Certificates of Compliance

This note has been updated for 2017 and 2020 amendments but not updated for best practice.

This note provides guidance on preparing, processing and issuing Certificates of Compliance (CoC) under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

Specific guidance is also provided on dealing with proposals that involve both permitted and non-permitted components, known as hybrid activities.

This guidance note does not address existing use certificates under s139A.


Section 139 provides that a council, on request, must issue a CoC if the activity can be done lawfully on the site without resource consent and the council fee is paid. Regional councils, territorial authorities and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) can issue CoCs. Each agency can only issue CoCs for matters for which they are responsible. Once issued, a CoC is deemed a resource consent under s139(10) of the RMA.

Where a proposal involves both permitted and non-permitted components (a 'hybrid activity'), a CoC can be issued for the permitted component, if it can be separated from the non-permitted components. An example of a hybrid activity could be a new transmission line, which is permitted within the road reserve, but is a discretionary activity within a certain zone.

Information requirements for CoCs are rigorous and the onus rests on an applicant to provide the council with full information to demonstrate a CoC can be issued. If any element of non-compliance is identified, then a CoC cannot be issued. While there is no set form under the RMA regulations, a request for a CoC should be in the form of an application to ensure adequate details are provided.

This note provides guidance and direction for practitioners on dealing with applications for CoCs.