New Zealand (NZ) Deck Design - ROBO Deck Designer
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Deck design plans NZ

NZ Deck Design Plans | ROBO Deck Designer

This ROBO Deck Designer makes the creation of NZ deck plan drawings a breeze. By clicking on the form controls with this website it is possible to create a working deck plan drawing of a deck within minutes with a complete list of materials. By using this service you can create a working deck drawing with limited design knowledge to the New Zealand (NZ) building code.

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How the ROBO Deck Designer works

This online generator will guide you through a series of dialog boxes which gather the required information for your deck plan. Each question is in plain English without the fancy jargon. There is constant feedback with the deck plan being displayed on the right of the webpages.

Technical limitations for the ROBO Deck Designer

The online ROBO Deck Designer/wizard cannot create every conceivable design, for example there are these limits with this website:

  • You can't create complicated designs other the designs pre-programmed into the website
  • You can't create multi level designs
  • You can't create sizes for the decks other than the sizes programmed into the website

You can't create every type of deck online, but in a large majority of cases the ROBO Deck Designer will should meet your needs with a quick easy to understand interface. Each deck will come up with a preview note, unless you want to go ahead and purchase the design.

Terms of use

This website is to be used on an "as is" basis for the free preview drawings only. There is no warranty that the drawings generated using the ROBO Deck Designer will meet local and national requirements for the free preview drawings, though we will try our hardest to ensure this will happen. It is a condition that by using the ROBO Deck Designer and ROBO Design Solutions (the developer of this website) shall not be liable for any damages incurred from using this website or from any document created through this. For more details see our website on the Legal Information

Latest Change(s)

29/05/2024 The videos continue. Here's a video all about if you need to brace a deck for wind.

10/04/2024 Here's what's been going on behind the scenes on the ROBO Deck Designer, you can have a sneak look at:

1/03/2024 Yet another video has been added. Have you ever wondered if you can use galvanised fasteners for a deck. This video will provide the answers.

18/01/2024 The first video for the new year. This video is a continuation of the previous video I did back in October 2022 on the future plans for ROBO Deck Designer. So now over a year later, where are things at?

7/12/2023 The third video in the series for handrail for design has just been added. This one covers handrails for steps.

25/10/2023 Another video for the ROBO Deck Designer Youtube channel. Oops there was planned to be three videos, but an extra one got slotted in. Please check out our video on is there a safety loophole for New Zealand decks?

13/09/2023 Check out the 2nd video in the series on Handrails for New Zealand decks - the infilling of handrails

2/08/2023 A new 3 part video series on the ROBO Deck designer Youtube channel on Handrail posts (balustrades) for a New Zealand deck. You can check out the first video at:

21/06/2023 Check out the new video "Tolerances for a New Zealand Deck" you can see this video at

18/04/23 - Great news here!, three more videos added to the ROBO Deck Designer You Tube channel. There's - Braced Piles for New Zealand Decks, Bracing for New Zealand decks - understanding the complex building code regulations & Exporting drawings out of ROBO Deck Designer into CAD software

10/01/23 - The bug affecting some of the Bills of Materials has now been fixed.

10/01/23 - Happy new year everyone. Please checkout the first video for 2023 - Loaded dimensions - What are they?

8/12/22 - The first of a string of upgrades planned for the ROBO Deck Designer site: When a drawing is purchased from the RDD website DXF files for all sheets of the drawings are now supplied. These DXF files are able to be imported into a large number of third party CAD programs. DXF files are pretty much the industry stardard file for converting between CAD programs.

27/11/22 - Three new videos added. The first one is Decks, Earthquakes & NZS3604. Find out how New Zealand decks are protected against earthquakes. The second video is all about Future plans for ROBO Deck Designer. The third is all about Anchor Piles

28/9/22 - Sorry the website has been down for around 20 hours. This was due to the web hosting company issue, but things are now resolved.

21/9/22 - Two more videos added to the ROBO Deck Designer You Tube channel. The first is all about bearers using NZS3604 and the second all about joists using NZS3604. These two videos give a great insight into two of the main parts of a deck.

26/8/22 - Sorry this notification is a bit on the late side. A new video is once again added to the ROBO Deck Designer 12 Things you probably didn't know about the ROBO Deck Designer.

