PIMs - What are they?

A Project Information Memorandum (PIM) is a report issued by Council under the Building Act to help you decide whether your building project is possible and practical. Obtaining a PIM is voluntary, however you should apply for a PIM at an early stage, before applying for a building consent.

A PIM will tell you what Council knows about the proposed site, requirements of the Resource Management Act (RMA) (including whether you may need a resource consent) and other Acts that might affect your proposal and require separate approvals. For example:

  • The location of underground pipes, natural hazards, soil types and other ground conditions
  • The relevant provisions of Council’s Resource Management Plan, Air Quality Plan, council bylaws, the Fire Service Act 1975, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014

An application for a PIM is made using the building consent application form. A PIM application must be accompanied by payment of the fee.  The application should include, or be accompanied by information such as:

  • The intended use of the building
  • The location, description and external dimensions of the proposed building
  • Any change of use, subdivision details, and previous building consents issued for the project
  • Proposed vehicle access, stormwater and wastewater disposal, and connections to public utilities
  • Precautions to protect any existing drains, sewers, wells or water mains
  • Matters potentially relevant for the planning check

Allow plenty of time (at least several weeks) for you and any experts you employ to collect and present the information needed for the PIM application. Council can request further information after you submit the application.

Council must issue the PIM within 20 working days after receiving the application, or within 10 working days after any further information has been received.

What are the benefits of getting a PIM?

A consent applicant or a designer working on their behalf can apply for a PIM at any time if they are considering carrying out building work where a building consent is required.

The PIM will provide information needed to address certain requirements during the design stage of a building project. These include disclosing issues such as potential natural hazards, hazardous contaminants, the details of stormwater and wastewater systems, and requirements for fire evacuation schemes.

Getting this information during the building design phase avoids risks that the building consent process might disclose unexpected requirements leading to costly additional design work or causing delays in obtaining building consents. Knowing potential site issues and designing to accommodate them can also speed up the subsequent building consent processing, as the building consent review process is likely to face fewer requirements for further information or potential flaws in the proposed building design.

A PIM also allows consent applicants or designers to identify requirements for various other authorisations at an early stage, for example whether the proposal requires resource consent. The PIM will disclose requirements for authorisations that are required by the territorial authority or that have been notified to the territorial authority by another statutory authority, for example Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga approval.

The PIM can also give greater certainty to consent applicants or designers by confirming whether or not building work may be able to be undertaken.

Go to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website for more information about PIMs.

Best advice

Even though obtaining a PIM is voluntary, the best advice is to apply for a PIM early, ideally before applying for your building consent.  The more detail and information you provide with your PIM application, the more comprehensive and informative the PIM is going to be.  For example, if you provide elevation plans showing the relevant daylight angles and corresponding ground levels, the Resource Consents team can check compliance with the relevant rules and advise whether or note resource consent is required.

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