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Topic # 145309 14-May-2014 16:08
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This isn't the usual "do I need building consent" question.
Just a little story about what's happened so far with replacing my earthquake damaged deck - where consent was definitely needed.
The timber deck is replacing a failed concrete deck.  The concrete deck weighs approx 12 tonnes, but the existing footings didn't fail in the EQs.  It's being replaced because about 5 tonnes of chimney fell on it in one piece, from about 3m above, landing bang smack in the middle and shattered it.  A numbskull from EQC thought that they could glue it back together - but that's another story. The replacement deck will be a fraction of the weight of the old one, and actually with one more footing holding it up - we weren't ever going to cheap out.
Meanwhile, as I've been writing cheques, Christchurch City Council has brought in a consent exemption to "aid the EQ repair progess", allowing construction of a deck up to 3m high, without consent.  Alas - I can't go back - and anyway the maximum fall from the deck is about 3.2 metres, so wouldn't be exempt anyway, unless I dropped it 200mm.
OK - so it's "restricted work" and needs design and building consent.  This done, by registered designer, to NZS 3604, consent application lodged.
One month later, council sends an RFI (request for information) for the application, in particular the footings for the timber deck, where they want a geotechnical survey "shallow load bearing test" done, and an engineering design based on the test results. This surprised the builder and the designer and me, though we always knew the footings need to be deeper than 600mm, as some are in loose uncompacted fill, so we planned to dig them to 1200mm.  
Geotech arranged, then passed on to engineer, back to designer, back to council.  Consent issued 4 months later, 3 council inspections required for footings etc, plus 3 inspections by the engineer and one by the geotech.
After all this the engineer has (at great cost, supported by pages of calculations) designed footings 1200mm deep.  My builder isn't an idiot.
Approximate additional unanticipated compliance cost so far is going to be about $6,000 - for a 30M2 deck, and in the end it's really $6000 compliance cost to dig 5 holes in the ground.  The additional "actual work" to meet all this will be close to nil.
Having a deck collapse would be a pretty nasty thing to happen.  But still - this is all just absolutely nuts.  




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  Reply # 1044898 14-May-2014 16:15
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You gotta love all the red tape imposed by councils and the like, supposedly for our own benefit.




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  Reply # 1044900 14-May-2014 16:18
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You may want to go to a independent planner for advice and them to submit everything for you. Dealing with councils now is highly complex.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1044901 14-May-2014 16:20
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last building consent we did, every thing was itemised - there was $30 charge for paying the bill in there..........

and the wait 1 month then oh crap time up let ask for something so the clock stop again on the consent is standard.

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Reply # 1044905 14-May-2014 16:24
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OMFG

I've heard it said we have the most ridiculous compliance costs in the world for domestic constriction but wow!

I take the approach that sometimes it is better to (be prepared to) ask for forgiveness than permission with Councils, though with a deck that high you of course need to do it right.




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  Reply # 1044912 14-May-2014 16:35
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Ever since the whole leaky building thing, Councils have become totally paranoid about being found liable for anything that could cost them $$$ or make them look bad,

Thus they have now got to the point of asking you to prove that gravity is 9.8m/s and water falls from the sky whenever you intend to build any structure bigger than a dog house,  (plus they then charge you both the cost of telling them they are paranoid, and for them to read the piece of paper that says they are paranoid)- gotta love local government



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  Reply # 1044913 14-May-2014 16:35
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mattwnz: You may want to go to a independent planner for advice and them to submit everything for you. Dealing with councils now is highly complex.


An independent planner wouldn't have anticipated the "wild card" thrown on the table by Council (RFI for Geotech).  I'd gone over this with a structural engineer before the plans were drawn up, his advice that NZS3604 design would be adequate his services not needed.  So he was wrong.
Anyway - it should be smoother sailing from here.  This is only one part of the overall work.  The designer submits plans to council.  The builder arranges inspections.  I don't have a problem dealing with council, but their consent wording on inspections was ambiguous, as to whether council building inspector as well as reg, engineer needs to inspect/sign off.  That sorted in a 2 minute phone call - it's both.
The big planning problem in Chch is availability of trades.  I prefer to deal with them directly.

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  Reply # 1044915 14-May-2014 16:43
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My wife's an Architect and knows all the consent stuff for building inside out, having to deal with them on a regular basis. PM me if you need her help. Most people don't really know that Architects can fully project manage a building job, not just designers.

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  Reply # 1044955 14-May-2014 17:25
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Fred99:
mattwnz: You may want to go to a independent planner for advice and them to submit everything for you. Dealing with councils now is highly complex.


An independent planner wouldn't have anticipated the "wild card" thrown on the table by Council (RFI for Geotech).  I'd gone over this with a structural engineer before the plans were drawn up, his advice that NZS3604 design would be adequate his services not needed.  So he was wrong.
Anyway - it should be smoother sailing from here.  This is only one part of the overall work.  The designer submits plans to council.  The builder arranges inspections.  I don't have a problem dealing with council, but their consent wording on inspections was ambiguous, as to whether council building inspector as well as reg, engineer needs to inspect/sign off.  That sorted in a 2 minute phone call - it's both.
The big planning problem in Chch is availability of trades.  I prefer to deal with them directly.


I believe it depends on whether there are any additional requirements that the council puts in place above NZS3604 and the NZBC for the area you are in. You could ask them for that list so you know exactly what they require.



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  Reply # 1044999 14-May-2014 17:55
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mattwnz:
Fred99:
mattwnz: You may want to go to a independent planner for advice and them to submit everything for you. Dealing with councils now is highly complex.


