I want to build in my backyard, now what?
Historically, it was very common for properties to have had some sort of “DIY” building works, whether it be a garden shed, out-house, tree house or internal renovations. These days, it feels like there is so much “red-tape” and cost that comes with doing building work on your land that is very hard to justify doing it (or doing it properly).
So, if you want to build your own shed or addition, this is what you should know:
It’s my land, can’t I just do what I want?
Unfortunately, no. There are rules in place regarding how you can and cannot use your land. This is set out in the relevant ‘District Plan’ prepared by your local council.
You may need to obtain a building or land use consent from the council. These consents give you permission to build a structure or use your land and its natural resources in a way that is not allowed as of right in the District Plan.
Do I need a building or resource consent?
This depends on what you want to do. Generally building consents will be required for any structural building work, new plumbing and drainage works, retaining walls or fences over a certain height or swimming pools. Land use consents, or resource consents, will normally be required for activities such as property development (including building additions or alterations), earthworks, or changes to use of natural resources (ie. water).
If you have engaged a builder or other professional, they will be able to tell you if you need a consent. You can also talk to your local council or look on the council’s website.
If I do need a consent, what do I need to do?
You will need to make an application to your local council. The council will decide whether to grant the consent or not, and may impose conditions on you. It can be a long and drawn out process.
If you have a builder, they will generally apply for any building consent on your behalf. If you need a resource consent and need assistance, our experienced team members can guide you through the process.
What if I need a consent and I don’t want to get one?
If you decide to undertake the work without the proper consent, you will need to be aware that you could later be required by the council to remove or modify the works undertaken. You should also be cautious if you later sell the property, so that the purchaser is not mistaken about it lawfulness of the addition/work.
Do I need to tell my insurance company?
You should talk to your insurance company before you undertake any major works, whether consent is required or not. Depending on your policy, your insurer may require you to obtain a short term construction policy, such as covering loss and damage to materials on site. They may also require documentation on completion, for example, certification from a qualified electrician that works were done to the proper standard.
Holland Beckett Law can help you to determine if your planned works need consent, or with the consenting process.