Compliance Certificates

The first start we make in applying for a licence, is obtaining two certificates of compliance – building and town planning. 

The town planning certificate of compliance can be easily obtained if the premises are located in the central city (where food and beverage is a permitted activity), or have been established by means of resource consent.  If the premises already exist, have been there for years and provide no car parking facilities, we will need to establish what is known as “existing use rights”.  This means visiting the site files at Council and proving to the Council that it was legally established prior to the introduction of car parking requirements.  Hours of operation are also taken into consideration.

It is important to ascertain from the outset how the premises were established and that you can legally do what you want to do on the site. 

Building Code Certificates of Compliance are becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain.  They are issued after a successful inspection with the Building Inspector.  He will be checking to see if the premises meet the requirements of the Building Code and if they are safe for the public to be there.  Proper scale drawings must be provided to Council at the time of application.  These drawings have to include:-

  • Fire egress
  • Disabled facilities; and
  • Maximum occupancy


The inspection is carried once a background check on the premises has been done.  This entails a research of the property file on Council’s records to make sure that all previous building consents issued to the premises have been properly signed off and a Code Compliance Certificate issued.  If there are outstanding consents, these will need to be finalised.  If the consents are historic, it can cause some problems – something you want to know before going unconditional on the business. 

If the premises are in the throes of being renovated or being built, the Inspector has the ability to issue an interim certificate of compliance.  This will only be issued if a building consent for the works has already been granted by Council. 

This means that the application for your licence can be lodged, and a decision made, however, the actual liquor licence will not be issued until final Code Compliance has been obtained. 

These certificates vary in price depending on which Council you apply to.

We strongly recommend applying and receiving these two certificates before you make any unconditional offer on a business or lease.  These are your guarantees that you can do what you want to do on the site, and that there have been no shoddy building work undertaken.  They are an excellent safeguard for a potential purchaser.