25/7/22 - Yet another video added - Make sure you use the right nails for your deck. You can view the video on choosing your deck nails

30/06/22 - A new video has been added to the ROBO Deck Designer YouTube channel - a grand tour of the ROBO Deck Designer website. You can view this here. This video, shows all the different features of the ROBO Deck Designer website, there's a ton of information excluding the ROBO Deck Designer online tool.

9/6/22 - Two changes here, the first being a new Youtube video on how bad is the timber shortage in NZ for building a deck. The second being that the feedback input is now mandatory for the time being. While we understand this makes the designing of decks slightly slower, the feedback from using the site is invaluable.

19/05/22 - At last, another video added to the YouTube channel. This video is all about understanding bracing for decks in the easiest way possible using the ROBO deck Designer bracing calculator. By using this calculator you can find out your bracing requirements and how this can be achieved. You can check out the Bracing Design Video, by clicking here

21/04/22 - A few cosmetic tweaks have been made to the ROBO Deck Designer website over the last few days to provide a more positive user experience. Most of the changes here involve new updated images for the headers and a few photos added to the site. Another change here is a new webpage with a listing of all the videos from the ROBO Deck Designer Youtube channel.

11/04/22 - A new video has been added to show the process for a creating a siteplan using ROBO Deck Designer. You can view this here. This should provide an insight into the series of webpages for creating the siteplans.

11/04/22 - There's been two changes to the ROBO Deck Designer website. The first change is for providing more information on whether a siteplan is required, to avoid going through the complex series of website forms, unless this is required. The second change is providing greater clarity on the ledger supporting the deck fixed to a house.

17/3/22 - Check out the latest video added to the Youtube channel, Planning a New Zealand deck in 2022. This video outlines a lot of the planning required when considering a new deck. A highly informative video that addresses the consent process and design regulations and the relevant building codes.

28/2/22 - Great news, two new decks have been added to the ROBO Deck Designer website. This was a huge undertaking you can watch the two behind the scenes YouTube videos at Part 1 and Part 2

14/2/22 - A new video has been added to the ROBO Deck Designer YouTube channel - Adding a deck to the ROBO Deck Designer website - behind the scenes. It takes an awful lot of hard work to add a deck to the website, see how its done. You can watch Part 1 here

13/2/22 - Please note there are a few email issues with the contact email address. This is getting sorted out as soon as possible. The contact form works fine.

13/1/22 - I've just added a new video to You Tube: The Anatomy of a Deck - all about the different parts and materials that make up a deck.

6/12/21 - Just a latest update here. I've made a few very minor changes to the ROBO Deck Designer. The biggest one was to resolve a problem with the web server being changed a few weeks ago. The preview page sometimes was very slow loading and is now fixed. The other change is I have added another video to YouTube - Can you build a deck yourself

September 2021 - The entire website has been redesigned to offer more informational pages.

23/9/21 - Sorry the site has been down for two days, due to some urgent maintenance due to an update to the PHP programming language.

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The ROBO Deck Designer is free to use for previews

There is no cost to use the ROBO Deck Designer for preview drawings, even for multiple times, though if you decide to go ahead with and purchase the drawing there is a cost of $199.00 + GST or $239.00 + GST if you require assistance with the site plans. You can pass this website onto other friends and colleagues.

Feedback on the ROBO Deck Designer website

The ROBO Deck Designer is constantly being updated to provide the best user experience. A continuo improvement is one of the core values of ROBO Design Solutions (the developer of this website) therefore all feedback both good and bad is welcomed. In the online tool there is a box where feedback can be placed, or please email us how things can be improved.

Documents supplied by ROBO Deck Designer

For the deck drawings produced by ROBO Deck Designer, there are two A2 drawings supplied. These are supplied in a PNG file format. Also a bill of materials is supplied (list of materials); this is provided in both a Microsoft Word format as well as a CSV (comma separated value) file format which can be inputted into spreadsheets. For users which go ahead and purchase drawings an Autocad Script file is also supplied. This can be imported into many CAD programs where the drawings can be further manipulated like the creation of sloping ground.

The A2 drawings can be printed out easily at a local printer that supports wide format printing, one example being Warehouse Stationary.

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Drawing Ref No: Password:

Lost your Drawing Reference Number or Password? click here

Drawing Example (please click on image for larger view)

Preview Drawing Sheet 1

Preview Drawing Sheet 2

How to go about designing a deck

The ROBO Deck Designer website contains a huge number of resources on this website for the planning of a deck. There is an entire section on planning a deck through the menus at the top of the webpage. There are separate webpages on design considerations, the consent process, sun angle as well as a page with links to technical resources.

