Find Our Most Frequent Questions Below

Here we answer some of our most common queries. For a personal response please call us or press this helpful button to email us.

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Q. What sort of engineering work do you do?At Sullivan Hall we are Structural and Civil Engineers. We do the majority of our work with Architectural Designers on high-end residential projects. We also cater for commercial and industrial projects and also education buildings.
Q. When do I need a building consent? You can not carry out any building work unless you have a building consent. There are a few minor exceptions to this set out in Schedule 1 of the Building Act. For example, decks under 1m in height; and retaining walls less than 1.5m high that do not support any surcharge or any additional load such as vehicles on a road. A building consent is a formal approval granted by your local council under the Building Act that allows a person to carry out building work. Building work includes work in connection with the construction, alteration, demolition or removal of a building. A council will issue a building consent only when it is satisfied the proposed building work will meet the requirements of the Building Code. All building work must meet the minimum requirements of the Building Code even if no building consent is required.
Q. How do I apply for a building consent? You, (with assistance from a representative such as your builder or designer), apply for a building consent by filling in and lodging with the council an application form, other necessary information, and the relevant fee. Application forms list each section of the Building Code and ask you to show how your project meets the relevant requirements. The council will also ask you for plans, specifications, and the PIM. Generally the amount of information required will depend on the complexity of your building project. For example, Moana prepares the plans and information to support Tom and Mary's application for building consent. The application includes a recent certificate of title and detailed plans showing the site and the foundations, drainage, bracing and other construction details associated with the proposed extension. For more detailed information on applying for a building consent refer to The Guide to Applying for a Building Consent (Residential Buildings). The Building Act specifies that building consent applications must be processed within 20 working days. The process goes on hold if the council has to ask for any more information, and it doesn’t start again until the council receives the information it needs. If you get all your documents together before you lodge your application, the process should go quickly and smoothly.
Q. What is an IEP? The Initial Evaluation Procedure (IEP) is a desktop exercise undertaken by a chartered professional engineer who reviews any available building consent plans and undertakes a site visit. It is a standardised procedure developed and used by the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering members to identify if a building is potentially earthquake prone.
Q. I want to find out if my building is earthquake-prone before the council does an IEP assessment on it. What can I do? Owners can engage a chartered professional engineer to undertake a seismic assessment How can I submit for a return? of buildings at their own cost. Reports should be sent to the council for consideration once undertaken.
Q. Can I respond to the council’s seismic assessment of my building? Yes. Owners are provided a copy of the engineer’s assessment (IEP) and have three months to respond in agreement or to provide more information for consideration. An owner may choose to engage an independent structural engineer to undertake an IEP or a more detailed engineer evaluation. Council will consider additional information and may reevaluate seismic assessments as a result. Owners will be advised of final assessments and details will be included on the building’s Land Information Memorandum (LIM) report.
Q. What happens if my building is earthquake-prone? If a building is assessed as earthquake-prone, the council will advise timeframes in which owners must remedy the earthquake-prone state of building. Building owners are responsible for all costs associated with upgrading their buildings. Any upgrade work or demolition will require a building consent.

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