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Do you need consent for a pole shed in NZ?

Do you need consent for a pole shed in NZ?

Pole sheds nz

The building consent process can be daunting, particularly for large projects. If you are planning a new shed build, you may be wondering whether or not you need to obtain consent, or if your shed is exempt from the Building Code requirements. 

To help you understand New Zealand's consent requirements for pole sheds and simplify the application process, we’ve explained everything in this article. We cover how to interpret the relevant sections of the Building Code, provide industry advice, and share our tips for streamlining the consent process. 


What is a pole shed? 

Pole sheds are often used to house machinery, livestock, and hay, among other things.
Unlike traditional steel sheds, a pole shed is usually built with timber poles that are securely concreted into a hole in the ground. Also known as pole barns or pole buildings, these sheds are often constructed with a variety of steel, wood, and iron cladding.

According to the New Zealand Building Code, pole sheds and hay barns can be enclosed, semi-enclosed or open structures that are used for farming activities in rural zones. 


Pole sheds that require building consent

All pole sheds over 110m² in net floor area require building consent. For any pole shed that is less than 110m² in net floor area, see the below criteria for exemptions

Consent exemptions for pole sheds

If your pole shed meets each of the following criteria, in order, you may not need to obtain building consent: 

  • The shed is single-story.

  • The shed does not exceed 110m² in floor area.

  • The shed does not exceed 4.0m above the floor level.

  • The shed floor level does not exceed 1.0m from the supporting ground.

  • The shed does not exceed an unsupported roof span of 6.0m in any direction.

  • The shed is at least its own height away from any residential building, public road, railway, or legal boundary. Other district or unitary plan boundary rules are also applicable and may override this.

  • The shed is not accessible to the public or used to store hazardous substances.

  • The shed is located in a rural area.

  • The shed is not in a wind zone that is greater than ‘high’ or has a design wind speed of more than 44.0m/per second. Contact your local council for further advice on wind zones or wind speeds.

  • There are no relevant restrictions on what type of materials are used to build a pole shed or hay barn.

If in doubt, use this online tool to determine when you need building consent or read our article about pole shed consent exemptions. 


Key considerations for pole sheds and building consent 

In addition to the above criteria, we recommend thinking about the following factors when planning your pole shed project. 

Conflict with the district plan

If your pole shed is in a rural area, ask your district council if any planned developments in the area may change it to a residential or commercial area. This will help to future-proof your investment and protect you from unexpected costs. 

Change of use

A pole shed used for rural storage must not be converted to another purpose without notifying the council of the proposed change. 


You need to consider the requirements regarding the disposal of stormwater from the roof of your building. You will need to get guidance from a professional and approval from your council.

Design and engineering

Even if your building does not require building consent, you must have a Licensed Building Practitioner to design and build the shed or a Chartered Professional Engineer to sign off on the design. If a Chartered Professional Engineer signs off on the design, anyone can build it. 

Property value

Even when building consent is not required, it does future-proof your building for any district developments, thereby adding value to your property.


How much does building consent cost?

The cost of building consent in New Zealand varies from $1,000 to more than $5,000. This depends on the size and complexity of the project and is broken down into your council’s base fees, processing costs, inspection costs, levies, development contribution fees, code of compliance certificate fees, and more.


How to get building consent

To obtain building consent for your pole shed, you will need to apply with your local council. The consent process varies slightly from council to council so we recommend speaking with a local representative as early as possible. You will need to provide evidence that the proposed building work is compliant with building code requirements. 

At Alpine Buildings, we specialise in sheds over 140m2 – all of which require building consent. That’s why we have a dedicated consent team that works alongside your local council to make the process as seamless as possible for you. 

Our team is more than happy to answer any queries you may have with your project at any stage. Contact us to get some specialist advice or download our full shed brochure for inspiration!

If you have more questions about the consent requirements, download our Buyer’s Guide. Inside you will find a range of industry expertise, step-by-step instructions, and recommendations for your next shed project. 

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