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2 posts

Wannabe Geek

# 257056 12-Sep-2019 16:39
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I'm looking for advice on this. The garage was built without consent at least 15 years ago, probably more. The previous owners bought the house like that and never sought approval, so the story goes.


To my non-professional eye it seems properly built and complies with all council guidelines. Assuming it turns out to be fully compliant, if I apply to Christchurch City Council for a Certificate of Acceptance, what's the worst that could happen? Could they force me to remove the garage including concrete foundation? 


Also, any idea of the cost involved in getting acceptance?





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15246 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2316658 12-Sep-2019 16:57
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Do you need to get consent? Is there any provision for work done by a previous owner to be accepted, or something over a certain age? My wife who used to work in property law mentioned this in passing once, but for Wellington.

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Wannabe Geek

  # 2316663 12-Sep-2019 17:15
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In Chch there's a "Certificate of Acceptance".


"An application can be made if building work has taken place after 1 July 1992 and: An owner or previous owner carried out or arranged building work without consent (but a consent should have been obtained)"


I'm OK with the fees, etc., I just don't want to dob myself in and end up with a $30K removal bill and no garage.


What if I do nothing? Does council tend to turn a blind eye to this sort of thing, or are they always on the lookout for unconsented buildings?




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Uber Geek

  # 2316670 12-Sep-2019 17:30
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Also is there not the risk of a nasty lawyer asking you to make it compliant after you’ve gone unconditional when you sell? Have heard of similar things happening.

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Ultimate Geek

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  # 2316683 12-Sep-2019 18:14
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Getting a COA would seem to be the right thing to do. You could ask the duty building officer for advice, but try to do so anomously. There could be some other costs, or professional advice required, so check it out.
If you get suitable advice then set in in writing, or note who advised and when.


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Uber Geek

  # 2316938 13-Sep-2019 08:50
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Before applying for a certificate of acceptance you'll need to be able to prove that all work that is in relation to the building code (weathertightness, structural integrity etc) has been done to meet the minimum standards. You will probably need a hire a professional to write a report but you might be able to do this yourself if you can convince the council to accept it. Generally councils are trying to avoid CoA's though so this might be tough. 


If you apply for a certificate of acceptance and it fails then the council will probably issue a notice to fix. You then have to rectify the structure to comply with whatever they outline in the NTF. This, I believe, means that the council will put a hold on the property file until you can complete the work. In turn this means that you can't sell the property. There was some legal wranglings a few years ago that might be worth noting and may have changed how Chch Council reacts to the situation. 


I would anonymously talk to the council (you can do this in person, just don't mention the address) and get their process outlined to you. Then discuss this with a professional to determine the next best step. 

2777 posts

Uber Geek

  # 2317009 13-Sep-2019 09:52
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I think the most pertinent question is: what is the absolute worst case scenario if you just don't do anything?


I don't know, but I would have thought the worst the council could do if they ever "found out" would be to make you go through the process of obtaining a COA.


I'd be more worried about any potential insurance implications. If it burns down is it insured? What if the fire spread to the house, would the house still be insured?


What if it collapsed while someone was in it, are there legal ramifications if you were aware it was unconsented (and therefore can't be sure it was up to code)? I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know.



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Uber Geek

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  # 2317026 13-Sep-2019 10:02
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Worst case is the buyer of your house asks you to fix prior to transfer.

This is what we did to the owner when we bought our house.
They then ran round organising the paper work getting consent for unconsented deck structure.


4102 posts

Uber Geek

  # 2317036 13-Sep-2019 10:12
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As well as being physically constructed to code you might also want to check things,  like


Site coverage ( some councils only allow certain portions o f a site to be covered in buildings,


Distance to boundaries (height envelopes)


is the roof water connected to the storm water legally


Is there wiring in the building.... Is the connection between the buildings at the right depth and protected...


The list goes on

939 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2317098 13-Sep-2019 11:48
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My advice is to call Malcolm Smith Consulting


Malcolm is well versed in all aspects of land, subdivision and consenting law as it relates to Christchurch Council, so will be able to offer you the best advice. When selling my late mother's house which had a non-consented sunroom within centimetres of a newly changed boundary line, he was able to sort it out quickly and with no fuss.


I don't believe he will charge your for initial advice over the phone, and that may be all you need. But if not, I am sure he will look after you.



The views expressed by me are not necessarily those of my employer Chorus NZ Ltd

809 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  # 2317290 13-Sep-2019 17:22
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aldjmto:. The garage was built without consent at least 15 years ago, probably more.





Leave it.


I had 2 houses with unconsented garages. First Lived there for 22 years, the second for 8.


Sold both without anyone caring.



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