How much do plans cost?
Not surprisingly, this is probably the most common question. Unfortunately, it rarely has a simple, off pat answer. Because every project is different in size, time and cost, there is quite a range of cost for plans. Some draftspeople/architects charge per hour, some a percentage of retail cost of the project, others a flat fee.
We charge in 2 parts. Firstly a design or concept fee which is 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. 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.
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.
How long do plans take to complete?
This is a bit dependent on the type and size of the project. The smaller the project, the quicker the job. The majority of the time spent is in the design of the project. Once the design is complete it usually only takes another 2 - 3 weeks to complete the structural drawings.
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 long does a Building Permit take to issue?
Under the Building Act 2004 (and reviews)
, councils must have a Building Permit issued within 2 weeks, PROVIDING they have all the information they need. If more information is required the clock stops until that information is received. For this reason, we give priority to jobs already submitted to council for checking.
Can the Council refuse me a Building Permit?
"Yes", but only with a 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.
If Council asks for more information and it is not received within the time specified, then they may cancel the application. This is why these requests take precedence over new work.
Does all work require a Building Permit?
Generally, yes. Most structures are regarded by the Building Act 2004 (and reviews)
as a "building". The notable, and common, exceptions are timber fences under 1.8m high, retaining walls under 1.5m high (providing they are not supporting a slope, driveway or house) and decks under 1m high. However, some councils do treat these differently and it's important to check. Garden sheds are usually exempt as well with some provisios. Recent changes to the Act have included some other items so it is importnat to check for up to date information.
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 Compliance certificate must be applied for within 2 years of granting the Building Consent.
Do I need my neighbour's permission?
Neighbour's permission is only required if your project infringes one of Council's planning rules. These can be issues such as building on a boundary, Height in Relation to Boundary infringements. If the project complies in all respects then neighbour's consent is not required.
The one major exception to this is with cross leased sites. The law regarding this requires that the other party/ies to a cross lease sign off the flat plan once the project is finished. In this case neighbour's "permission" is always required.
What is a Code Compliance Certificate?
Often called, mistakenly, a Code of Compliance ( also called a CCC), it is a document issued by the council once it is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the building work complies with the building consent. This determination is made after a council inspector or inspectors complete a final inspection, and are satisfied that the building complies not only with the original consent, but with any rules which have changed since.
What is a LIM?
This stands for Land Information Memorandum. It is not something usually having anything to do with building. It is usually applied for by prospective buyers to check out a property they are looking at buying. It gives information such as site address and legal description, size, drainage, hazards, zoning, etc.
What is a PIM?
This stands for Project Information Memorandum. It is part of the documentation issued when you apply for a Building Permit. It covers the town planning side of the permit such as height in relation to boundary, site coverage, maximum height, etc.
What is a Building Consent/Permit?
A building consent/permit is exactly what it says. Permission to construct the structure as shown in the plans the Consent is based upon. All alterations should have amendments completed and processed by Council. These permits are governed by the Building Act 2004
What is a Resource Consent?
Where a permit application would fall outside the council's district plan rules, then a Resource Consent is required. This is a special, extra consent required under the Resource management Act 1991 (and reviews)
. Information and/or reports not normally needed for a straightforward building consent may be required. Other professionals may also need to be involved. An Assessment of Effects report is always required and we are able to do these for most applications. Where they are outside our scope we have specialist planners we can call on.
What is Height in Relation to Boundary?
In an attempt to preserve sun and light to neighbouring properties, councils use Height in Relation to Boundary lines (also called Daylight or Sunlight Angles, or HRB). These imaginary lines determine how high a structure can be built before it blocks theoretical light to a neighbouring property. To avoid a Resource Consent and the necessity for neighbour's permission, these lines must not be infringed. Each council have slightly different rules as regards the height these lines start at on the boundary and at what angle they run up at.
What is Maximum Height?
This is the maximum overall height of a structure. It is generally expressed as a number of metres above ground level. There are two common ways of working out maximum height, either Rolling - the height line follows the ground contours - or average - spot heights at building corners are taken, added together and averaged out.
What is the Hazard Register?
Each council keeps a record of sites that have been identified as having some hazard associated with them. This can be unstable ground, deposited fill, flooding. Special engineering reports may be required for such sites before building permits can be issued.
What is meant by a site's zoning?
Every site comes under a zoning. Each zone has certain rules that must be adhered to. These can relate directly to building a structure (Site coverage, Maximum Height) or it can relate to other issues, such as Home Occupations, Noise, etc. A quick call to Council (Town Planning Department) will identify which zoning a site comes under and what rules apply.
How much site can I build over?
This is called site coverage. On the majority of suburban residential sites it is 35% of net site size. Rural, seaside and business zones have different rules, and it is imperative to check with Council.
