What's this new 30sqm rule all about?
If you've been keeping up with the news lately, between all the COVID-19 updates you might have heard something about the new 30sqm building rules that have been introduced recently.
Now while some industry pundits are warning this will lead to a flood of inferior structures popping up in backyards all over the country, we believe most Kiwis realise popsicle sticks and PVA are not suitable building materials, and reckon these new rules can only be a good thing. Because A) it'll save homeowners some $18m in fees annually B) it'll free up Council time to look at more critical consent applications and C) we've all had way too much bad news lately!
But what does it all mean Basil?!?
There's a whole range of exemptions being added to the Building Act, if you want a complete rundown of these check out MBIEs Building Performance website. But as Duratuf are shed builders we're mainly interested in the one about single-storey detached buildings (which include sleep outs, sheds, greenhouses and other similar structures) so we've lifted this from their guidance document for your convenience.
Basically the new exemptions increase the size of a single-storey detached building that can be constructed without a consent. It used to be 10sqm, now it's 30sqm. Three times the fun! Kitchen and bathroom facilities are not included in the exemption. Any plumbing work to a new or current building still requires a building consent, and any electrical work will still have to be carried out by a registered electrician. Plus whatever you build still needs to adhere to the Building Code and any other legislative requirements, like the Resource Management Act 1991, the Electricity Act 1992 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Now, we're not going to breakdown all that legislation completely, but here's a list of considerations Building Performance recommend before beginning your project:
The Building Code requires building materials, components and construction methods to be sufficiently durable to ensure the building (without reconstruction or major renovation) satisfies the other functional requirements of the Building Code for the life of the building.
You must install smoke alarms if the detached building is going to be used for sleeping.
You need to consider the Building Code requirements regarding the disposal of stormwater from the roof of your building. You should seek professional guidance and
seek approval from your council. All new drains must be laid by an authorised drainlayer.
On-site waste water disposal systems
If the building is intended to be a sleepout in connection with an existing dwelling, and the waste water from the existing dwelling discharges to an on-site waste water disposal system (ie a septic tank), you need to check that the existing waste water disposal system has the capacity for the extra persons.
Location of services
You need to confirm the location of any underground services that could affect the location of the build. Check with your local council and an underground services location company to ensure you are not building over any existing below ground services, such as drains, electricity, gas, telecommunications etc
Always check with your local council to make sure your proposed building work does not have any district or regional planning implications taking consideration of maximum site coverage, yard or setback requirements, daylight access planes or permitted activities. A resource consent may be required and it is important that this is obtained before starting any building work.
Building close to boundaries
If you are building close to boundaries, you need to consider the Building Code requirements regarding protection from fire, particularly in relation to the external spread
of fire to neighbouring property.
Measuring the net floor area
The net floor area in a building is measured to the inside of the enclosing walls or posts/columns.
Handily, Building Performance have also provided some examples of what is and isn't exempt.
What is exempt
1. The owners of a commercial property intend to construct a 30 square metre detached building to serve as a garage. The proposed building will be more than its own height away from the boundaries and it contains no potable water supply and no facilities for cooking or sanitation. The owners want to buy a pre-engineered kitset from a proprietary product supplier or manufacturer which has been signed off by a chartered professional engineer for design. The kitset is then installed by the property owner in accordance with the instruction manual.
2. A 25 square metre sleepout is constructed in the backyard of a residential dwelling. It is more than its own height away from all boundaries and the associated residential dwelling, and does not contain cooking or sanitary facilities, or a potable water supply. Plans and specifications associated with the kitsets and prefabs are signed off by a chartered professional engineer. Subsequently, the work is carried out in accordance with that design.
What needs consent
1. A homeowner decides to build a sleepout with a net floor area of 31 square metres on a property that has a residential dwelling on it. This sleepout would require a building consent as its floor area is greater than 30 square metres.
2. A homeowner decides to construct a shed with a net floor area of 25 square metres on a property that has a residential dwelling on it. The prefabricated shed is imported from overseas without design sign off from a Chartered Professional Engineer. This shed would require a building consent as it was not designed or reviewed by a chartered professional engineer
3. A 25 square metre sleepout is constructed in the backyard of a residential dwelling. It is more than its own height away from all boundaries and the associated residential dwelling, and does not contain cooking or sanitary facilities or a potable water supply. Although the building designed by a chartered professional engineer, the building is not made of kitset or prefabricated products. The building will require a building consent because the structural components are not kitset or prefabricated products (exemption 3B may apply if the work is carried out or supervised by a licensed building practitioner).
What has Duratuf got in the 30sqm range?
At the moment, errrm nothing! These changes have come as a bolt from the blue! But our R&D team are working furiously to get some to the market. These will be larger versions of our popular Lifestyle Range models. And yes they'll all be signed off by a chartered professional engineer, and built from quality NZ grown pine and hi-tensile Armorsteel cladding. So you can be sure they're rock-solid!
We hope this article has left you a bit better informed about what this 30sqm rule is about. If the idea of a 30sqm shed, garage, sleep-out, home office sounds pretty appealing we'll have plenty of options to suit, and we'd be more than happy to help get your project underway so please get in touch.
For more information on the new guidelines visit building.govt.nz
Download the Building Performance Guidance document.