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From 31 August buildings up to 30 square metres won’t need consents

Since the Government added more exemptions to the Building Act, single storey, detached buildings up to 30 square metres generally won’t need a building consent.

The changes don’t apply to extensions to your existing home or buildings with plumbing and you’ll still need to comply with the NZ Building Code. 

The exemptions include things like:

  • sleep-outs
  • sheds
  • carports up to 40 square metres 
  • greenhouses
  • outdoor fireplaces and ovens
  • ground-mounted solar array panels – urban and rural conditions apply
  • ground floor awnings up to 30 square metres
  • ground floor verandas and porches up to 30 square metres
  • flexible water storage bladders
  • small pipe supporting structures, that only carry water, on private land
  • short span (small) bridges on private land
  • single storey pole sheds and hay barns in rural zones

That’s great news for homeowners, but before you grab a hammer and get going, there are some important things to know.

Useful links

Schedule 1 of the Building Act

Building Code compliance

Summary of new exemptions

Check if you need a building consent

District Plan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For further explanation we've put together some handy answers to questions you may have about the new exemptions.

Building Consent Exemption FAQs

Also view

New building exemptions brochure [PDF, 4.4 MB] PDF document

Important steps to take before getting started

Step 1 - Check if you need a building consent

Step 2 – Check with a planner

  • Find out if your project complies with the planning rules in our District Plan, local bylaws and resource consent requirements.
  • Each council has their own set of rules that apply to their specific District Plan. Our plan tells you things like how much of your land you can develop and how close you can build to a boundary while making sure you don’t block out all your neighbour’s sunlight.
  • Make an appointment with one of our planners. Phone 07 862 8609 or 0800 734 834

Step 3 – Check if you need a professional or if you can build it yourself

  • Most buildings (including kitset buildings) must be designed by a chartered professional engineer.
  • It’s also likely your building work will need to be checked or supervised by a licensed Building Practitioner.
  • Only buildings made from lightweight materials, like greenhouses, can be put up without using a professional – but they still need to comply with the Building Code.
    • The Building Code is a set of detailed structural guidelines for all buildings in Aotearoa New Zealand. It sets clear expectations of building standards for things like wind zones, rainfall, structural stability fire safety, access, moisture control, durability, services and facilities, and energy efficiency.
  • Unless you are certified, you shouldn’t attempt to do any wiring or major plumbing jobs yourself.
What you need to know about single storey, detached buildings and the new exemptions

The new exemptions do not apply to a building that is closer than the measure of its own height to any residential building or to any legal boundary. You’ll need a building consent and planning permission for that.
If you are providing sleeping accommodation in such a building, note that the facilities (eg portable water) of an existing dwelling must be readily available and used for sanitation, and the building cannot include cooking facilities because of the risk of fire.

There are three categories for single storey, detached buildings, each with their own conditions:

Single-storey detached buildings up to 30sqm in floor area with prefab or kitset components where a manufacturer or supplier has had the design carried out or reviewed by a Chartered Professional Engineer.

Single-storey detached buildings not exceeding 30 sqm in floor area, where a Licensed Building Practitioner is to carry out or supervise design and construction.

Single-storey detached buildings between 10 and 30sqm in floor area, using lightweight material can be built by a non-professional, where only lightweight materials with structural components built in accordance to Building Code compliance B1/AS1 are used.

How 30 square meters is measured:

The net floor area of a single storey, detached building is limited to a maximum of 30 square metres.

The net floor area in a building is measured to the inside of the enclosing walls or posts/columns.

net floor area



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