Building – a guide to getting started

MeasuringThis page links you with information about building and renovating.

Search our catalogue

Design and construction topics can be searched by subject. Start with whatever you are building, add the words design and construction and do a subject search. For example:

Some subjects have their own heading, such as shelving (furniture).

Browse our latest house and DIY titles.


RBdigital Magazines features a number of building and home renovation magazines, including Home Renovations, Dwell, Inside OutThe Family Handyman and more.

Find more magazines by searching on the subject Building – Periodicals and House Construction – Periodicals.

Cover of The Family Handyman Cover of Dwell Cover of Home renovation magazine


Building and construction links
Building and constructions websites listed in our Internet Gateway, including useful weathertightness links.
Standards provide specifications to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions, to ensure that materials, products, and services are fit for their purpose. Find out how you can access the ones you need.
Standards New ZealandLogo of Standards New Zealand
Search New Zealand standards and access all New Zealand (NZS) and joint Australian & New Zealand (AS/NZS) Standards that are available in PDF format. Includes New Zealand Standards and Earthquake FAQs under the “services” tab.
Access this at any of our libraries.
Home Improvement Collection
Home improvement articles for the hobbyists and the professional alike. Coverage includes architectural techniques, tool and material selection, and much more.
Use at a library or enter your library card & password / PIN.

Check with your council before you start

Building and DIY projects need to follow certain guidelines – for safety and weathertightness, for example.

Before you start a building project, it pays to be informed. For most projects, such as decks, pools, or additions, building consent needs to be applied for and issued before building work commences. Resource consent may also be required.

Working with your local council

Local councils administer the compliance process for their area, inspecting buildings and issuing consents. Consents must be applied for and issued before building work commences. MBIE's Building Performance site has a good guide to understanding the building consent process.

The consents and licences section of the Christchurch City Council web site includes information about building forms and charges, design and planning guides, as well as information on building consents. Consent application forms are available on the Christchurch City Council site.

Other district councils, such as Selwyn, Hurunui and Waimakariri will have regulations and by-laws specific to their area.

Christchurch City Council building information

Building law in New Zealand

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) outlines building law in New Zealand on its Building Law and Compliance page.


This list will help you find authoritative sites that clearly define building-industry related terms, and act as an introduction to building law and the compliance process.

LIM – Land Information Memorandum
Information from the Christchurch City Council. Anyone may apply for a LIM, which gives information on any piece of land, including (among other information) any building consents or other authorisations applying to buildings on the land.
PIM – Project Information Memorandum
Information from the Christchurch City Council. The PIM provides an applicant with information relevant to the proposed building work, other than the normal requirements under the Building Act, 1991. This information enables the applicant to assess the feasibility of the project before proceeding with a Building Consent application with the Council.
Standards New Zealand Glossary of building terms (NZMP 4212:1998)
It is available at Tūhuratanga | Discovery, Level 3, Tūranga. New Zealand Standards are also accessible online in our libraries.
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