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Do I need a building consent for a garden shed?

Written by Outpost Buildings on November 17th, 2019.      0 comments

A very common question we get asked by our customers is “Will I need to get a building consent?”.

The answer unfortunately is not always easy to confirm straight away and depends on the size of your building, where you are in New Zealand and the intended purpose of the building.

A building consent is usually not required for small buildings such as garden sheds, small cabins and sleepouts in New Zealand. But there are some things you need to be aware of to ensure your new building is legal.
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The NZ Building Act states that you do not need a building permit for any detached building that:

  1. Is not more than 1 storey high (maximum floor level 1 metre above the supporting ground and a height of up to 3.5 metres above the floor level)
  2. Does not exceed 10 square metres in floor area
  3. Does not contain sanitary facilities or facilities for the storage of potable water
  4. Does not include sleeping accommodation, unless the building is used in connection with a dwelling and does not contain any cooking facilities.
  5. The building must be at least the measure of its own height away from any residential building or to any legal boundary.

The team here at Outpost recommend that if you are uncertain at all then you should contact your local council to confirm.

Before checking whether you need a consent for your shed, sleep out or cabin, you need to know:

  • dimensions of the project (height, total area)
  • location on property where the project will go
  • size of the property in square metres
  • total area of your property currently covered by buildings
  • total area of your property currently covered by hard surfaces, for example concrete or paved areas.


Pictured above is the Outlander 10 square metre cabin from Outpost Buildings. This is a great design for a backyard office, hobbies room or sleep out. Click here for more info about the Outlander Cabin


For more information and examples of buildings that do or don’t need consents see this website:

Buildings bigger than 10 square meters

If your new garden shed or sleep out is more than 10 square meters in floor area then you will most likely need a consent. There are however some cases that you may not need a consent; like if your new building is replacing an old one on the same site. The Outpost team can help you through the consent process if you do need to get one.


Do you need a building permit or consent for relocatable farm buildings?

Buildings such as relocatable firewood shelters or paddock shelters for animals are unlikely to need a consent. The main purpose of a building consent is to make sure buildings are safe so many of the rules are focused on limiting the spread of fire between buildings and neighbouring properties and keeping people safe.

The fact that most of the buildings designed by Outpost are relocatable makes them less likely to need a consent  because they can be moved or repositioned on your site when/if you need to. We do still recommend that if you are uncertain at all then you should contact your local council to confirm.

Pictured above is a relocatable Upland Garden Shed from Outpost. Click here to see more info about this shed >

Check with your council

Always check with your local council to make sure your proposed building work does not have any district planning implications (eg maximum site coverage, yard/setback requirements, daylight access planes or permitted activities).

If you are building close to boundaries, you need to give due consideration to the Building Code requirements regarding protection from fire; particularly in relation to the external spread of fire to neighbouring property.

Here’s some website links for the Auckland District Council that might be useful to you:


The team here at Outpost hope that this information has been helpful for you. Please contact us if you have any questions on 0800 688 767 or email





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