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Navigating Council Regulations for Shipping Containers in New Zealand

Whether you plan to use shipping containers for accommodation, storage, or commercial purposes, understanding the necessary permits and consents in New Zealand is essential. The process might seem complex, but you can navigate it efficiently with the correct information. This post will guide you through the different permits, factors considered by councils, and practical advice on adhering to the regulations.

Types of council regulations for shipping containers

There are three primary permits and consents to be aware of:

Resource consent: Depending on how you plan to use your shipping container and your local district rules, you might need a resource consent. This is especially relevant if your container will have a considerable effect on the environment or your neighbours.

Building consent: If you’re using the container as a building or making significant changes to it, a building consent may be necessary to ensure it meets the standards of the Building Code for safety and health.

Transport permits: Transporting your shipping container on public roads could require a permit, especially if the container is larger or heavier than standard limits.

Council considerations

Councils review various aspects when evaluating applications for shipping containers, such as the container’s location, its visual impact, the intended purpose, and its potential effects on both the environment and the local community. Councils may look more favourably on locations with minimal visual intrusion or where environmental impacts are mitigated.

Compliance with council regulations

To ensure you adhere to council regulations:

  • Pick an appropriate location for your container. It should meet the distance requirements from boundaries, avoid obstructing views, and harmonise with the surrounding environment.
  • Ready your site correctly. This might involve laying a gravel base or constructing a platform for the container.
  • Provide a thorough application detailing your intentions for the shipping container, its location, and any planned modifications.

Necessary approvals

For the approvals you need:

For resource consent: Supply a comprehensive plan of your site, indicating where the container will be, accompanied by a description of your intentions.

For building consent: Offer detailed drawings of the container and any changes, as well as any required specifications and calculations from a professional engineer, depending on the degree of modification.

For transport permits: Give details about the container’s size and the route for its transport.

Common mistakes to avoid

Make sure you’ve secured all the necessary approvals beforehand. Refrain from positioning the shipping container in a spot where consent might be denied and keep your shipping container in line with council standards.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a permit for a shipping container? 

Depending on its purpose and location, you could need a permit or consent.

What are the safety and health standards for shipping containers? 

They should meet the New Zealand Building Code, covering topics like structural stability, fire safety, access, moisture control, and longevity.

Where can I position a shipping container? 

The rules for placing shipping containers are generally dictated by your local district plan. Each council has varied guidelines, so consulting your local council is advisable.

Before starting a shipping container project in New Zealand, be aware of and understand the related permits and consents. As local councils might have unique guidelines, thorough research is essential. By following the steps outlined, your project should proceed smoothly.

If you’re interested in using a shipping container for your property, SEA Containers provides various high-quality options for different needs. Browse our website today to start your shipping container journey.