It could be your architect, designer, builder or a professional project manager. If you wish to manage it yourself, be aware that it is likely to be a major responsibility.
  • Confirm the project management contract if project management is not covered in your design or building contracts.

Project manager arranges the builder and other tradespeople

  • Decide what kind of building contract you want. Typically, there’s labour only (the builder supplies the labour, the project manager supplies everything else), managed contract (the builder manages the project and the subtrades such as plumbers and plasterers, but doesn’t supply the materials) and full contract (the builder manages everything).
  • Optional - get a quantity surveyor to confirm how much of each material is needed, based on your plans, and provide a cost estimate.
  • Approach a shortlist of builders and ask for tenders and quotes, based on the project plans and/or the quantity surveyor’s report. Make sure they can work within your timeframe.
  • Choose a builder.
  • Follow the same process to engage subcontractors if required.
  • Get a written contract with your builder, including details of guarantees, payment schedules and completion dates. Because the Act requires that builders use new materials unless otherwise specified, your contract will also need to specify whether any recycled materials are to be used.

Review your plans and budget

  • Review the plans and budget. If you need to alter your plans to reduce costs, do it now before you apply for your building consent. If you don’t, and you want to make variations later, you will need to apply for the consent to be amended first and this will involve a fee and a time delay for your project.

Get a building consent and any resource consents

  • If you didn’t get a PIM, confirm with your council what consents and permits will be needed.
  • Ensure your building consent application has all the required documentation to show compliance with the Building Code, and pay the fee.
  • Apply for a resource consent and any other permits, if required.

Begin construction

  • Monitor progress.
  • Pay bills as milestones are met.
  • Organise inspections and ensure they are occurring as required. Typical inspections will include:
    • foundations
    • framing
    • insulation
    • plumbing
    • drainage
    • cladding and flashings
    • finished building.
  • Collect energy work certificates for electrical and gas work as it is finished.
  • Ensure the building is progressing in accordance with the plans and the building consent is amended if changes are made.

Complete your project

  • Ensure everything has been done as per the contracts and the plans.
  • Ensure all fees to the building consent authority and/or council have been paid.
  • Apply for a code compliance certificate from your building consent authority. Make final payment to your project manager and builder, if this is specified in your contract.