We're not cowboys! We like to enable you to make an informed decision when looking to install a shade sail.

This is the site for Auckland city council but will provide good guidance for most of NZ

Check out the following resources that should give you some further guidance on what is required in terms of consent when considering to install a shade sail.


Shade Sails

exemption (je) of Schedule 1
A building consent is not required for the following building work:

(je) the construction, installation, replacement, alteration, or removal of any Shade Sails made of fabric or other similar lightweight material, and any associated structural support, if the Shade Sails—

1. does not exceed 50 square metres in size; and
2. is not closer than 1 metre to any legal boundary; and
3. is on the ground level, or, if on a building, on the ground or first-storey level of the building.


Shade Sails, usually fabric, can be attached to the exterior of a building or be free-standing with their own support structures (eg, to cover a deck, patio or children’s play equipment as protection from sun or as a wind buffer). This exemption recognises the relatively simple, low-risk nature of such structures. While there may be significant wind loadings (and this should be carefully considered during the design and assembly phase), apart from erecting and making connections to structural supports, there is very little building work involved in the construction or installation of Shade Sails. The compliance costs associated with consenting such structures can often be disproportionate to overall construction costs, and given the simplicity of most of these structures adds limited value to the building process and safety objective.

Examples Where This Exemption Could Apply

  • A Shade Sails is to be installed above a deck at first storey level of a dwelling in the middle of a large rural property. The proposed Shade Sails has a total area of 20 square metres, and meets all Building Code requirements.
  • A Shade Sails is to be erected above a sandpit at a childcare centre. The proposed Shade Sails has a total area of 42 square metres, and is two metres away from the nearest boundary.
  • A number of Shade Sails, 12 square metres in size, are to be erected in a public park.
  • The owner of a café decides to install several Shade Sails 9 square metres in size in an outdoor courtyard to provide protection from the sun for the customers.
  • An old Shade Sails 20 square metres in size above a patio on the ground level is replaced with a Shade Sails 30 square metres in size.

Examples Where The Work Is Not Exempt

  • A Shade Sails with an area of 30 square metres is to be installed above a balcony on the fifth floor of an apartment block.
  • A Shade Sail is to be erected above a play area at a kindergarten. The proposed Shade Sails has a total area of 50 square metres, but is located on the boundary.
  • A Shade Sail with an area of 60 square metres is to be installed above an open courtyard at a shopping complex to provide shelter for customers.

Important Note

Where Shade Sails are attached to the exterior of a building, particular emphasis should be placed on weathertightness detailing. All mechanical connections which penetrate the building envelope and provide support to Shade Sails (eg, nuts, bolts, coach screws) must provide adequate resistance against moisture getting into the building.

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