Kiwi summers naturally lend themselves to getting outside and enjoying the sun, and this includes your outdoor space where you can entertain, play with the kids or just put your feet up and relax. There’s only one thing better than relaxing on your deck and it’s knowing that you’ve built it yourself! We’re here to help with a guide on how to build a deck.
The most important step to start with is to plan, plan and plan some more! If you are simply building a deck to walk over and get from one place to another, it can be a very different design than one that you want to entertain and live on. There are hundreds of inspirational ideas to be found online and you can check out some in our decking gallery here. Take your favourite ideas from all the amazing spaces people have created before you and incorporate them into your own perfect outdoor living area. Once you have drawn up a plan, grab some furniture and place it around your proposed deck area to get a feel for how things will work.
Having a detailed deck plan will also help you understand exactly which materials you will need. In some cases you can save a lot of money by understanding what materials you can get and what lengths they come in. Timber is often supplied in select lengths from 2.4m up to 6m. Keep in mind the dimensions so you can minimise waste.
Sometimes big decks can be split into different spaces with picture frames around certain areas to eliminate joins and reduce waste. Everything you do at the planning stage will make a big difference to the outcome – in looks, functionality and cost. If you know a professional in the building industry, run your ideas past them also.
DO I NEED CONSENT?
Once you have a plan then you need to check with your local authorities about consent requirements. Irrespective of whether your deck requires a permit or not it can still be affected by various laws. The Resource Management Act covers the use of any land in New Zealand so depending on where your deck is situated it could require resource consent if it is near boundaries or if it impacts on neighbours in certain ways.
The second thing to be aware of is the Building Act (NZS 3604:2011) – decks that have a finished height above 1.5 metres from the ground require a consent. If your deck is below 1.5 metres then it doesn’t require consent, however it must still meet other building requirements, primarily the durability and structural requirements. Decks may need to meet other requirements so check your design meets all the NZS 3604:2011 requirements.
Special rules around access routes and deck fixings could affect your deck so check with those who know the rules. Any deck where someone can fall 1 metre or more requires a barrier in compliance with NZBC F4 – safety from falling.