Making changes to forms
Only certain changes can be made to the prescribed forms to ensure a high level of national consistency.
Regulation 6(2) of the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004 restricts the extent to which users of the forms can make changes to the content, as follows:
Use of any … form is not invalid only because it contains minor differences from a form prescribed by these regulations as long as the form that is used -
(a) has the same effect as the prescribed form and is not misleading; and
(b) contains all the information required by the prescribed form and the information is in the same order as appears on the prescribed form.
Restricting the ability to alter the forms also ensures that the Department of Building and Housing has a high level of certainty about the information that will be collected and kept by building consent authorities and territorial authorities.
Changes that can be made to the forms will generally fall into one of two categories.
- Additional information
The various items required in the forms can be expressed in different ways, provided that the differences are minor, all items are included, are in the same order, and the form is to the same effect as the prescribed form and is not misleading.
Many of the items could be rewritten as questions. ‘Street address of building’ in Form 2 could be rewritten as ‘What is the street address of the building the project relates to?’ or ‘First point of contact for communications with the building consent authority’ could be rewritten as ‘Who should the building consent authority first get in touch with if it wants to discuss your application?’
Similarly, it would be within the allowance of ‘minor differences’ to expand the wording of some items.
‘Description of the building work’ in Form 2 could be rewritten as ‘Please provide a detailed description of the building work you want to carry out’.
The forms may also present the information in a different format (for example, use of tables, tick boxes, extra space between items) as long as the information is in the same order as appears on the prescribed form.
Building consent authorities will of course need to add their details to the forms, such as branding and contact information.
In addition, further statements can be added to the forms where they are relevant to users’ needs and could reasonably be expected to be included in the form.
The main requirement for this type of change is that the differences are minor, the form must be to the same effect, and it must not be misleading.
Application forms could have words added to them that set out factual information regarding how the information gathered on the form will be subject to Privacy Act and Official Information Act obligations.
Many forms have a ‘Space for Council use’. This space is intended for use by building consent authorities for inserting information that is relevant to the processing of applications, for example, date received, unique identifier number, etc. It is not intended that this space be used for non-processing related information.
We would like your feedback
The Department monitors the use of forms and continually looks for ways they can be improved.
If you wish to make a comment regarding any of the forms, please provide the following information using the email or postal details below.
- Your name
- Your organisation (if relevant)
- Your postal address
- Your email address
- Detail of your feedback, set out as shown below
||Item (eg, street address)
||Suggested amendment (if any)
Please write ‘Feedback on forms’ in the subject line and address to the ‘Building Policy Team, Department of Building and Housing’ in the body of the email. email@example.com
Feedback on Forms
Building Policy Team
Department of Building and Housing
PO Box 10-729