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  1. #1

    Default Decking fall hazard

    We have a new deck (15m long edge) that has ended up having falls vary across the edge of between 0.8m and 1.2m. The inspector has failed it on F4 fall and wants us to get our designer to redraw it for a minor amendment with either steps to the ground or place a ballustrade both of which are not desirable. I simply want to add a lower decking area that sits 0.5m below the upper deck for a boxed hedge. However they couldn't tell me and I can't find out anywhere how deep this would need to be to satisify the 1m fall and be compliant. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018


    Could you raise the ground where it is between 1m to 1.2m, like a slight hill, to get around this issue?

    Then afterwards you can do the box hedge.

  3. #3


    You'd think so, but again the inspector couldn't give an answer to the depth off the front of the deck that the 1m height needed to be maintained. I was also thinking of putting a joined raised garden bed/planterbox along the front to raise the level but again can't find any indication of how deep (wide) it needs to be so that the fall compliance is met.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018


    Strange that the inspector can't tell you what you need to do!

    Found some interesting reading here:

  5. #5


    It needs to be under 1m from deck to ground to not need a balustrade

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    they wont give you a answer because they are arse covering, they will tell you what you cant do not what you can do

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    There will likely be something in the Building Regs about.
    Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2004


    I have found with council they wonít give you an opinion on anything. They can quote legislation but not tell you what to do. Have you tried the duty planner? Say I have a raised garden 1 m wide and want to build a deck that is no more than 95cm above it. Is this allowed? They will send you links to the relevant legislation and it is up to you to figure out whether you can. My friend who is a town planner says they donít make the rules, the government does, they just have to enforce them and if they give legal opinions they can end up in court if they are wrong so they wonít give opinions.

  9. #9


    Hi CraigD,

    It is a bit hard to get this info- I know as I'm an architect and needed it a few times.
    The distance seems to be established as 1200mm and came from determination #2008/81.
    See the quote below from MBIE
    There is an online article from MBIE on this, but this chat doesn't seem to like me posting links. If you PM me I can maybe send you the link,
    "The need for a barrier on a low deck

    Determination 2008/81 has made clear that the horizontal distance to a steep slope must be considered when deciding the need for a barrier on a deck. In light of this determination, where the ground slopes gradually away from a deck a reasonable approach is to measure the height of fall at a distance of 1200mm out from the deck."
    Safety barrier to a deck located adjacent to a retaining wall."


  10. #10


    I'll try that thanks. The relevant legislation is the F4 safety from falling. The only definition they have is that measured "vertically 1m" from the floor level. There is no horizontal measure so theoretically you could have a deck half a metre away from a sheer cliff drop but as long as the ground directly infront is <1m you're sweet. The legislation should say something like, no drop of 1m or more can be within 1m of the edge.


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