An independent planner wouldn't have anticipated the "wild card" thrown on the table by Council (RFI for Geotech).  I'd gone over this with a structural engineer before the plans were drawn up, his advice that NZS3604 design would be adequate his services not needed.  So he was wrong.
Anyway - it should be smoother sailing from here.  This is only one part of the overall work.  The designer submits plans to council.  The builder arranges inspections.  I don't have a problem dealing with council, but their consent wording on inspections was ambiguous, as to whether council building inspector as well as reg, engineer needs to inspect/sign off.  That sorted in a 2 minute phone call - it's both.
The big planning problem in Chch is availability of trades.  I prefer to deal with them directly.


I believe it depends on whether there are any additional requirements that the council puts in place above NZS3604 and the NZBC for the area you are in. You could ask them for that list so you know exactly what they require.

 


It's green zone - no TC, no special requirements.

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  Reply # 1045035 14-May-2014 18:52
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Fred99:
mattwnz:
Fred99:
mattwnz: You may want to go to a independent planner for advice and them to submit everything for you. Dealing with councils now is highly complex.


An independent planner wouldn't have anticipated the "wild card" thrown on the table by Council (RFI for Geotech).  I'd gone over this with a structural engineer before the plans were drawn up, his advice that NZS3604 design would be adequate his services not needed.  So he was wrong.
Anyway - it should be smoother sailing from here.  This is only one part of the overall work.  The designer submits plans to council.  The builder arranges inspections.  I don't have a problem dealing with council, but their consent wording on inspections was ambiguous, as to whether council building inspector as well as reg, engineer needs to inspect/sign off.  That sorted in a 2 minute phone call - it's both.
The big planning problem in Chch is availability of trades.  I prefer to deal with them directly.


I believe it depends on whether there are any additional requirements that the council puts in place above NZS3604 and the NZBC for the area you are in. You could ask them for that list so you know exactly what they require.

It's green zone - no TC, no special requirements.


It maybe, but some council around the country have their own additional rules which override standards. I had an expensive lesson in this with ground clearances once, where the council required it to be higher than NZS3604, so the foundations had to be lifted.

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  Reply # 1045082 14-May-2014 19:43
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Council rules are nuts full stop. We are putting in a 8.4 by 6m double garage with office. Non habitable.
The soil is soft, so it looks like we now have to put in 2m deep piles beneath the foundation... Probably 20 in total... for a garage.




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  Reply # 1045085 14-May-2014 19:52
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civil engineer here with 20+ years exp - and with all due respect to your builder - he ain't no geotech engineer

the foundation tests make sense for something 3.2m up - esp seeing as you said some of it is on uncompacted fill - hence the need for a geotech engineer and specific design

failing to do so can often end up with sh&t falling down and people can get seriously injured from 3.2m

as to the compliance costs, yep it aint cheap ......senior geo engs often charge out at $160/hr + as do senior structural engineers - and council would need specialist advice to review what your designers come up + site inspections + sign-off  - as they also bear responsibility  - so it doesn't take long to burn through $6k - sucks when it comes out of your own pocket (i know i had my house built 5 years ago...)




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  Reply # 1045134 14-May-2014 21:23
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I'll add a tip for anyone dealing with building consents - keep ALL documentation and copies of everything handed over to council. 

 

I had an addition and alterations done under the 1991 Building Act. Code of Compliance Certificates weren't required to be issued to building owners then but with my house on the market I wanted a copy. Council couldn't find the CCC, nor could they locate the property file. It's gone missing and I understand that's not uncommon with councils that still use paper-based systems. If I hadn't kept the building consent and the stamped, approved plans this would have been an expensive nightmare. As it was, it took reaching out to the original gas fitters, plumbers, builder and electrician, and six weeks of stressing to have a new CCC issued. 
Keep your paperwork until you sell that property!

 

 

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  Reply # 1045140 14-May-2014 21:35
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Elpie: I'll add a tip for anyone dealing with building consents - keep ALL documentation and copies of everything handed over to council. 
I had an addition and alterations done under the 1991 Building Act. Code of Compliance Certificates weren't required to be issued to building owners then but with my house on the market I wanted a copy. Council couldn't find the CCC, nor could they locate the property file. It's gone missing and I understand that's not uncommon with councils that still use paper-based systems. If I hadn't kept the building consent and the stamped, approved plans this would have been an expensive nightmare. As it was, it took reaching out to the original gas fitters, plumbers, builder and electrician, and six weeks of stressing to have a new CCC issued. 
Keep your paperwork until you sell that property!  


If you get plumbing or electrical work done around the house, generally the council won't need the code of compliance certificates, as you won't need building consent for those. When councils amalgamate, that is when council tend to lose documents, or they may just be misplaced or put under someone elses property. Not sure if there is any real requirement for councils to get stuff digitized quickly. Currently I am dealing wit a council whose records appear to be still in paper format, it's in the backwater, but others I deal with are almost all digitized. The problem when stuff is still in paper form, is the councils want to charge you for things such as searching and copying. While if it is digital, you can do all this yourself. But if you are a home owner, it pays to keep all records and certificates yourslef.

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  Reply # 1045180 14-May-2014 22:22
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My Mother is putting a deck on her house at the moment,
The council originally declined the application because the architect used incorrect figures so always confirm he is correct if you get declined or have any issues

Also, the architect submitted the deck plans to an engineer who proceeded to charge 9 hours for checking everything
After it was signed off, Their builder took it to place makers and the computer said you cant build this! it will fall down! Some structural beams were not large enough 


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