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

Can I Build a Deck Myself?

This is a bit of a difficult subject, but the most important thing here is to be upfront and honest about things. This webpage is aimed for the DIY enthusiast as opposed to a professional builder. Though there are other websites out there based in New Zealand that give a more liberal approach, unfortunately some of this information could be misleading if not processed correctly. The other concern here is that some other websites miss out critical bits of information. The main areas of missing information is with handrail barriers and step design.

Firstly there are numerous regulations that all decks need to abide by, and they are very detailed specifying right from the joist & bearer sizes right down to the nail sizes. The main document in New Zealand is NZS3604. This is an extremely large document currently standing at 449 pages. Though the document is mainly for residential houses, there are sections of the document which are relevant, mainly:

  • Site requirements
  • Durability
  • Bracing design
  • Foundations and sub floor flooring
  • Flooring

There are other documents like the New Zealand Building Codes clauses:

  • B1 - Structure
  • B2 - Durability
  • D1 - Steps and handrails for steps
  • E2 - External moisture, height of deck relevant to floor level & connection of decks to residential properties
  • F4 - Safety from falling

There are also different factors involved due to the location:

  • The earthquake zone area
  • The exposure zone is (durability due to wind blown sea salt)
  • Wind is not considered a factor in the design as the earthquake stresses are always higher

If the deck is higher than 1.5m high the deck needs to be built by a LPB (licensed building practitioner). For all decks there are very thorough building codes a deck would have to meet, even if the design is 1.5m high or less and does not require building consent.

To build a deck yourself is possible, though very risky due to stringent number of regulations from a number of different building codes the deck needs to meet. One small mistake could cause the deck to fail to meet the building code and in a worst case scenario require the deck to be dismantled.

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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