Decks, Balconies and Verandas

For information about Decks, Balconies and Verandas see below

Empty wooden deck table with tablecloth

Decks, Balconies and Verandas

A deck, balcony or veranda must comply with the Building Act 2004 and the New Zealand Building Code. You should contact the Building Unit of your local Council before starting construction work if you are unsure about whether or not a building consent is needed. Before constructing your deck, balcony or veranda, check out the available information about building and maintaining decks online at www.consumer.org.nz, or from your local timber and building supply merchant or their website.

A deck, balcony or veranda must comply with the Building Act 2004 and the New Zealand Building Code. You should contact the Building Unit of your local Council before starting construction work if you are unsure about whether or not a building consent is needed. Before constructing your deck, balcony or veranda, check out the available information about building and maintaining decks online at www.consumer.org.nz, or from your local timber and building supply merchant or their website.

Under Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004, the following projects do not require a building consent before you begin work:

  • Closing in existing veranda or patio
    Building work in connection with the closing in of an existing veranda, patio, or the like so as to provide an enclosed porch, conservatory, or the like with a floor area not exceeding 5 square meters.
  • Awnings
    Building work in connection with an awning that—
    (a) is on or attached to an existing building; and
    (b) is on the ground or first storey level of the building; and
    (c) does not exceed 20 square meters in size; and
    (d) does not overhang any area accessible by the public, including private areas with limited public access, for example, restaurants and bars.
  • Porches and verandas
    Building work in connection with a porch or a veranda that—
    (a) is on or attached to an existing building; and
    (b) is on the ground or first storey level of the building; and
    (c) does not exceed 20 square meters in floor area; and
    (d) does not overhang any area accessible by the public, including private areas with limited public access, for example, restaurants and bars.
  • Shade Sails
    Building work in connection with a shade sail made of fabric or other similar lightweight material, and associated structural support, that—
    (a) does not exceed 50 square meters in size; and
    (b) is no closer than 1 meter to any legal boundary; and
    (c) is on the ground level, or, if in a building, on the ground or first storey level of the building.
  • Decks, platforms, bridges, boardwalks, etc.
    Building work in connection with a deck, platform, bridge, boardwalk, or the like from which it is not possible to fall more than 1.5 meters even if it collapses.

Even though no building consent is needed in the above projects, their construction must comply with the Building Code to ensure they are safe for people to use. Check out Building Code compliance for the following code clauses:

  • B Stability:
    • B1 Structural
    • B2 Durability
  • D1 Access
  • F4 Safety from falling
  • E2 External Moisture
  • F5 Construction / Demolition Hazards
  • F7 Warning Systems – Checking that smoke alarms have been correctly installed in a dwelling always applies to any additions or alterations. 

If the building project does NOT meet the exemption requirements of Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004, then a building consent will be required. Check out the Decks and Veranda processing checklist section of the MINOR WORKS, for the building code clause items that will be assessed.

Any deck/balcony that is within District Plan setbacks (distance from property boundary) may require Resource Consent and/or neighbors consent. Upper-level decks and balconies may have separation and privacy requirements and are also subject to height in relation to boundaries.

To comply with the Building Code, a balustrade needs to be

  • 900mm in height for stairs or ramps,
  • 1 metre high (from finished floor level) for decks, and must be installed on all decks above
    – 1 metre in height on residential properties
    – 1.1 metres high for commercial properties and all other locations.
  • The balustrade must not be climbable.

All timber in contact with the ground: This needs to be H5 treated (50-year durability requirement of the Building Code). This includes house piles, veranda, and deck posts that are embedded in concrete or posts for carports.

Joist and decking timber: Timbers also need to meet the external durability Building Code requirement (H3.2 treated) as they are exposed to the weather.

For decks and balconies that may serve as the roof to a room below, and are exposed to the weather, a waterproofing coating or membrane on the floor area will be required to seal and waterproof the area. Refer to the building code: Acceptable Solutions, E2/AS1 8.5 Membrane roofs, and decks.

  • Ensure use of durable treated timbers for the construction of open decks.
  • Check for water penetration where the deck meets the wall(s) of the house.
  • Check for any signs of decay on the timber elements like excessive cracking or softness.
  • Check that all galvanized connectors/fasteners are not corroding.
  • Check if there is suitable waterproofing around the cantilevered joists or around other joists that penetrate the house wall(s).
  • Check the tightness of bolted connections and nuts especially on handrails, joists, and bearers etc.

For further information about decks and balconies and verandas, please contact the Building Unit and/or Planning Unit of your local Council.