Building Sector News

Keeping warm Down South

Winter and other cold snaps can impose harsh conditions on those of us at the Southern end of the country. Several parties need to look at how to keep the occupants of buildings warm.

For all homeowners

Free standing fires are a good way of  warming a house. However  there are environmental considerations that   need to be considered. Environment Southland has  introduced rules to  gradually phase out fires  that are not clean air approved.

If your home/investment property is inside the Invercargill airshed  then you  will have to ensure that the  fire continues to comply with the latest rules. Clean Air loans are available to help  some  people make the required  conversion to a clean air approved fire. Check these links:
The airshed
Breathe Easy brochure explaining timeframes

For landlords

As well as having a requirement to consider the  environmental impact of solid fuel heaters, landlords are also  required to consider levels of insulation in their rental houses.Insulation will be compulsory in all  rental homes from  July 2019 and any  new tenancy agreements should now be  accompanied with an Insulation Statement which details the  state of the insulation within the  rented building.

This is not  administered under the Building Act 2004, but it falls under the Residential Tenancies (Smoke Alarms and Insulation) Regulations 2016. Read all about it at this Government website:
Tenanacy services – insulation  (includes insulation statements, heating and ventilation, inspections – and much more.

For  tenants and residents

With cold weather it is tempting to  close up the windows and doors, and warm up the home. However this could  move the problem, as it increases the likelihood of condensation and the  flow-on effects of that condensation, such as mould.
The EECA Energywise website  gives some handy hints to remove moisture from both old and new houses. Brendan Monaghan, August 2017


Vetting checklists

The key to speeding up the Building Consenting process is to continually improve the completeness of the information that is received.

The consent application process starts with vetting where we check that all the information required to allow the consent to be processed is checked for its inclusion in the application.

We will ask you to show us that all the required information been supplied.

At this stage we don’t necessarily check for accuracy. That comes during the processing phase which is controlled by the statutory clocks.

If a consent application passes the vetting stage and later in the process it is discovered that it is incomplete, then delays may be incurred by a request for further information.

At the Invercargill City Council we would like to reduce the number of requests for further information as we are aware of the effects that they can have on the project timeline.

The following links point to the vetting check sheets used by the Invercargill City Council (they are also available on the Building Forms page):

If you are able to check that you have included all the required information before submitting your application, the vetting process should be quicker. Also, arranging the information in a similar order  to the checklist should reduce the time spent checking the information. Brendan Monaghan, 30 May 2017 


Earthquake-prone buildings advice

There are significant changes to the way earthquake-prone buildings are identified and managed under the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016.

Some of these changes will be confirmed once the Government has approved regulations and a methodology to identify earthquake-prone buildings which will collectively support the implementation of the new system.

Visit the following Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website section:
How the system will work

The website covers these topics: identifying potentially earthquake-prone buildings, priority buildings, assessing potentially earthquake-prone buildings, deciding if a building is earthquake prone, and managing (extensions for action, exemptions from action, triggers for early action, and Territorial powers where no action is taken).

Heritage buildings
Simon Tonkin, the Invercargill City Council Development Liaison Manager, notes that owners of heritage buildings may be able to get financial assistance from the Government for strengthening work.

The website has eligibility guidelines.

The close-off  date for applications to be considered at the next assessment panel meeting is 21 August 2017. The next opportunity closes on 4 December 2017.


Website updates

We are working on some of our website content with the intention of making it more useful to users.

In the Building Services area we have recently done work in the Forms, Asbestos, LIMs and Producer Statement Author areas.

I hope you’ll agree that these changes make our section more readable. Keep dropping back in to check on our progress. – Brendan Monaghan, 6 April 2017

Height of structures

It is important that you show actual ground levels on elevation plans for buildings. Showing ground levels at the outset will ensure that everyone involved is aware of what the effects of an activity are, and will also reduce any complications when it comes to monitoring and final sign off.

When calculating the height of structures under the Proposed Invercargill City District Plan, the Council now uses a “rolling height method”, which is the same as that used in the Southland District. No longer is the ground level be averaged over the length of the building, and instead we now look at the actual ground level. Read more:

Details and diagram

Changes to pool fence rules

The Government has repealed the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 from 1 January 2017.The Rules are now part of the Building Act 2004 and owners’ responsibility for safety has not been relaxed as some may believe.

Proposed District Plan status of provisions

The period for which submitters had the opportunity to appeal decisions on the Proposed District Plan has now closed.  A total of 16 appeals have been received. These will be processed through the Environment Court to resolve the issues.

In the meantime, the status of the District Plan provisions has changed yet again.

All provisions in the Proposed District Plan that are not subject to an appeal are now to be treated as operative, meaning the rules that they replace are inoperative.  Therefore, for many consents you will now only need to comply with the Proposed District Plan.

Where a rule has been appealed,  all subdivisions and developments will need to comply with the relevant provisions in both the Operative District Plan and the Proposed District Plan – Appeals Version. The appeals cover a range of issues, such as opposition to decisions on the provisions in the Residential 3 and Seaport 2 Zones, and opposition to most of the Biodiversity provisions, as well as some of the Infrastructure provisions.

A Proposed District Plan document highlighting the provisions that are subject to an appeal can be viewed here.

There are brochures on the Planning Guides and Forms page that outline the key rules for the Residential, Otatara and Rural zones.

NOTE: It will pay to double check your development proposal with the Council’s Duty Planner  (03) 211 1777 if you have any Planning concerns.


Land Information Memorandum (LIM)

If you are considering buying a home or commercial building you should be aware that the Council holds some information that may be useful  for you to have as you make your decision.

This information can be  provided to you in a Land Information Memorandum (LIM).

A LIM  contains  a lot of information relating to a property and is  a very useful document to have when doing your due diligence.

  • For more information visit the LIMs page.



Crime Prevention
Crime Prevention Ideas for Building Owners