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1970's house with several alterations but no obvious permits

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  • 1970's house with several alterations but no obvious permits

    Hi all

    About 12 year ago we purchased our first home. It was built in the mid 70's. We are still living here however subsequently we have found that the house was originally on stilts and had a double carport underneath but this was converted to a garage and rumpus room at some point before 1982. There is nothing on the council files however to say that the owners ever got a permit for this work. We know it was done prior to 1982 only because when the owners at the time put a fireplace in (in 1982), the plans submitted to council show a downstairs garage and rumpus room. Obviously you would think this would be sufficient evidence to prove it was there well before 1992 or whatever year the building laws tightened. Could it even be argued that the council was ok with it, given that they signed off on the fireplace? Given that it's been like that for at least 35 years, I guess it would be hard to argue it's unsafe or unsanitary.

    It also looks like either one row of piles was never there originally (doubtful I guess) or they were removed at some point around the same time and a small workshop area was created towards the back of the garage. Overall it all looks to have been done pretty well however, if push came to shove, I cannot really prove when that work would have been done - all I know is it was WELL before we moved in.

    I know this was pretty standard in the old days and many houses are like this all around NZ however it is still a bit of a worry when we ever want to sell.

    Also - the kitchen window has been pushed / boxed out under the eves and the benchtop now essentially runs along under the roof eves. (I can't exactly PROVE when this would have happened but given the age of the kitchen, I suspect late 80's / early 90s) Many houses in our street were built like that originally but ours wasn't (I can tell it's been moved later as the drain hole through particle board flooring for sink has been moved.) Now we want to renovate the kitchen at some point however I am nervous about spending the money without getting some clarification on what might happen with the window area as I wouldn't want to have to push the kitchen all back in at a later point once we have renovated it all.

    If I was to want to remove a load bearing wall between kitchen and lounge (obviously I would need consent for this), what issues could these other previous alterations have? Could it open a "can of worms" and wouldn't be worth the trouble. In that case, I'd be inclined to just put new cabinetry in the same positions are currently. Again, this potential problem in doing this is it may cause issues down the track with accusations that WE pushed the window / bench area out. I do however have photos from when we moved in which do show the kitchen pushed out.

    Any suggestions on any of the above?

    Larry

  • #2
    Several things
    - I wouldn't personally bother about alteration which were done that far in the past
    - council property files are far from complete, in fact half of Waitakere doesn't have are records due to fire
    - you don't obviously need BC for removing a wall or moving window
    - you do need BC for major alteration to plumbing though

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    • #3
      The work pre 1992 can be formalised with a 'safe and sanitary report'. This is prepared by a suitably qualified person allows you to update the file and tells council they have no interest in the property. It is arguable that this can be done after 1992 work as well but council definietly allow for pre 1992

      You can renovate the kitchen without consent as long as total sanitary fixtures not increased

      You need consent for a loadbearing wall but hiow do you know it i?? If it isnt then removal is ok? Is it a trussed roof or old fashioned timber framing? What is the roof cladding?

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      • #4
        The only issue with non consented work or work done without the input of a draughtsman or engineer, is how do you know that what was done was appropriate for the structure?
        If a row of piles were removed and a workshop created, what holds up the area of floor now? Is it structurally sound?
        The other thing is that the council signed off on the fireplace, nothing else. I am not even aware that an inspection is required for retro fitting one of these, maybe just a record on your file?
        I would engage a draughtsman or engineer if you want to remove the load bearing wall and have him look at any other items that are of concern at the same time.

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