Yurts and the NZ Building Code

Origin Yurts and the NZ Building Code

Tasman Canvas is working on an exciting new development as well as rethinking and updating some of the design features of our existing yurts. This means they will be unavailable for purchase for the next few months. Thank-you for your patience, please keep checking here for updates.

All work in NZ must comply with the Building Code. This is non-prescriptive but sets standards to which all proposed structures must meet. These include fire retardancy, structural strength, moisture control and durability.

In order for a building to be given consent to build, the Building Consent Authority (BCA) must be satisfied the building plans and specifications meet the required standards. In a 'standard' construction the 'expertise' (usually local council) of the authority allows consents to be processed with minimal fuss. For an 'out-of-the-box' dwelling such as a yurt the way of compliance with the Building Code is covered by a grey area called Acceptable Solutions.

In order for a unique and innovative construction such as our yurts to be accepted, Origin Yurts have been through a lengthy process of amassing all relevant documentation, expert advice, researching materials, engaging engineers and just good old give-it-a-go Kiwi tenacity to be a yurt maker with a structure that will meet the NZ Building Code. We stand by our products and are happy to help you through the process.

The evidence required by councils is extensive, comprehensive and detailed. It relates to many clauses within the Code and requires input from many experts. We have ploughed this route and can offer an efficient and experienced hand through this journey. As all projects must be considered on their individual merit we cannot provide a one-size-fits-all solution, but can offer unbiased advice on how best to work with BCA to ensure your project runs as smoothly as possible.

Most building work in NZ requires a Building consent (BC) - a permission to build. The BCA will assess each individual application to ensure relevant sections of the Building Code have been met.

For new builds your application will typically include a set of plans drawn by an architect or architectural draughtsman for the yurt, plans for the bathroom/cooking building, drainage and wastewater engineers report, producer statements from all relevant contractors, technical specifications for all products being used and a fee. Fees vary according to BCAs and the complexity of your application but may be $2000-$4000. The BCA has 20 working days legally to process your application but will usually require further clarification on some details which can extend the processing time. It is illegal under the Building Act to start building without a BC.

Once granted there are other requirements which have to be met. All building work has to be carried out by a Licenced Building Practitioner (LBP), this especially applies to the bathroom/cooking area.

For the yurt, special dispensations are given because of the Alternative Solution status. A chartered engineer takes responsibility for inspecting all aspects of the structure. A typical inspection schedule will include:
A visit to determine depth of footings and a penetrometer test to gauge the standard of ground.
Verification of fixing of subfloor sections to piles.
Checking of plywood floor and fixings of lattice, rafters, hub and tie downs.
Issuing Producer Statements. These tell the BCA that the requirements of the BC have been met.
According to travel time and the complexity of the job, the engineer may cost around $3000.

Origin yurts will also supply a Producer Statement for the non-structural elements of the yurt construction. This includes the installation of the lining, insulation, vapour barrier and cladding.

As an owner, you will also be required to sign a Producer Statement which tells the BCA you will undertake a maintenance schedule on the canvas and PVC roof. This amounts to an annual wash and re-coat of mould inhibitor - if the material requires.

The bathroom/cooking area is governed by an inspection schedule from the BCA. Depending on the design, complexity and local site variations these will vary. The inspections are included as part of your BCA fee, although BCAs will normally charge extra if re-inspections are required.

BCAs main concern with cooking and washing in a yurt is tied to the Building Code E3 clause regarding internal moisture. For this reason plans will include cooking and bathing to take place in a separate building. The yurt remains a sleeping and living area.

Tasman Canvas and Origin Yurts


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