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40. Plinths

Concrete plinth supporting a utility cabinet

Building work related to plinths or foundations for plant/machinery and the like doesn't require a building consent if the design has been carried out or reviewed by a chartered professional engineer.

What the law says

Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 states the following:

Building work in connection with any plinth or similar foundation if the plinth or foundation supports plant, a tank, equipment, machinery, or any similar item.

Guidance on the exemption

This exemption recognises that plinths usually involve specific engineering design because of the need to support heavy loads (eg tanks, mechanical items like printing presses and metal working machines, or large statues).

It acknowledges the fact that requiring a building consent when the plinth has already been designed by a chartered professional engineer would add compliance costs (which are usually disproportionate to the construction costs) for little benefit.

Examples where this exemption could apply

Constructing a plinth (designed by a chartered professional engineer) for a tank.
A company plans to build a concrete base to support heavy machinery in a plant room. The base design has been reviewed by a chartered professional engineer

Example where building consent is required

Constructing a reinforced concrete base (not designed or reviewed by a chartered professional engineer) for several stainless steel holding vats in a winery. A building consent is required because the design was neither designed nor reviewed by a chartered professional engineer.

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: