Legal/Building consent advice

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2 years 6 months ago #549423 by pipiak
Hi everyone, I am trying to get bit more information about living off grid in NZ.
Thing is that if you look into trademe or any other site selling houses/lifestyle block/land etc you will find relatively cheap places.

You can find remote lands, with already established buildings, etc. but thing is that everything without any paperwork. Basically all illegal structures, no building consents, no code of compliance etc.

So my questions are:

1. Nobody cares ? There is no enforcement here, or why is that ?
2. What are the repercussions of building without having documents, as per council sites, there are quite huge fines + possible removal of structures
3. When I am trying to speak to "certified tradesmen" -> electricians, plumbers etc, which you are required to call by law, when you are building your house yourself, there are not actually happy about "just checking" your work, but they want to do labour themselves.
4. what about loans/mortgages, as every single bank told me that if you think about doing something out of the box -> kitset house, diy, offgrid, buying just land etc...you will end up having big interest + deposit with like 50%. How did you sort out finance then ?

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2 years 6 months ago #549424 by LongRidge
Hi pipiak and welcome.
Your questions might be answered better if we know your background, where you have been living, and where you are planning to live. I will start the conversation.
1. Some parts of NZ have many people that are not well serviced with sewerage, electricity, rubbish disposal, and most importantly roads. In those Districts the Council will and does check how many people are resident on properties and paying Rates (local government taxation). In other places enforcement is not undertaken until a disaster happens to the people living in the structure. Then the Council and the Insurance company determines if payment or prosecution is required. With no permit, payment is less likely.
2. Depends on the level of risk as determined by the Council experts. If you build a bridge that is unsafe you will likely be asked to do it properly.
3. Exactly. They don't want to be responsible for work not done by themselves.
4. When you take out a loan, in effect you are selling the asset to the bank. So in effect, the bank has first claim if you can't pay. With a building that is consented they have some leverage over the construction company if the asset fails eg is flooded by poor plumbing or poor siting, burns because too close to forestry or electrical shorting or placement of fireplace, falls down because of poor construction for wind, poor materials, earthquakes, land subsidence because of poor placement.

For insurance, the contents can be insured so long as the damage was not done by the building.
For re-sale, the value of unconsented building is about zero. If you have lots and lots of photos of the work as it is being done at every stage then it might be worth more than zero if you have constructed to the building code.

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2 years 6 months ago #549425 by pipiak
Thank you for quick reply.

So bit of a background. We moved to NZ 2 years ago, basically paying rent, every month 2k burned.
So I said that I want to buy couple of shipping containers, cheap land and start living there. I mean
I am computer programmer, working remotely. So I dont need much (just internet and power)

So after initial research it all seemed great. But more I read, and spoke to people everyone just told me:
- you will never get mortgage (for reason you already mentioned)
---> but thats fine, I can take just personal loan, and start building slowly, so thats not such a big problem

- building consent, resource consent, code of compliance
---> that bigger issue, as if you start counting all "legal" work which has to be done by certified tradesmen -> electricity, plumbing, gas, foundations, then all done by architect all send to council. You will end up in same price as cheap wooden house.

I spoke to this company: www.iqcontainerhomes.co.nz/ they really know what they are doing, but basically owner told me, that their houses are even more expensive than regular timber frame houses, and you cant get "low" deposit mortgage as its somehow more risky for banks.

So Basically after this "dream" ruined, and went to next idea: I will buy cheap land, and order cheap kitset from www.qbh.co.nz/ . Owner was really helpful, everything seemed fine. I found good priced land in area where I live (Mangawhai Heads).

End then if failed because:
- kitset is still "risky" for banks
- I cannot build it myself (because of banks)
- I will have to finance land first (with maybe even 50% deposit)
- I cannot change plan of kitset at all, and that land had building covenants stating, that I have to have extra sound proofing layer.

And now If i want to go with that idea, basically I have to have $50k for for example $100k land (50%) and I have no idea how much to get $100k for kitset. But when I spoke to bank advisors, they all told me, that you cannot tell them that you want to build house, as then it falls into building structures mortgage, with specific policy and then you are screwed again.

So this is good if you are loaded, which is not my case.

Our last chance to own house, is to get one of those kiwibuilds, ie new home for 500k, then you can have 5% deposit and hope that they approve the loan. But before I commit to that I just wanted to know what other options I could have.

As if you look into trademe, there are thousands houses, already build without any permit, and I just dont understand who cares, if I just want to live in the middle of nowhere in shipping container.

