16. Awnings

Canvas awning above a window

A building consent is usually not required to attach an awning (eg canvas or fabric) to the ground-floor or first-storey level of a building, if it is under 20 square metres in size.

What the law says

Subject to section 42A of the Building Act, Schedule 1 exempts the following from a building consent:

Building work in connection with an awning that:

(a) is on or attached to an existing building; and
(b) is on the ground or first-storey level of the building; and
(c) does not exceed 20 square metres in size; and
(d) does not overhang any area accessible by the public, including private areas with limited public access, for example, restaurants and bars.

Guidance on the exemption

This exemption relates to awnings which are currently, or are to be, attached to a building’s external envelope or exterior surfaces.

If you are carrying out any building work in relation to awnings, you need to be particularly careful in relation to the weathertightness detailing of such structures. All mechanical connections which penetrate the building envelope and provide support to awnings (eg nuts, bolts or coach screws) must provide adequate resistance to stop moisture penetrating the building, as required under Building Code clause E2 – External moisture.

Example where this exemption could apply

A home owner intends to install a retractable canvas awning of 10 square metres above a first floor kitchen window and over the adjoining deck to provide shade.

Example where building consent is required

A lightweight fabric awning is to be fitted above an apartment deck on the third floor of the building. Although the awning has a total coverage of 18 square metres, it is not covered by this exemption because of its height above ground and a building consent is required.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: