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Thread: After advise on portable cabins

  1. #1
    I'd rather be hunting 8pt Sika's Avatar
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    After advise on portable cabins

    Hi all,

    Wondering if anyone here may have some knowledge or experience with getting a cabin consented.

    We are looking at putting in a sleepout in the back yard for our oldest. Doesn't need toilet, kitchen or anything like that, just a basic room, but its going to be over 10m2 so will need a building consent.

    I've spoken with the local council and they have given me a run down of the potential costs and roughly what is involved around getting the consent but what I haven't been able to find out is in regards to the requirement for the foundations that the cabin is going to be sitting on. We have looked at both kitset and prebuilt cabins that can be transported to the site and put in place. Some of these have a standard wooden floor and a lot I've found have a steel floor/base. What I'd like to know is, what would it need to sit on to comply with the building code and to satisfy a building consent? Can it just be plonked onto the ground (provided its level) or would it need to be on a concrete slab or piles? I struggled to get an answer out of the council on this and all they said is the "foundation" would need to comply with the building code.

    Grateful for any advise received.

    Cheers,
    Jamie

  2. #2
    Member Hayden C's Avatar
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    My advice.

    1) Ask the manufacturer for their recommendation regarding foundation as they have probably been through this exercise before or constructed the units for a particular foundation system.

    2) If their advice is “it’s up to you’ Then choose your foundation preference (piles or concrete slab depending on site location etc)

    3) Refer to NZS 3604 is the lead document for foundations details/requirements, it will tell you what’s required. Then specify it on your consent plans accordingly.

    4) Finally, hope that Council wont ask you for a Geotech report.
    Moa Hunter likes this.

  3. #3
    I'd rather be hunting 8pt Sika's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayden C View Post
    My advice.

    1) Ask the manufacturer for their recommendation regarding foundation as they have probably been through this exercise before or constructed the units for a particular foundation system.

    2) If their advice is “it’s up to you’ Then choose your foundation preference (piles or concrete slab depending on site location etc)

    3) Refer to NZS 3604 is the lead document for foundations details/requirements, it will tell you what’s required. Then specify it on your consent plans accordingly.

    4) Finally, hope that Council wont ask you for a Geotech report.

    Thanks very much for that mate. The couple of sellers I've asked have basically said ask the council but obviously the council doesn't know anything about the build of the cabins and the sellers just want to get them out the door and go with the "not my problem" approach.

    So as I understand it you send plans to the council and once ok'd you start foundations, get them inspected then put the cabin in place and then have it inspected again.

    It's a nice flat and dry spot so I guess any type of foundation would suit. I'll have a read of the document you suggested.

  4. #4
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    could also sit it on wheels at each corner fitted to stub axles welded or bolted to sub floor then doesnt require consent as it is movable .just get one with a steel frame base and manufacture a removable drawbar incase they want to look at it.
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  5. #5
    Member Mathias's Avatar
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    As above, a Tiny House on wheels could be the answer.

  6. #6
    I'd rather be hunting 8pt Sika's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berg243 View Post
    could also sit it on wheels at each corner fitted to stub axles welded or bolted to sub floor then doesnt require consent as it is movable .just get one with a steel frame base and manufacture a removable drawbar incase they want to look at it.
    Yes that's an option I have considered. Some of the kitset cabins are made from eps insulate panel so are fairly lightweight (but also on steel frame).
    Last edited by 8pt Sika; 27-05-2019 at 05:07 PM.
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  7. #7
    Member Hayden C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8pt Sika View Post
    Thanks very much for that mate. The couple of sellers I've asked have basically said ask the council but obviously the council doesn't know anything about the build of the cabins and the sellers just want to get them out the door and go with the "not my problem" approach.

    So as I understand it you send plans to the council and once ok'd you start foundations, get them inspected then put the cabin in place and then have it inspected again.

    It's a nice flat and dry spot so I guess any type of foundation would suit. I'll have a read of the document you suggested.

    My reply was a little rushed so I should add:

    I’d suggest you leave the Council out of it at this stage and submit a full and comprehensive set of plans rather than seek their advice now.

    Briefly, I would determine your foundation preference and go from there. For instance, if the structure lends itself to a piled foundation and that’s what you want (noting the bit about confirming with the manufacturer) then follow the flow charts in 3604 to determine if a 3604 foundation will be O.K or if you will require a specific Engineering Design (I assume specific Engineering Design is unlikely).

    Once you have established a standard 3604 foundation will be O.K then detail the foundation components and include it with your plans for building consent. Its been a while since I’ve looked but there is probably a detail you can largely copy with some minor tweaking.

    One thing to note. A 3604 foundation is reliant on ‘good ground conditions’ and it is very specific on what these are and how you determine them hence the comment about leaving Council out of the discussion for now as there default approach always seems to be “we will need a full and comprehensive geotechnical report”. This will cost you. It is likely that they will still ask for some geotechnical input (a couple of Scalas etc) but let them do their jobs and due diligence rather than have them jump to the above default and add unnecessary cost and complexity to what sounds like a fairly strait forward project.