In addition to the webpages listed above the ROBO Deck Designer Youtube channel has many videos to help you plan your deck. This is constantly being updated; please don't hesitate to subscribe to be notified of new videos coming out.

Checking with your local authority

This is an absolute must. By checking with your local authority can find out if your proposed deck is legal, whether you require a building and/or resource consent. The resource consent requirement would vary with each local authority due to their district plan. Under the technical resources on the ROBO Deck Designer website there is a complete list of local authorities with links.


The budget of a deck comprises of three different areas:

The building materials

Obviously this one cannot be avoided. Please be aware however of the shortages of timber which has pushed up timber prices and increased delivery times. This one does require a great deal of planning sourcing your building materials and patience.


This may or may not be a cost. Some decks cannot be built by a home handyman and must be built by a licensed building practioner (LBP); these decks would be those where the height of the deck exceeds 1.5m. We would strongly advise to contact your local authority to confirm if you are legally able to build your deck. Also building a deck requires a lot of technical understanding and interpretation of the relevant building codes. For more information, please see the webpage on can you build a deck yourself.

Any building consent, code of compliance and/or resource consents

Building consents are required for decks greater than 1.5m in height as well as a code of compliance. Resource consents are required if your deck encroaches on the district plan under your local authority. This would be due a deck being close to a boundary, stream/river, coast or lake. Also this is dependent on the percentage building cover for your property. For more information please contact your local authority as well as check out the separate webpage on the consent process. Please note all the decks that can be designed on the ROBO Deck Designer website currently are at a maximum height of 1.5m which do not require a building consent or licenced building practioner (LPB) due to the height. If your deck is combined with a spa pool however you will require a building consent.

Some of the above costs may not be applicable

Getting started with ROBO Deck Designer

When you're ready to go, please click on the "Get Started" button on the ROBO Deck Designer website to access the online tool.

How to use ROBO Deck Designer online tool

The online tool on the ROBO Deck designer website makes the creation of deck drawings so easy. The series of webpage forms are presented in easy to understand English without all the fancy technical terms. The webpage forms are progressive presenting the user with not too many inputs at one time. Also the series of webpages are tailored towards the type of deck being designed, i.e. you would not be asked questions about handrails, if your deck does not feature handrails. It is also possible to create site plan drawings within the drawing. This is achieved through a series of webpage forms with inputs on the house size, site plan boundary dimensions and bearings and the relationship between the deck house and site boundary. Admittedly the site plan drawings are more of a challenge there is also an example site plan as well as a Youtube video which goes through the entire site plan process. It is also possible to go backwards or forwards through the series of webpage forms and it is also possible to edit these details at a later stage, even incomplete drawings, please see the section on editing drawings below.

Please note sizes other than those listed on the online tool can't be created the main reason being many other designs had problems with clashing timbers or bracing demand which exceed the limits.

The online forms also provide relevant tips where required below the form.

Once a drawing is complete, it is possible to go back and edit any details or print a drawing. The preview drawings are partially obscured in the centre of the drawing with preview text, whereas the paid drawings are not obscured. It is not possible to build a drawing from a preview drawing.

Another factor is the colours can be changed on the drawings.

Instant Feedback

When going through the design process with the series of website forms, there is constant feedback with drawings being constantly updated on the right hand side of the webpage. Some of the drawings can be slow loading (particularly later in the design process), if for any reason a drawing fails to load, or you would like to see a close up of the drawing, it is possible to click on the drawing for a larger image. Please note the larger views of these drawings have part of the drawings obscured for the free preview drawings.

Editing Drawings

Editing drawings is extremely easy. To change the length and/or the handrail style (if applicable), it is possible to log into ROBO Deck Designer website to change the details. Once logging into the ROBO Deck Designer website, you can click on different areas to be edited. In addition the website records the last page which was visited. As with any change the drawings are automatically updated with instant feedback being displayed on the right hand side.

Disclaimer: Whilst this website contains a lot of information on the design of decks which has been produced with the highest level of professional care, ROBO Deck Designer, ROBO Design Solutions or Paul Roberts (the developer of this website) does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the information on this website. This website is intended as a guide only, please refer to the New Zealand building code for the appropriate regulations.

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