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Do I need council approval for this building? 

Whenever you want to build or add to your property, it always seems there is a minefield of what you can or can’t do with regard to council regulations.

A great place to find out about rules and regulations is by talking to your local council or alternatively you can get most answers by going online to places such as the Ministry of Business and Innovation. https://www.building.govt.nz 

Many property owners will want to have some form of shed, craft room, potting shed or sleep out and often wonder what the rules and regulations are with regard to size, height and position. Also can power be installed and is it ok to use as a sleep out? 

The Ministry of Business and Innovation has very detailed examples of what you can and can’t do with regards to building work on your property. Some of these listed below directly relate to questions asked in regard to purchasing or building a wooden shed/cabin of your own. 

  1.       General repair, maintenance and replacement.

Comparable materials and assembly are to be used; also replacement should be in the same position as the original.  

  1.       Territorial and regional authority discretionary exemption.

Check with your local council on this as some council have the discretion to exempt quite detailed structures. 

  1.       Single story detached buildings not exceeding 10 square meters. 

See full building code information click on this link

 The Department of Building and Housing states, “it is allowable to have a detached building without the need for a building consent but "all building work must comply with the New Zealand Building Code. As long as the building, "does not exceed one storey, does not exceed 10 square meters in floor area, and does not contain sanitary facilities or facilities for the storage of potable water, but may contain sleeping accommodation if the detached building is used in connection with a dwelling". (Building Act 2004: Schedule 4) 

This can be Garden Sheds, Shabby Chic Sheds, Tack sheds, Cabins and Sleep outs.

For sleeping accommodation there must be facilities of an existing house or building (such as a camp cooking room). You must not have any cooking facilities in your detached building as there is a risk of fire. All sleeping areas must have a smoke alarm. 

There are cases however where you will need a building consent. 

If you are a rural land owner and you have a sleep out with a net floor area of 10 square metres and there is no existing residential dwelling on your property, your sleep out will require a building consent. 

You erect a potting shed that is 2.8 metres high and you place it 1 metre from your boundary. You will require consent as your wooden shed is not its own height away from the boundary. 

You decide to include a loft area in your detached sleep out. The floor area of the loft is more that a metre from its supporting ground level therefore it will require a building consent. 

  1.       Unoccupied detached buildings. 

This could be a construction site office.

Make sure you always check that there are no planning requirements for your area (for example daylight planes, and how far you need to be from boundaries. Also sometimes you have rules for maximum coverage of an area). 

  1.       Tents, marquees and similar lightweight structures. 

“Building work in connection with any tent or marquee, or any similar lightweight

structure (for example, a stall, booth, or compartment used at fairs, exhibitions,

or markets) that:

(a) does not exceed 100 square metres in floor area; and

(b)is to be, or has been, used for a period of not more than 1 month.” (Building Act 2004: Schedule 4) 

This can be for events in a public area such as a school gala or a private function like a wedding. 

  1.       Pergolas 

These are simple framed structures that have no roof. You can attach to the side of a building, or have freestanding. There is no limit to the size, but it must not be roofed.

If you decide at a later date to put a roof on your structure and it is greater than 20 square metres, you will need to obtain council approval. 

  1.       Repair or replacement of an outbuilding 

Buildings that are not going to be lived in such as garages, sheds, farm buildings and potting sheds, can be repaired or replaced. But must not be a public building and can only be a single story. 

Another question people frequently ask is what is required when they wish to connect power to their sleep out or craft room. The General rule is to have it done by a professional Electrician to avoid problems that could potentially be fatal. 

Just remember it is always best to ask your local council if you are not sure, after all that is what they are there for.  It is always a good idea to do the job correctly the first time rather than having a potentially costly mistake you need to fix at a later date. 

See full building code information click on this link


This is written to the best knowledge and research of the writer. SheShed and Homelandz take no responsibility for misguided, misused information. This is correct at the date written and it is instructed that all purchasers of sheds do their own investigation to what consents apply in their local council.




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