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What Do I Need to Know Before Building a Shed?

Nov 23, 2023

Author: Lisa Smith

Building a shed in New Zealand can be a great DIY project. Whether it's for storage, utility use, a workspace, gardening or simply a retreat, a well-built shed can add value to your urban or lifestyle block property. However, before you start hammering away, there are several key factors to consider. Let’s look into the essentials of shed building in NZ.

1. Understanding Local Regulations

Before you begin any construction project in NZ, it's crucial to check with your local council. Each district council has its own set of rules and requirements for building structures like sheds. The rules can vary depending on the size and purpose of your shed.

  • Building Consent: For most small sheds (under 30 square meters), you won’t need a building consent. However, for larger sheds or those used as sleep-outs, building consent may be required. Check with the Ministry of Business, Building Performance for detailed guidance.
  • Zoning & Placement: Ensure your shed complies with local zoning laws and placement regulations, particularly if you're close to boundaries or natural waterways. Check your local council's website for details.
  • Resource Consent: If your shed impacts the environment or local amenities, a resource consent might be necessary. Again, check your local council's website for details.

2. Choosing the Right Location

Sunlight and Wind: Position your shed to maximise natural light but also think about wind patterns. NZ can be windy, especially in regions like the lower North Island.

  • Access: Ensure that the location is easily accessible for construction and future use.
  • Ground Conditions: The shed needs a stable foundation. Assess the soil type and drainage conditions.
  • 3. Design and Materials

    New Zealand's diverse climate means your shed needs to withstand various weather conditions. When choosing materials, consider:

    • Durability: Use materials suited to local weather. Options like treated timber and corrugated iron are popular in New Zealand due to their durability and aesthetic appeal.
    • Insulation: If you plan to spend considerable time in the shed, insulation is vital. BRANZ (Building Research Association of New Zealand) offers excellent resources on insulation standards.
    • Foundation: Depending on your location, you might need to consider raising the shed off the ground to avoid dampness.

    4. Environmental Considerations 

    Recycled Materials: Using recycled or sustainable materials not only helps the environment but also can add character to your shed.

  • Water Collection: Installing a rainwater collection system is practical and eco-friendly. It’s quite common in rural areas.
  • Consider solar or wind generated power options for lighting and electrical requirements.
  • 5. Safety and Building Practices

    Adhering to safe building practices is non-negotiable. The New Zealand government provides guidelines on safe building practices. Ensure you or your builders follow these guidelines to prevent accidents and ensure the longevity of your shed.

    • WorkSafe New Zealand: Check WorkSafe for safety guidelines in construction.
    • Licensed Building Practitioners: If hiring professionals, use licensed practitioners. They ensure compliance with the NZ Building Code.

    6. Securing Your Shed

    locks: Invest in good quality locks. A padlock might be sufficient for simple garden sheds, but consider deadbolts for more substantial structures.

  • Visibility: Position your shed in a way that it's easily seen from your home,
  • deterring potential thieves.
  • 7. Cost and Budgeting

    Costs can escalate quickly in construction projects. It’s crucial to set a realistic budget and keep track of expenses. Consider:

    • Material Costs: Shop around and compare prices for materials.
    • Labor Costs: If you’re hiring builders, get a few quotes and check references.
    • Unexpected Expenses: Allocate a portion of your budget for unforeseen costs.

    8. Maintenance and Upkeep

    Building a shed in NZ can be a fulfilling project that enhances your property and provides functional space. By understanding local regulations, choosing appropriate materials, considering environmental factors, and ensuring safety, your shed-building project can be a resounding success. Remember, thorough planning and attention to detail are your best tools in this endeavour.

    If building your own shed feels like too big a project to undertake, then consider buying a kit-set shed. Outpost Buildings has an extensive range of sheds in many different configurations and sizes to suit a range of applications and property sizes. They are made in NZ using proven designs and built from quality materials and can be delivered onto your site. The kit-set sheds come complete with instructions and fittings to assemble. View the range here.

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