Christchurch Deck Building Requirements

One question we are regularly asked by people wanting to construct a deck is, what are the Christchurch deck building requirements? Does the council have rules I have to follow? Do I need some form of building consent?

The answer very much depends on the nature of the deck you wish to build. A Building Consent certifies that your structure meets the requirements of the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code, but every council has their own specific requirements.

In many situations, there are no requirements for you to obtain a building consent. For instance,

  • you are simply carrying out renovations on an existing deck (as long as it doesn’t affect the overall structure or fire safety),
  • you are building a deck that is lower than 1.5 metres from the ground (1.0 metres for the Selwyn District),
  • you are building a deck that is not attached to a house.

In these situations, it is perfectly acceptable for you to use non-MSG rated timber such as a No. 2 Frame Grade and galvanised (or non-steel) fittings. There are no specific requirements for these decks and no requirements for any inspections.

If you are including the deck as part of a larger project, which requires a building consent, such as a new home with a connected deck, there will be requirements. You will need a Building Consent that covers your project as a whole.

Likewise, you will need a Building Consent, and there are rules that you need to follow if you are building a deck higher than 1.5 metres off the ground (Selwyn District Council specifies 1.0 metres).

In the situations where your council requires you to obtain a Building Consent, you need to ensure that you use structural timber when building the sub-frame. The New Zealand Building Code also requires you to use stainless steel fixings.

It is important that you understand the Christchurch deck building requirements before you begin your projects. The last thing you want is to spend time, energy and money building a deck using the wrong types of timber and fittings without a required consent. In the worst case, the Council can fine you heavily and even demand the destruction of your deck.

If you do need to apply for a Building Consent give yourself plenty of time to go through the process. Councils have 20 working days from the time you provide them with all the necessary information they need to process a Building Consent.

There are specific building code requirements for both the Christchurch City Council and Selwyn District Council. These websites also give you the processes that you will need to go through should your deck require a Building Consent.

If you are in any way uncertain about how to apply the deck building requirements to your project, come in any chat to the wood gurus and deck experts at One Stop Deck Shop. They are sure to put your mind at ease and provide you with expert advice on your specific decking requirements.

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