Relocating a building

Do I need a building consent?

A building consent is generally required to relocate any building that is over 10 square metres in floor area. This could include a dwelling, sleepout, garage, farm shed or commercial building.

A building consent is also required for any relocated building that is under 10 square metres in floor area if it is to:

  • contain sanitary, potable water or cooking facilities
  • be sited closer than its own height to a legal boundary or a residential accommodation building.
  • Before considering relocation of a building, there are several requirements that will need to be met. It is recommended to discuss these items with a licensed designer or a pre application meeting with Council Building Unit before making a commitment.

Things you may need to know

Building consent

You will need to apply for a building consent to relocate a building if it is intended to be used as a habitable space (contains sanitary, potable water or cooking facilities), over ten square metres in size or sited closer than its own height to any boundary or dwelling. As a part of this consent you may need to consider the following.

Note: Buildings relocated from other areas may have to be upgraded to comply with the requirements for the new location. e.g.( wind zone, snow load, bracing, earthquake etc.)


Demolition is now exempt works for detached buildings no more than two storeys, so consent for demolition isn't required for the building removal from its original site, but the Council would need to be notified of any termination of services.

Restricted building work ( Relocated dwellings)

With regard to second-hand buildings, any building and design work is considered 'Restricted Building Work' and therefore designers and tradesman will need to be LBP (Licensed Building Practitioners). An exception to this is if the owner wishes to carry out the building work themselves. In this case they will need to apply for an owner-builders exemption.

Engineer's report

You will need to engage an engineer or suitably qualified person (SQP) to assess the structure of the proposed building and determine its suitability for relocation. In most cases there will be a need for you to upgrade the structure of the proposed building in order for it to meet any increased wind zones and snow loadings imposed by its new location.  As part of the engineer or SQP’s assessment, details outlining the required upgrade will be defined. Common upgrades include, but are by no means limited to, increased roof struts and support beams, mechanical fixings between roof member connections etc.

Geotech reports

Depending on the proposed new location there may need to be some geotech testing. In some areas this may mean a full geotech report or a 'shallow soil investigation' (penetrometer and auger test). The findings of these assessments will influence the foundation design of the building on the proposed new site.

Septic system

If the proposed new site is a bare rural block you will need a new septic system. In order to process your consent application we will require you to have a system design which can be obtained through various companies.

Water tests

A potable water test will be required.  Where a private well is installed, you will need to provide a full water test (Chemical and Microbiological) results to Council to show you have a potable water supply.  Water should be tested to comply with NZS2005 (revised 2008)

Where the initial water test results show potable water supply a second water (Microbiological) result needs to be provided to Council prior to issue of the Code Compliance Certificate or before occupation occurs, whichever happens first.

If the water is not potable you will need to show how the water will be treated as part of the building consent application.

Borer treatment

In most cases a relocated dwelling will have a timber subfloor and framing etc. which will remain in place for the remainder of the building’s intended life. This is most common in older dwellings (pre 1960s).  If this is the case timber treatment for borer is required.  This can be done by any reputable pest controller. They will need to supply you with an invoice or certificate as proof of the work being carried out. If the relocated building is not a dwelling or intended as a habitable space it will not require borer treatment.


In the case of a dwelling it is not a requirement for the insulation in the relocated building to be brought up to the current standard required for a new dwelling. However, we would strongly recommend this, especially in the ceiling and walls if the opportunity presents itself through the removal of old claddings etc. If insulation is to be added to external walls, this will have to be detailed in the consent application as this is consentable building work.  All other insulation is considered exempt building work and not requiring a consent (i.e. underfloor and ceiling insulation.


The same applies to glazing (i.e. if the original single glazing is to remain in place it does not need to be brought up to current standards). In some cases, however, if the glazing is being replaced, there would be requirement for new glazing to meet current safety standards (i.e. glazed doors, glazing in bathrooms etc.). In a situation where numerous windows are being replaced and there is significant benefit to be gained from an upgrade, we would strongly recommend upgrading to double glazing.

Solid fuel heaters

If existing log burners, pellet fires or the like are to be relocated with the building, they need to be covered by a report from a heating engineer or original manufacturer of the heating unit and installed under a consent as a second-hand appliance. ECan clean-air zones may need to be considered depending on the proposed new location.

Please Note: It is important to keep all producer statements and certificates relating to completed work, as you may need to supply these to us at the end of the project for your code compliance certificate.

Site and transport hazards

Ensure the transport route and site have been checked for hazards, and approvals have been received from other agencies as required.