24. Decks, platforms, bridges and boardwalks

River boardwalk and house deck

A building consent is not required for decks, platforms, bridges, boardwalks and similar structures where you can't fall more than 1.5 metres.

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 a deck, platform, bridge, boardwalk, or the like from which it is not possible to fall more than 1.5 metres even if it collapses.

Guidance on the exemption

A building consent is not required for work on decks, platforms, bridges, boardwalks and like structures where it is not possible to fall more than 1.5 metres. Note that a safety barrier is still required under Building Code clause F4 – Safety from falling where there is a fall of 1 metre or more.

Check with your council

Always check with your local council to ensure the proposed building work does not have any district planning implications (eg maximum site coverage, yard/setback requirements, daylight access planes and permitted activities). A resource consent may be required and it is important that you obtain this before starting any building work.

Examples where this exemption could apply

A low-level deck is constructed to create a level entry to a dwelling. The deck has a maximum height of 500 mm above ground level.
A building owner constructs a 50 square metre deck with a maximum height of 900 mm above ground and attached to two sides of a building. Even if the deck were to collapse, the fall would be less than 1.5 metres.
The owner of a resort intends to build a boardwalk across some rough ground to give guests access to an ornamental garden and play area. The highest point of the boardwalk is 1.5 metres above the ground. To prevent guests from falling off the boardwalk, a safety barrier is installed on both sides.

Examples where building consent is required

A home owner wants to construct a platform in conjunction with other landscaping work. The landscaping work will result in a reduced ground level at the rear exit of the building. As the proposed platform will have a finished height above ground level of 1.7 metres, it will require a building consent. (A safety barrier will also be required under Building Code clause F4 as there is a fall of 1 metre or more.)
The owner of a multi-storey apartment complex intends to provide outdoor decks to the apartments on the upper levels. This work will require a building consent as it is possible for a person to fall more than 1.5 metres. (A safety barrier will also be required under Building Code clause F4 as there is a fall of 1 metre or more.)

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: