5. Tents, marquees, and similar lightweight structures

Marquees at an open air market

A building consent is not required for tents, stalls, marquees and booths under 100 square metres in size, and in place for no longer than a month.

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 any tent or marquee, or any similar lightweight structure (for example, a stall, booth, or compartment used at fairs, exhibitions, or markets) that:

(a) does not exceed 100 square metres in floor area; and
(b) is to be, or has been, used for a period of not more than 1 month.

Guidance on the exemption

This exemption allows you to construct, alter or remove a tent or marquee that is being used either for public assembly (eg at a school gala) or private use (eg for a wedding reception). However, this is only if the tent or marquee does not exceed 100 square metres and is not in place for more than a month.

This exemption also recognises the simple construction and temporary nature of stalls used at fairs, exhibitions (such as trade shows) and market events. The restrictions on maximum floor area have been imposed to avoid potential safety problems.

Examples where this exemption could apply

A tent with a floor area of 100 square metres is erected at a sports event. The tent is dismantled after three days.
The owner of a restaurant puts up a marquee with a floor area of 80 square metres outside his restaurant to cater for extra patrons during a sports event. The marquee is dismantled the next day.
A large number of tents and marquees are erected on a sports ground for a three day long wine and food festival. Each tent and marquee has a floor area of less than 100 square metres.
A tent is erected for the display of farm animals at a field show over the weekend. The tent has a floor area of 90 square metres.
A property owner erects a tent with a floor area of 90 square metres for a birthday function in her back yard. It will only be there for the Easter weekend (ie four days).
A tent with a floor area of 50 square metres is erected in a yard to store catering supplies and equipment and to house the bar service area during a function. The tent is dismantled the next day.
A 75 square metre stall is put up at a trade show for a week.
The owner of a weekend market stall increases the stall’s size from 50 square metres to 70 square metres.
The operator of a fun fair erects a number of booths for four weeks. The booths are not physically connected to each other and none of them have a floor area of more than 100 square metres.
Following a recent increase in the number of car park users at an exhibition centre, an additional ticket booth is installed in the car park for a week until a more permanent solution can be found. The floor area of the booth is 6 square metres.

Examples where building consent is required

A marquee with a floor area of 125 square metres is erected for a function. Although the function is only for a night, the marquee is over the 100 square metre size limitation and will consequently require a building consent.
A vineyard owner erects a marquee with a floor area of 75 square metres for wine tasting. He plans to keep the marquee up for the entire summer (ie three months), so a building consent is required.
A circus company intends to erect a tent with a floor area of 300 square metres for its show. This exceeds the maximum allowable floor area of 100 square metres and will require a building consent.
Two 75 square metre marquees are erected and then joined together by an enclosed awning. This causes the size of the joined marquees to go beyond the 100 square metre limitation so a building consent is required.
A café owner proposes to erect a permanent 90 square metre marquee for patrons to use. As she intends this marquee to remain in place for longer than a month, a building consent is required.
Organisers of a wine and food festival put up several 125 square metre stalls. As the area of each stall is greater than 100 square metres, 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: