Concept and Design

I need a property inspection

It is important to get a property inspection report before a property is tenanted. This visual report outlines the current physical condition of a property and should be accompanied by photographs. It’s also a good idea to record the condition of the property with a digital camera during the inspection. Having a properly filled-in report as part of a written tenancy agreement can be very useful evidence if problems or disputes arise later on, or if a Tenancy Tribunal decision is asked for. Tenants and landlords should check the property together at the start of the tenancy to avoid problems later.

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    The report should include notes on:

  • subfloor structure and foundations
  • insulation
  • external cladding
  • roofing
  • roofspace
  • drainage
  • interior walls and flooring
  • plumbing
  • electrical – switches, lighting, power points and appliances
  • security systems
  • whether pests are present
  • moisture tests
  • gardens and grounds

Remember that 48 hours’ notice is needed before an inspection and it must take place between 8am and 7pm. If the landlord has agreed with the tenant that they will fix something or clean something by a certain date and they need to go back to make sure they have done it, the landlord can re-inspect the property by giving the tenant the correct amount of notice (48 hours).

I need professional engineering advice

Whether you are building a home or looking to alter or extend a house, or just looking for advice in relation to building, including fire, access or energy efficiency, then a building engineer can help. Building engineers are professionals who design, construct, evaluate and maintain buildings. Their work includes both technical and management processes by which buildings are designed, constructed, renewed and maintained. This involves site investigations, building inspections and surveys, assessment against standards, project design, plan preparation, cost evaluations, contract procedures, project management and deciding which construction methods and materials to use. Building engineers have a detailed understanding of statutory regulations and technical codes as well as the need to create sustainable buildings.

I need concept plans

Have some great ideas but need to put them on paper? Why not get us to draft your concept plans for $500 plus GST? We can start to make your dream come alive by producing concept plans to help you visualise the finished building. We can add the full scope to ensure your expectations are met. During this phase we measure your site and produce drawings of your existing home or dwelling. Accurate existing plans and elevations are required for any renovation consent and the more accurate they are, the better they help address any structural issues in the design of your renovation. With concept designs, you get the chance to make changes to ensure your renovation works the way you want it. You have the opportunity to play with the position of the various elements before the actual working drawings are done. When you are happy and have agreed on the concept we can provide you with a cost estimate to complete full working drawings to gain building consent documentation needed by the council for your finished design solution.

I have existing council plans and want to go for consent

You need existing council plans for your property before you can produce a concept plan for building. These show the size of your property, special land features and characteristics, storm water and drainage plans, the boundaries and the residential zone you are in – all of which dictate what you can and cannot build and whether or not you need building consents or resource consent to build. Check out a website such as www.building.govt.nz/bc-no-consent for information on what you can and cannot do without gaining consent for your building or renovation, then talk to your local council. They have the existing plans for your property and can confirm if the proposed building work has any district planning implications. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is also helpful when you are on your building consent journey. Its list of work that requires consent contains the following:

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  • Structural building – additions, alterations, re-piling, some demolitions
  • Plumbing and drainage, except repair and maintenance of existing (using comparable) components, where an additional sanitary fixture is created
  • Relocating a building
  • Installing a wood burner or air-conditioning system
  • Retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres (3 metres in rural area if designed by a Chartered Professional Engineer)
  • Fences or walls higher than 2.5 metres, and all swimming pools and their associated fences
  • Decks, platforms or bridges more than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • Sheds greater than 10 square metres in floor area

Examples of work that does not require a building consent include:

  • A patio or deck at ground level
  • Garden trellis less than 2.5 metres high
  • Maintenance of your house, for example, replacing spouting or a piece of weatherboard
  • Building a small garden shed (provided it is no closer than its own height to the boundary, is under 10 square metres, and less than one storey high)

No physical work can begin on your project until you have a building consent (and all other required authorisations, such as a resource consent). A Building Consent Authority issues a building consent if your detailed plans show that the finished building would comply with the Building Code. The consent gives approval to carry out building work, in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted in your consent application. If you build without a building consent, you may be liable for a fine and may have difficulty selling the building in the future or even getting insurance.