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Need to change consent conditions?

Updated: Feb 20

It’s not unusual for aspects of a project to change as more detailed design is undertaken. It could be that an original design or materials are too expensive or a new solution to issues is found. This could be building design, materials, internal layout, the location of parking or access. This often means that changes to plans are needed, and sometimes changes to works methodologies. Changes will often require a change to conditions of your resource consent.

How do you make a change?

You can apply to change or cancel conditions of your resource consent under section 127 of the Resource Management Act (RMA). Like a normal resource consent application, this is a formal application that the Council will assess. It can be approved or declined and can also be notified.

In many cases you can lodge the application digitally, and you will also be required to pay for the Council’s processing costs.

In some cases, a variation can cost the same (or more) than the original resource consent. Its important to make sure that you do in fact need to formally vary conditions.

How do I know if a change is required?

We suggest you get advice from your planner about this, as it relates to how the resource consent conditions are worded, the changes you propose and how much flexibility is allowed by the conditions. For example, do you need to change a plan that’s been listed in a condition, does that condition refer to works being “in accordance” or in “general accordance” with the plans? Does the condition refer to “minor changes with Managers Approval”?

Its worthwhile spending time investigating this. Clearly you don’t want to spend more money if you don’t have to.

What will the variation application assess?

An application under s127 RMA relates to changes to consent conditions; those changes are the only things that are assessed. This isn’t an opportunity for the entire project to be reassessed, only the proposed changes. This makes the assessment more confined and restricted.

What do I need to include in a s127 RMA application?

An application under s127 RMA is very similar to the original resource consent in terms of what needs to be submitted, type of assessments and overall layout. You should include:

  • An Assessment of Environmental Effects, detailing the conditions that you wish to change and how you wish to change them, assessing the proposed changes, potential effects and the consistency of the proposal with relevant objectives and policies,

  • Current certificate of title and any related restrictions such as consent notices and land covenants,

  • Plans showing any amendments,

  • Any necessary specialist reports, where these are required to assess the changes proposed. This may include, for example, an updated engineering report, arborist report or traffic engineering report,

  • The approved resource consent and consented plans.

How is the application assessed?

The Council will assess the application but can only consider the changes proposed. The timeframes for this are the same as the original resource consent, being 20 working days, unless further information is requested, or timeframes are extended.

The application can be notified (on a limited or fully notified basis) and can be approved or declined. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a variation is an easy resource consent process; thorough assessments and reporting are required. Not only will this reduce your risk, it will reduce the Council processing times and costs.

Do you need to change your project?

If you have a project that already has resource consent, and you want to make changes get in contact. We will provide you with realistic advice about what changes are needed, and any associated risk. You can contact our resource consent specialists on or 09 427 9966.


As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

© Planning Plus Ltd 2024

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