    I’d suggest you start by getting your hands on a copy and having a read and the above will hopefully become a little more clear.
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  8. #8
    I'd rather be hunting 8pt Sika's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayden C View Post
    My reply was a little rushed so I should add:

    I’d suggest you leave the Council out of it at this stage and submit a full and comprehensive set of plans rather than seek their advice now.

    Briefly, I would determine your foundation preference and go from there. For instance, if the structure lends itself to a piled foundation and that’s what you want (noting the bit about confirming with the manufacturer) then follow the flow charts in 3604 to determine if a 3604 foundation will be O.K or if you will require a specific Engineering Design (I assume specific Engineering Design is unlikely).

    Once you have established a standard 3604 foundation will be O.K then detail the foundation components and include it with your plans for building consent. Its been a while since I’ve looked but there is probably a detail you can largely copy with some minor tweaking.

    One thing to note. A 3604 foundation is reliant on ‘good ground conditions’ and it is very specific on what these are and how you determine them hence the comment about leaving Council out of the discussion for now as there default approach always seems to be “we will need a full and comprehensive geotechnical report”. This will cost you. It is likely that they will still ask for some geotechnical input (a couple of Scalas etc) but let them do their jobs and due diligence rather than have them jump to the above default and add unnecessary cost and complexity to what sounds like a fairly strait forward project.

    I’d suggest you start by getting your hands on a copy and having a read and the above will hopefully become a little more clear.
    Thank you mate, your advise is really helpful and very much appreciated.
    Sideshow likes this.

  9. #9
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    A lot of councils are different and there lacks consistency within the building industry over standards and regulations. But that's yarn for a later date. I can give you a bit of what I'd do if someone was to come to me wanting this advice.
    1. The relocatable company should provide you with all their information to require a building consent. They have the build "signed off" or a generic PS1 that the cabin meets the required habitable building regulations.

    2. The foundation side of it can be easily calculated as Hayden C has mentioned if your ground conditions meet NZ3604 (Timber framed building) standards. That is also if you have a timber floor, because the specifications in the building code really only work with timber floors. The fixing requirements to anchor the floor joists to the bearers and bearers to piles are all outlined and the spacing requirements on the size of timber you're planning on using. You also need to calculate the pile layout as you'll need anchor piles for bracing purposes.

    3. Steel framed floor will need an engineer to design and sign off the fixings between the timber sub floor and the steel frame as these are outside of the NZ3604 building code.

    Aside from the foundation design and the relocatable cabins PS1 for its construction you'll also need a site plan to prove you're not putting the cabin in boundary set back and you meet all the planning regulations. A drainage plan for the storm water control will also need to be provided, but this can simply be added to a site plan.
    Moa Hunter and Micky Duck like this.

  10. #10
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    20 foot container......plenty of them around the country being lived in full time,not too dificult to do the conversion and they are warm with a tiny wee fire installed...plenty of wee cabins/portacom buildings for sale or lease around the countryside here...the makers of them will know the answers to your questions...MAYBE pop around with a box of beer and pick thier brains...rather than asking then leaving with nothing in it for them.if you buying from them it should be easy to get them to answer what you need to know.
    nevereadyfreddy likes this.

  11. #11
    I'd rather be hunting 8pt Sika's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    20 foot container......plenty of them around the country being lived in full time,not too dificult to do the conversion and they are warm with a tiny wee fire installed...plenty of wee cabins/portacom buildings for sale or lease around the countryside here...the makers of them will know the answers to your questions...MAYBE pop around with a box of beer and pick thier brains...rather than asking then leaving with nothing in it for them.if you buying from them it should be easy to get them to answer what you need to know.
    Iíve actually been surprised how unhelpful the sellers of some of the cabins Iíve enquired about have been. Especially when Iím looking at spending $10k on their product.

    We have found plenty of cabins that will be ideal, just needed to understand all the costs and process to follow to get it on site and permitted.

    Appreciate all the advise thanks everyone.
    Micky Duck likes this.

  12. #12
    Member northdude's Avatar
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    put it on skids might be a way around it

  13. #13
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    just be aware some of the portable cabins on TM i wouldn't put my dog in them.
    Wrong roofing been use and the way the windows etc have been flash, just asking for trouble
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  14. #14
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    well bud...if you rang and they ARENT helpful.....ring back,speak to the big boss people and make them very aware you will be spending your $$$ elsewhere....sort of a "pretty woman" thing.... that sort of bad service will kill a company quick smartly...maybe they have been burnt a few times with brain pickers who then buy elsewhere????

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    Also consider power options and hook up - most likely an RCD plug caravan lead setup would suffice but if you park it on wheels likely you'll need a 5-year EWOF under vehicle rules. But, wheels and removeable drawbar option gets around council requirements and also allows you to relocate it if required in the future if you need to get something large past the house. Also gives better resale...

 

 

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