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Relocated Buildings

This page contains information to assist owners and construction companies of considerations and requirements  when looking to use relocateable buildings within the Whangarei District.
Updated: 25/03/2019 12:28 p.m.

​There are many ways in which people are becoming creative with places to live, driven by necessity and a desire to be unique.

The Building Act 2004 does allow these types of design to be undertaken but also has the overriding requirement of ensuring that buildings comply with the building code (s17).

This is to ensure that users of buildings are safe and that the building will perform to the minimum standards – like being structurally sound, safe from fire, not leaking, being warm, have adequate provisions of safe water supply and disposing of wastewater.  

Building Act 2004, section 17

There are several avenues available where owners can buy ready-made buildings that may not be code compliant. The Building Act 2004 in section 14B is clear and places the onus on the owner to be responsible for:

“(a) obtaining any necessary consents, approvals, and certificates:

(b) ensuring that building work carried out by the owner complies with the building consent or, if there is no building consent, with the building code”


Building Act 2004, section 14A - G

If building work is undertaken that requires consent the owner may be prosecuted under the Building Act 2004. There may be other breaches such as of the District Plan. Therefore, you are urged to contact Council before starting any works.

Relocated buildings fall into many different types and packages and we have created several pages to guide you through the requirements of these types of building. Please use the following links to determine the requirements for your project:

  • Prefabricated building, built in a factory or yard, in New Zealand

  • An existing building, that has been in use for some time and being relocated to a new site

In general, if you are relocating a building you will need to apply for a Building Consent, the scope of the consent will be determined by several factors including:

  • Type of building

  • Location of services like water supply, sewerage and the like

  • Renovations or upgrades required 

A Project Information Memorandum (PIM) or District Plan check will help identify any planning requirements for relocated buildings, such as location of services and height-to-boundary requirements and the like.  

The Building Act 2004 deals with buildings. Section 8 describes what building means and includes. 

Building Act 2004, section 8

The owner is responsible for ensuring that any building they own or that they do or have building work done on, has consent and certification. It must comply with the building code even if the work is exempt from the requirement for a building consent. 

Relocatable building, built in a factory or yard, in New Zealand.

It is becoming popular for new, complete buildings to be built “off-site” to their final location, this can even mean that the building is constructed in another district or part of New Zealand

If the building is to be sited in the Whangarei district, it must:

  • be consented with a Code Compliance Certificate issued where constructed, or,

  • be consented with a ​Code Compliance Certificate issued by Whangarei BCA,

  • be an older, pre-existing relocated building.

This may necessitate that two building consents are required, one to construct, or fabricate the building and one to install it on foundations in its final location, see option 1.

Another variation will be that we, Whangarei District Council BCA, may issue a building consent for the building work to construct and site the building see options 2 and 3. 

There may be other considerations to take care off like traffic control and transportation considerations, even site access. Your building constructor should be able to supply these details.

Option 1 – Constructed outside of the Whangarei District and transported and sited to the district.

The Consent required to build the building in the factory or yard will need to be obtained from the BCA in that area. This consent may be limited in what will be checked or certified due to the constraints of the building having to be moved to site – bathrooms may not be finished, plumbing work may require re-checking when located on the foundations for example.

Your building company should be able to assist with this process with their local authority. The Building should not be transported to the Whangarei District before a Code Compliance Certificate has been issued for this work. 

A further Consent will be required for the foundations and connection to services and the like for the building to be installed within the Whangarei District.

The work required to fully complete the building will also need to be considered, like retesting the plumbing systems, finishing off any cladding work and the like.

It is not uncommon for relocatable buildings to be "split" for transportation and reassembled on site. If this is a feature of your build, the re-assembly will need to be part of your consent application for siting the building due to the work required to ensure weather tightness of the building.

We will not generally issue consent on the site works e.g. foundations, services etc, until the building consent for the main building has been issued by the other authority as we need the approved plans showing all the external dimensions of the building and location to boundary etc. Once both consents are issued the works can proceed in parallel.

We can issue a Code Compliance Certificate on the building work conducted to finally install the building on site once complete.

Option 2 – Constructed within the District

This will require that a Building Consent is applied for in the usual manner with plans and specifications showing how the building will be constructed and sited.

We will process based on the submitted information, looking at district plan requirements as well as building code requirements.

The plans and specifications will also need to specify whether the building is being built in a sectional manner or “split” for transportation and reassembled/assembled on site, as this will need to be inspected to ensure weathertightness.

The site works, foundations and the like, can proceed as can the structure build, once the consent has been issued.

Your chosen building company will be familiar with the requirements and should advise with any required information.

Option 3 - An existing building, second hand, pre-used, which may or may not have a Code Compliance Certificate

A Building Consent application is required to cover building work associated with foundations, effluent disposal, water supply and drainage, usually.

In addition to the consent, a second-hand house will also require a Condition Assessment Report compiled by a suitably qualified person with appropriate insurance cover, such as a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP), engineer, designer or architect. This should be undertaken as part of your own consideration of due diligence.

The report should identify any structural defects that need addressing, weathertightness and other areas of concern and items that may require building consent to remedy, for example changing the roof layout.

Moving windows and repairing a few weatherboards may be seen as building work not requiring consent, as it is classed as repairs and maintenance – see MBIE’s guidance on schedule 1.

However, if significant work is being undertaken, like changing the majority of the exterior cladding, roofing, adding insulation, changing window locations or adding new window or door locations, re-lining most of the interior walls or even joining two units together, you are advised to;

  • Get a designer involved – you could be reducing structural integrity

  • Get a building consent and Code Compliance Certificate for the work 

Remember it is the owner’s responsibility to obtain building consent if required.

You can also make an appointment to see our duty building officer to assist in your assessment of consent requirements.



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