2.5 Unoccupied detached buildings for housing fixed plants or machinery

Storage building on an industrial site

Certain unoccupied buildings that don't normally pose a safety risk, or that are only used while constructing or maintaining another consented building, don't require a building consent.

This exemption covers specific types of building that:

  • people cannot or do not normally enter, or is entered only intermittently for particular reasons
  • are only used by people engaged in constructing or maintaining another consented building, such as a construction site office.

What is exempt

  1. Owners of an industrial complex are installing a new compressor which needs to be protected from the weather. They construct a 3 metre high building with a 15 square metre net floor area to house the compressor, which only requires maintenance once a month. The building is sited 7 metres from the closest boundary.
  2. A purpose-built construction site office that has a 20 square metre net floor area and is 2.4 metres high is located on a consented commercial building site. It is 3 metres from the nearest boundary and is only used by people engaged in constructing the building.

What needs consent

  1. An industrial building owner wants to construct a building to house machinery. The building will be further than its own height away from any residential building or legal boundary. However, as the machinery being housed requires regular inspections and maintenance, a building consent will be required.
  2. A building supply merchant intends to build a security building at the exit barrier of their premises, on the property boundary. It will be 12 square metres by 3 metres high. As they plan to locate the building less than its own height from the nearest boundary, they will need to apply for a building consent.

What the law says

4. Unoccupied detached buildings

1. Building work in connection with any detached building that:

(a). houses fixed plant or machinery and under normal circumstances is entered only on intermittent occasions for the routine inspection and maintenance of that plant or machinery; or

(b). is a building, or is in a vicinity, that people cannot enter or do not normally enter; or

(c). is used only by people engaged in building work:

(i). in relation to another building; and

(ii). for which a building consent is required.

2. However, subclause (1) does not include building work in connection with a building that is closer than the measure of its own height to any residential building or to any legal boundary.

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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: