30. Demolition of detached building

Demolition of a detached building

A building consent is not required to demolish a detached building up to 3 storeys high.

What the law says

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

The complete demolition of a building that is detached and is not more than 3 storeys.

Guidance on the exemption

This exemption has been expanded from the previous exemption (l) to allow the full demolition of all detached buildings up to 3 storeys high whether or not they are damaged. However, partial demolition is no longer exempt from building consent, other than as permitted by exemption 31.

If you are considering demolishing an existing building under this exemption, we recommend that you also consider the following:

  • terminating services such as water, sewer, and stormwater by capping and sealing them inside the boundary
  • contacting the relevant service authorities to advise them of the extent of your work: this includes electricity, gas, drainage, water, transport, telecommunications, cable television and any other services that may be affected
  • handling and disposing of hazardous building materials
  • controlling silt runoff, excess noise and dust generated by the demolition work, and
  • securing the site (eg with a temporary fence or hoardings) to restrict public access to the area and avoid injury to members of the public.

Check with your council

As a building owner, you should also check council requirements for the repair and reinstatement of any damage to the road reserve. We recommend that you use skilled and professional building practitioners for major demolition work. No demolition work should be undertaken on heritage or character buildings without first checking with your local council for its approval.

Examples where this exemption could apply

Following an earthquake, the owner decides to demolish her severely damaged 2 storey, detached family home.
The new owner of an old wooden single storey, detached holiday home plans to demolish it to make way for his new dream holiday home.

Examples where building consent is required

Following a fire, a shop owner decides to demolish his damaged shop which is attached to another building (ie it is semi-detached) that is not damaged. A building consent is required because the building is not detached.
To make way for a new apartment block, the owner of a 4 storey commercial building intends to demolish it. A building consent is required because the building is more than 3 storeys.

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: