Frequently Asked Questions

Do you draw new homes? Alterations?

We offer a wide range of services but are not limited to just basic plans. Projects we have completed have ranged from small additions, decks and garages, to large multi-storey homes, multi-unit developments, and commercial projects such as day spas, cafes and offices. Every job is unique from the smallest to the largest and we pride ourselves on attention to detail for each one regardless of its size.

What info do I need at the 1st visit?

1. You need to have an idea about what you want to do. Put it down as bullet points, sketches, photographs – just helps in communicating your ideas more effectively.
2. Filling in our questionnaire gives us a fair idea of your specific needs.
3. Property Bag – it has plans of the existing structures. Site information such as zoning, size, hazards, spot heights or contours, drainage information, etc are also available in it. This can be purchased on a CD from your Council.

If you have the above, it makes our first meeting more effective and solution oriented. But don’t worry, when we first meet, we can advise you what’s else is going to be needed. We are here to help you get through the permit process quickly and efficiently.

Does all work require a Building Permit?

Most of the renovation work requires a consent with a few exceptions. From Dec 2010, Schedule 1 of the building act 2004 was amended to allow a wider range of work to be done without a building consent. By law all exempt work must still meet the building code and other relevant legislation. If you are unsure about this, call Council or give Bobby a call on 836 0576.

How long is a Building Permit valid for?

A building Permit will lapse if some work covered by it does not commence within 12 months of issue. Generally the easiest way of proving this is to have your first inspection. Then a Code of Compliance certificate must be applied for within 2 years of granting the Building Consent.

Can the Council refuse me a Building Permit?

“Yes”, but only with good reason. If your project complies with all of the District Plan (for Town Planning issues), has suitable drainage and is structurally correct, there should be no reason for a refusal. However, if one of these areas is not right, then Council will ask for further information, or may refuse the permit. We put in a lot of effort upfront with Council before taking on a project to ensure that it will get a consent. If the consent is likely to be refused we do not take up the job.

If the Council asks for more information and it is not received within the time specificied, then they may cancel the application. This is why these requests take precedence over new work.

How long does a Building Permit take to Issue?

Under the Building Act 2004, councils must have a Building Permit issued within 20 working days, PROVIDING they have all the information they need. If more information is required the clock stops until that information is received. For this reason, at Tarzan Design, any extra Council requirements after consent lodgement are sorted for you, on a priority basis, at no extra cost.

How long do plans take to complete?

This is a bit dependent on the type and size of the project. The majority of the time spent is in the design of the project (about a week to 2 weeks). Once the design is complete it usually only takes another 3 – 4 weeks to complete the structural drawings subject to time frames of other consultants involved with the project. However, whether it’s drawing the initial design, working drawings, or, more importantly, responding to Council requests for more information, we keep in mind that it’s your time and money. That means we give you our very best at all times.

How much will Council charge?

This is another of those not-too-easy-to-answer questions. Each Council has a slightly different schedule of fees and apply them differently to each project. For example, Auckland City Council refuse to give out fees over the phone, but rather require the client to write a cheque on the spot. Once we assess the scope of your project we can give you a better idea on what the consent fee will be. (It could vary between $2500 approx. for a simple alteration to $9000 for a new house).

How much do plans cost?

Not surprisingly, this is probably the most common question. Unfortunately, it rarely has a simple answer. Because every project is different in size, time and cost, there is quite a range of costs for plans. We charge in 2 parts.
1.) Firstly a design or concept fee which could be hourly based. But to give you piece of mind, our chargeable design time has a fee cap. You only pay for the time we spend, not a fee based on what we estimate the time will be.
2.) Once the design is finalised then we all know how big an area is being worked on. Then we charge per m2 for the working drawings.

After much deliberation we came up with this format as we believe it gives our clients the fairest fee structure. With the amount of increased documentation, the charge for doing a basic BC starts from $3400+gst onwards.

What is sustainable design? Eco Design? Do you do it?

Interest in sustainable, green building practices is greater than ever. Whether concerned about allergies, energy costs, old-growth forests, or durability and long-term value, homeowners and builders are looking for ways to ensure that their homes are healthy, safe, beautiful, and efficient. Sustainable design can be summed up by saying, “Use as little of today’s resources, to leave as much as possible for the future.” The staff at Tarzan Design are devoted to assisting our clients, both the homeowner and the builder or developer, in creating a home that is the smartest and best choice for the resident, the home site and the environment. See our for further information.

You can check out our links page where you’ll find links to many sites that offer self-help for owners, builders and developers. But if you want face-to-face help that’s free, then see if your council has a resident Eco-advisor. They are part of the Eco Advisory Service and are attached to many councils throughout NZ.

What is ADNZ?

ADNZ (INC) . is the national professional body representing architectural designers. ADNZ Professional and Associate members are self-employed in their own practices in all regions throughout New Zealand. They arrange ongoing seminars and training to ensure that we, as designers, are up with the latest trends, and familiar with current products and information. This ongoing support is vital for us to supply you, the consumer, with the great service that we do.

They also organise the annual awards competition which helps designers showcase their work. In addition to this, they are extensively involved in industry liaison and industry steering and policy making.

Are you a LBP?

If you want to undertake a building project then check that the designer you are using is either licensed, or a registered architect or a chartered professional engineer. If your designer is not licensed, any design work that includes Restricted Building Work may either not be able to be submitted or will need to be checked by a Licensed Designer; Registered Architect or Chartered Professional Engineer – potentially adding to the build costs.
We are a licensed Building Practitioner since May 2007 giving you peace of mind of dealing with the right professional.

The Licensed Building Practitioner logo confirms for consumers that the building practitioners they are engaging have been assessed as technically competent in their licensed field.