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2 years 6 months ago - 2 years 6 months ago #549427 by Stikkibeek
Not so very far from Mangawhai, on state highway 1 are two places with relocatable homes. The first one is at Te Hana Te Hana


The second is at Kaiwaka Kaiwaka almost opposite the the Absolute Concrete place.They have some small homes there. Have you considered this option?

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
Last edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Stikkibeek.

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2 years 6 months ago #549428 by Kilmoon

As if you look into trademe, there are thousands houses, already build without any permit, and I just dont understand who cares, if I just want to live in the middle of nowhere in shipping container.


Unfortunately nanny state NZ, and the local councils, want their $$ out of your pocket for 'well being' ego boosting projects (forget infrastructure - roads, water and waste pipes, power poles as they only get fixed when they break spectacularly). You are not able to live where you like at your risk, in whatever you like at your risk, because bylaws say that you cannot. You can self-build, but you need a special council permit for that so that they don't get sued down the track, by you, or any future owner when the house falls down or leaks. It has to be stated on the LIM for a property that the building(s) were self-built by the owner (with unknown building expertise). Basically, it's a buyer-beware 'council get out of jail' free card that you have to apply for and pay for.

Banks don't want to know too many details, they just want an asset (legally built to code and with council sign-off) to seize so they get their money back. Approach them with that firmly in the forefront of your mind and you'll understand their operating procedures. Unless you are filthy rich and able to fund everything yourself, you'll need to borrow - good luck, banks don't want anything that is outside the norm. Remember, they just want an asset to seize and sell.

Overall, good luck and without very deep pockets it seems your best bet is a Kiwibuild house.

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2 years 6 months ago #549445 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Legal/Building consent advice
If you have licenced building practitioners ( www.lbp.govt.nz/ ) stepping back from what you are wanting them to do. for gosh sake listen to them!

You will find some tosser calling themselves a builder here in NZ who is anything but. Will be unlicenced, will happily accept cash at the $45 per hour charge, you won't find them again legally when your process server is trying to find them to recoup your expenses over a negative building experience...

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2 years 6 months ago #549459 by neil postie
Hi
we have just been trying for resource consent to build a small cabin on our property (18 sqm). It wasn't easy but I don't blame the council, its their job to make sure things are done properly. We are now looking at 3 or 4 under 10 sq meter cabins linked by a veranda. no building consent required. We will need consent for a septic tank, drain layer, sparky, plumber etc but the cabins don't. It will be a lot cheaper and at the end of the day if it goes pear shaped we could sell the cabins for what they cost to build.

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2 years 6 months ago #549460 by pipiak
Yeah but only if
1. Building work in connection with any detached building that:

(a) is not more than 1 storey (being a floor level of up to 1 metre above the supporting ground and a height of up to 3.5 metres above the floor level); and
(b) does not exceed 10 square metres in floor area; and
(c) does not contain sanitary facilities or facilities for the storage of potable water; and
(d) does not include sleeping accommodation, unless the building is used in connection with a dwelling and does not contain any cooking facilities.

Which is still pretty restrictive. I know that they want to make sure that thing are done properly, but majority isnt. Imagine building something like insteading.com/blog/modern-underground-homes/ and get permit for that :D

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2 years 5 months ago #549486 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Legal/Building consent advice
There is good reason why registered tradies wont sign off on plumbing, electricity or building, namely because they are liable for any failure so they wont sign off someone elses work. That makes sense and may seem overly bureaucratic but people dont stay in their houses forever and the house should have a safety record beyond the life of its owners.
I have done a house removal and found it a very economical way of putting a house on a property. $55k for a 90msq house located on site required only cosmetic work to bring it to a high standard. It came with polished floors, light fittings, full kitchen, curtains, heat pump etc. All these little things can add up costs quite quickly.
As with any bare block, there is still a need for a formed access, septic system, water supply, electrical connection and plumbing connections.
There are a large number of firms selling relocatable homes and some of these are very solid and good quality. I wouldnt limit looking at such firms to the two already mentioned earlier in another post

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2 years 5 months ago #549502 by tonybaker
Sadly Pipiak, there is no easy shortcut to getting into a dwelling of any sort! Even a caravan needs funding. You can't blame tradies for not wanting to give you the benefit of their years of training to take the responsibility for work they did not do, they would have to be crazy to do so. That's why we failed on the "cheap housing" initiative by the government - nobody wants to build cheap houses, there is no profit in it.
Hope you can find a solution though and good luck.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
The following user(s) said Thank You: max2

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