Building Consents

Wondering if you need a building consent for your project?

Some guidelines are laid out below, but for anything specific we recommend getting in touch with your local council and learning more about the consent process at

Do I need a building consent for a Shade Sail?

Usually, no. A building consent is normally not needed for shade sails (and their posts / structure) if it is no larger than 50m2 and is placed more than 1 metre away from your legal boundary. More information can be found on here. As with all our shade sail projects, we will ensure the sail is designed specifically for your site and is manufactured and installed to be safe, secure, and strong.

Do I need a building consent for my pergola at home?

If it’s under 20m2, usually consent is not required. For anything up to 30m2 you may need to engage a Chartered Professional Engineer to help ensure the structure is built safely to code. Whether building consent is required or not, it’s important to give thought to:

  • Stormwater
  • District planning and possible resource consent requirements
  • Building close to boundaries

If we want to enclose our café or school patio area with outdoor screens, do we need consent?

Yes, regardless of the size of the structure. Because you are in a public space building consent is required. Thought needs to be given to safety, including fire exits and building code compliance. Your local council can help guide you through the process and we are happy to work in with them as needed.

Where can I find more information on building consents for porches, verandas, and pergolas?

Click here for more information.

How big can my carport be before I need building consent?

Generally, carports up to 20m2 in ground floor area don’t require consent. Anything bigger than this can be consented through your local council – our design plans will be prepared to help the application process go smoothly, including sign off by a Chartered Professional Engineer. Ask us for more information for your specific project. More information on carport consents here.

Do I need building consent for my awning?

There are three categories for ground floor awnings – up to 20m2, up to 30m2 being overseen by a Chartered Professional Engineer, or up to 30m2 with a Licensed Building Practitioner carrying it out or there to supervise. has clear information you can follow, and we are able to advise depending on the size of your awning project.

When fixing an awning to a building you need to realise that inferior fixings can cause moisture damage to the property when the awning is attached to the building. This is why weather-tight mechanical connections and nuts, bolts or coach screws are required.

  • Residential: Most of our residential awning projects are of a smaller scale (< 20m2) on the ground level or first floor and so don’t require consent.
  • Commercial / Public Spaces: Awnings in public areas (including restaurants and bars) will require consent.

Once you are clear on your specific requirements it is a good idea to check this out with your local council. We are happy to provide any product specs as required.


At Sunshade, our 20+ years of experience working on projects just like yours, combined with our end-to-end process, allows us to be specialists in shades and screens.

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