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Building Consent / Legal Off grid

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Building Consent / Legal Off grid

Posted 26 Dec '19 09:02 AM

Hi everyone, I am trying to get bit more information about living off grid in NZ.
Thing is that if you look into trademe or any other site selling houses/lifestyle block/land etc you will find relatively cheap places.

You can find remote lands, with already established buildings, etc. but thing is that everything without any paperwork. Basically all illegal structures, no building consents, no code of compliance etc.

So my questions are:

1. Nobody cares ? There is no enforcement here, or why is that ?
2. What are the repercussions of building without having documents, as per council sites, there are quite huge fines + possible removal of structures
3. When I am trying to speak to "certified tradesmen" -> electricians, plumbers etc, which you are required to call by law, when you are building your house yourself, there are not actually happy about "just checking" your work, but they want to do labour themselves.
4. what about loans/mortgages, as every single bank told me that if you think about doing something out of the box -> kitset house, diy, offgrid, buying just land etc...you will end up having big interest + deposit with like 50%. How did you sort out finance then ?

RE: Building Consent / Legal Off grid

Posted 05 Jan '20 10:48 PM

I am also interested in this topic. I am planning to build a tiny house in second half of 2020 in NZ and would like to understand better the process for someone who has actually gone through the council planning and building approval process to do it as a legitimate permanent residence on trailer.


RE: Building Consent / Legal Off grid

Posted 09 Jan '20 09:25 PM

Hi Tomas,

I think you about right on all your points.
1. Not than many people care, but especially if they are made aware, councils are obliged and have the power to take notice and ensure the buildings are legal. If you have an illegal building you can sell it, but will create its own problems like reduced value, insurance, finance problems etc.
2. As you state, the repercussions, could be fines/removal and achieving retrospective compliance (Certificate of Acceptance - COA) likely to be difficult to get, as all the things the council need to see, are covered and not visible.
3. Generalising, I think your correct about the trades people. They are very busy at the moment and many can choose their work. Why risk their liability on someone else's work? Some will check your work, but i think the preference will be for them to complete it all.
4. I'm not sure 'off grid' means higher loan rates or loan to value ratios.

I think there is a confusion between 'off grid' and non compliant... My advise would be to get a Resource and Building Consent and build legitimately. A simple/small building doesn't have to be expensive. You can design and build yourself (Restricted Building Work - Homeowner exemptions) and build to the New Zealand Building Code. It isn't that hard - its the worst possible standard to build in a compliant manner!

Good luck and keep us updated.
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