On the 24th May the government announced significant changes to planning rules in an effort to boost construction in a post-COVID-19 lockdown New Zealand. The intention is to save homeowners $18m in consenting each year, and while buildings must still comply with building regulations, this reduction in red tape as well as cost is hoped to spur growth and investment that may have been previously sidelined. The new exemptions will save building owners time and money, by not having to go to their local council for consent for common, low-risk building work. This reduction in building consents will also allow Councils to focus on building work that is higher-risk, helping to boost productivity.
After an influx of questions from our clients regarding the potential of new council exemptions on pole sheds, the A-Team thought it may be time to outline what we know so far.
What the Government have said
The government has mentioned that the new exemptions are expected to commence in August, however the exemption for Licensed Building Practitioners may not be initiated until later this year. Although the new building exemptions can be done without the help of a professional, the first type of exemption will require the design to be carried out/signed off by a CPEng (Chartered professional Engineer), where the second type of exemption requires the design to be carried out/signed off by a LBP (Licensed Building Practitioner).
While single story detached buildings (such as sheds, sleep-outs, greenhouses, carports, awnings etc) have increased from 10sqm to 30sqm in area without requiring building consent, it is also worth noting that single level pole sheds and hay barns may be exempt from council-approved building consents. For an overview of the new exemptions, please visit building.govt.nz.
If a pole shed or hay barn is to be built without a building consent, the design work must be carried out by (or signed off by), a CPEng (Chartered professional Engineer) and will require plans to be completed and signed off with a PS1 (Producer statement). At Alpine Buildings, plans drawn up by our in-house design team are done so in collaboration with engineers to get a PS1 (producer statement) which is designed to AS/NZS1170 and/or other relevant standards.
This process can take a few weeks, so even if you’re considering waiting to invest in your new shed until August for the confirmed exemption plan, we would advise you to still get your project underway so the Alpine Buildings team can get your plans completed and through to the engineer for final sign off as early as possible. Having the necessary paperwork and plans done before will get you in line for delivery before the rush later on. If by any chance your building situation doesn’t meet the government's exemption criteria, then our consenting team can organise this for you and lodge it into council as part of our service with no hassle at all without you seeing the delays that others might experience from waiting.
Regardless of the proposed exemptions, the district plan and rules for each different council will still need to be adhered too. For example; the new building will need to be set back from boundaries, adhere to maximum site coverage, observe the maximum height allowed, stick to special zoning requirements and other relevant rules that are set out in your council’s district plan. Feel free to contact the team at Alpine if you have any questions around this, or alternatively contact the duty planner at your local council as they are usually willing to give pre-lodgement advice.
Past Exemption Experiences
There have been cognate government exemptions before, for example a few years ago the government published a similar exemption for farm buildings regarding to consents not being required/exemptions. However, after investigating the criteria and regulations our clients found it worked out to be a lot more efficient and easier to just complete a standard building consent as per normal. This had a lot less complications; process was smoother, and our consent team could handle it all on behalf of the customer. This was obviously a win from their perspective!
Our experienced in-house consent team have worked with every council in New Zealand and know what is required for each separate council. This saves a lot of time and hassle for you as our team know exactly what is needed in each step of the process and they have overcome many different challenges along the way.