Also, different councils consider various other elements as site cover. Some include decks, others not. Some swimming pools. It pays to seek specific advice either directly or via your designer regarding the local council rules.
Can I subdivide my site?
This is another one of those questions which has no definite answer until some investigation has been done. The situation can arise where an owner of a 600m2 section is able to subdivide, whereas an owner of a 2000m2 can't. There are a number of factors that come into the equation, but the main ones are, location, zoning of the site, size and drainage.
One issue which must be resolved is where the extra stormwater and sewerage are going to go. Sometimes these problems, while possible to overcome, are too expensive to be feasible.
What info do I need at the 1st visit?
You need to have an idea about what you want to do. Often this can be no more than an expression of some need (ie. We need some more living space, or we need another bedroom). Some people will go as far as drawing up their ideas on paper. Both these extremes are sufficient for a good designer to make a start with.
Other things that are helpful, and help keep costs down, are (for alterations) plans of existing structures. Site information such as zoning, size, hazards, spot heights or contours, drainage information, etc.
Whilst none of these is imperative for a designer to start work, they will all need to be obtained at some stage. But don't worry, when we first meet, we can advise you what's going to be needed. We are here to help you get throught the permit process quickly and efficiently.
Do I need my own surveyor or engineer?
Not necessarily. We have a good relationship with local professionals who we can rely on for their input as required. We will liase with them and obtain all the necessary calculations to complete your project. We pay for the reports as needed and add this to our final account. This saves you having to search and write out multiple cheques.
We aim to be, as far as possible, a one stop shop to minimise the hassle for you.
Can you recommend tradespeople?
Yes we can. Over the years we have built up a good database of tradespeople we can trust and are happy to pass their details onto you. We are not in any way associated with them in a business sense and receive no commission or similar from them.
We are in contact with a wide range of people but do not always have people in every area that we can trust. As it is our reputation on the line when we recommend, we take every effort to ensure that, when we recommend, we do so only with those who are reputable.
Do you only work in Auckland? NZ?
No. We will work wherever the work is. Past projects have ranged from Kaitaia to Queenstown. Whilst we have yet to work overseas, we are currently in negotiations with a firm in Bombay, India to do concept design for them. With the internet and the explosion in digital technology, distance and time zones are no longer a barrier.
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 reanged from small additions, decks and garages, to large multi-storey homes, multi-unit developments, and commercial projects such as warehousing, hotels 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.
Call us now to get your project underway.
What is ADNZ?
ADNZ (INC) Architectural Designers New Zealand 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.
Which way should my house face?
The layout of the house, in relation to the sun, and the use of features and materials that don’t use high amounts of manufactured energy to operate are important in keeping your house at the right temperature while saving on energy costs. Your house orientation can allow maximum sun in the winter and provide shade for coolness in the summer. This includes deciding which rooms you want to be the sunniest.
Houses in the Southern Hemisphere should face geographic north (±15deg) in order to obtain optimal solar benefit. Houses which are north-orientated and have most windows facing north will have the least heat gain in summer and the least heat loss in winter, providing proper attention to eaves and wall height is given (assuming proper detailing of eaves and shading). The orientation of houses involves limited direct costs and should be an integral part of all planning and design.
See our Green Building page
for further information. We are committed to getting you the house you want!
What is sustainable 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. As designers, we acknowledge our responsibility to help you meet the needs of today, without adversely affecting the needs of tomorrow. Ultimately, that is the reasoning behind the growing focus on building sustainable living areas.
See our Green Building page
for further information.
What should I know before buying land?
Firstly, take nothing as a given. We aren't suggesting anyone is deliberately trying to mislead you, but rather that information can get lost in translation or interpretation. Ask questions about site stability, covenants, Resident's Association rules, zoning, drainage, easements. Also watch for high-tension powerlines - these can render parts of the site unbuildable. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some good starting points to begin with.
Time spent researching site information at the governing Council can save you from buying into a site which turns out to be costly, or difficult, to develop. There are many variables that can govern what you can and can't do. For example, what sort of house do you want? What size?
The engagement of a good design professional at this early stage can help. you won't be doing this for every site you look at - just the one/s you are keen on. We can offer this "feasibility" work at an hourly rate.
Also consider site orientation
while looking at the prospective site.
What other Eco-design help is available?
Firstly, 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.
An Architect v an Architectural Designer.
A common question we are asked is, "What's the difference between an architectural designer and an architect?" In most cases very little. We are both involved in building design and implementation. The big difference is, in fact, terminology and law. Under the Architects Act 2005
Part 2, sections 6 & 7, a person must be registered and hold a current certificate of registration to call themselves an architect. Otherwise, by law, the title must not be used, unless it is used outside the construction industry - for example, Software Architect is acceptable.
We are not architects, but architectural designers. However, we offer similar services. We design, we produce permit application documentation, become involved in town planning issues & more.