A new fireplace is no simple thing

Installing a new fireplace? Did you know you need a building consent for that?

Farmer Freddy was enjoying his morning cup of tea and reading the paper. He had just spent a great weekend outdoors on the farm doing some overdue jobs, as he could feel the autumn weather setting in and a drop in temperature.

An advertisement in the paper for cheap firewood reminded him that he was meant to get a new fireplace installed, as his old one had given up on him last year.

"I must get on to that" thinks Freddy.

He decides to give Pebbles a call. "She might like to come to town and help me choose a new fireplace" he thinks out loud to himself.

With a bit of know-how up his sleeve, he asked Pebbles: "Will I need to get a building consent for the fireplace?"

"Yes," she says. "It is a legal requirement under the Building Act 2004. All owners installing new fireplaces must apply for a building consent. This ensures that the fireplace meets all safety standards."

"So what happens if a fireplace is installed without consent" Freddy asks.

"Well," replies Pebbles, "apart from the safety of the people who live in the house being at risk, if the fireplace causes damage to your property, your insurance company may not cover the cost of the repairs.

What's more, it's an offence under the Building Act to do building work without a consent, carrying hefty fines. It might also be an issue when you come to sell the house."

So Freddy and Pebbles spent the morning looking at fireplaces. Freddy couldn't help but cringe at the price.

"Do you think I can install a second-hand fireplace? That could save money," Freddy says, feeling quite proud of his good idea.

Luckily, Pebbles had thought ahead and phoned the local Council for some advice.

"Yes, you can" she says, "but you will still need a building consent and you also have to get the second-hand fireplace certified to make sure it is suitable for use. All second-hand fireplaces need to have a new flue."

"Oh," says Freddie feeling his idea bubble burst.

They head home and over a cup of tea look through the brochures they had picked up that morning.

"You need to make sure you have a final inspection before you use the new fireplace," Pebbles tells her Dad.

"It says here that you also need to make sure you have working fire alarms installed. A code compliance certificate will not be issued if they are not installed."


The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document.
If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser.
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