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Ruapehu Achieves NZ First on Building Relocation Rules

Ruapehu Achieves NZ First on Building Relocation Rules

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) is the first council in NZ to make relocated building projects a permitted activity in its District Plan with a bond to cover all council costs.

Since a 2002 Environment Court decision that found new houses and relocated buildings should generally be treated the same under District Plan rules the Heavy Haulage Association (HHA) has opposed councils attempting to impose bonds and make relocations a resource consent activity.

RDC Group Manger Community Services, Margaret Hawthorne, said that the HHA wanted relocated buildings to be a permitted activity without a bond and with all administration and monitoring costs to be paid by the council.

“RDC had wanted to adopt District Plan rules that made relocated building projects a resource consent activity and required a bond to be paid to ensure that the project was finished in a reasonable timeframe and that Council costs were covered.”

“With a proportionally high number of relocated buildings compared to other districts this issue is of significant importance to Ruapehu which has had around 350 buildings moved into the district since 1990,” she said.

“Council has been successful in mediating a solution that allows a bond to be collected against building relocation projects and recovery of our administration and building monitoring costs.”
“The success of RDC’s District Plan solution has been noted by other councils especially those with high numbers of holiday homes such as Ruapehu.”

“To achieve the mediated settlement RDC compromised on the need for a resource consent if the relocate project meets certain ‘permitted activity’ requirements.”

“These include the need for; the relocated building to have previously been used as a house, a pre-inspection report, a bond to the value of 50% of the reinstatement works, Council costs to be taken out of the bond, a 12 month timeframe for the building to be reinstated after being placed on-site, and insulation/heating requirements.”

“The insulation/heating requirements require underfloor and ceiling insulation to be at the same level as new buildings under the Building Code and the installation of a primary heat source such as a heat pump, flued gas heater or wood burner.”

“Ruapehu is one of the first Council’s to have rules requiring the insulation/heating of relocated buildings.”

Mrs Hawthorne said bonds have proven to be the most effective way of ensuring that relocated building projects are completed in a reasonable timeframe and not left unfinished.

“Council data shows that on average where a bond is paid it takes 11.4 months for the building to be completed and where no bond has been paid it takes an average of 15.9 months,” she said.

“Unfinished relocated house/building projects can have long term effects on the character and aesthetics of a neighbourhood bringing down surrounding property values and inhibiting other investment.”

“Council has more extreme examples of relocated properties with no bond taking two or more years to complete.”

Mrs Hawthorne noted that Council has never needed to use a bond to complete a project.

“Council is in the process of developing new information packs for people considering relocation projects.”

“Anyone considering a building relocation should contact Council to discuss their plans with us,” she said.


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