Fraud Blocker

Barely a week goes by in New Zealand without headlines about council consent and the consequences for people who needed one but didn’t get one, who went about it wrong, or who are frustrated by the holdup—is your planned garden cabin at risk from the same?

Lifestyle Cabins are made from solid wood and offer an attractive option for those seeking additional space or a garden retreat. Still, before you start your cabin project, it’s important to understand your local authority’s requirements, particularly regarding building consent.

The good news is that New Zealand’s Building Code offers an exemption for single-storey detached buildings under 30 square metres in floor area. This exemption applies to structures such as cabins, sleepouts, and sheds. 

Meeting this size criteria can streamline the process, potentially eliminating the need for building consent. With that in mind, all Lifestyle Cabins are less than 30 square metres. 

Conditions for the 30sqm exemption

There are, however, a few key conditions to satisfy to qualify for this exemption:

  • Kitset is key: The cabin must be a prefabricated or kitset structure. These arrive with pre-cut components and clear assembly instructions. Every single Lifestyle Cabin meets these requirements.
  • Engineer-verified design: The manufacturer or supplier must have had a chartered professional engineer design or review the cabin’s structure. This ensures the building meets safety and durability standards. All Lifestyle Cabins fulfil these criteria.
  • Following instructions is important: The cabin’s assembly, whether by yourself or a contractor, must strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. This ensures the pre-engineered design functions as intended.

When building consent is necessary for your Kitset Garden Cabin

While the 30sqm exemption offers a simple route for many, there are situations where building consent becomes mandatory:

  • Exceeding the size limit: When your cabin extends beyond 30 square metres, a building consent is required.
  • Custom-Built cabins: Cabins that are not prefabricated kits, even if under 30sqm, necessitate a building consent.
  • Adding Amenities: Incorporating features like bathrooms, cooking facilities, or a permanent water supply into your cabin automatically disqualifies it from the exemption.

Beyond the exemption: Consulting your local council

Even if your cabin qualifies for the exemption, it’s vital to consult with your local council. District planning regulations might have additional stipulations regarding placement, proximity to boundaries, and specific uses. 

For instance, some councils might have limitations on how close your cabin can be to your main residence.

Planning for a smooth process

A lifestyle cabin can be a valuable addition to your property, but a little pre-planning can make a significant difference. By familiarising yourself with the 30sqm exemption and consulting with your local council, you can make your dream cabin a reality – all within the legal framework. 

Talk to the team here at Lifestyle Cabins about how we can connect you with contractors to assist with the assembly process if you’re not too keen on DIY yourself.

Take the time to research your options, understand the regulations, and start planning your garden retreat.