Why Is There A Restriction On The Size Of My House?

How Nature Controls The Size Of Your Home

Bigger is better. Always. Right? Well it depends. Can you afford it? And is it permitted? Well you can answer the first question; let me answer the second.

There are really two main regulations that control the size of a new house.

  1. Site coverage
  2. Height In Relation to Boundary

Can you imagine if there weren’t any restrictions? Some people would end up building ginormous houses on their entire site, wouldn’t they?

No land left to spare. Then, where would the kids play? Where would you have a BBQ? Or keep your rubbish bin?

Outdoor open areas are just as important for a family then just the house internal area itself.

Therefore, there is a restriction on how much land your house can utilise

This is called site coverage. In Auckland, the current requirement is 35% of site area. This means that the ground floor area of your house, what we call the footprint, can only be a maximum of 35% of your entire site.

A very simple calculation

So, if your land size was say 1000m2, then your ground floor footprint can only be 350m2. This allows some room for you to have an outdoor living area. Just so that you can enjoy some outdoor activity. The kids can play around. There’s room for some greenery. And you can connect with mother nature.

Some of the things a normal healthy functioning family would need. So the forces say.

Ok, 35% coverage allows a footprint of 350m2

Now, that doesn’t mean that your house can only be this size. This is just the footprint ie the ground floor. You can build an upper level of exactly the same area, 350m2. One box above the other. Or get a bit creative and have a smaller upstairs area. Add balconies. Or whatever takes your fancy. Comprende?

The other restriction is Height in Relation to Boundary

For ease of demonstration here, let’s assume a square or a rectangular site. You have four boundaries, east, west, north and south.

Now, everyone knows the sun rises on the east. Imagine your neighbour’s house; their eastern boundary is your western boundary.

So if you then go and build your house quite high on your western boundary, that would undoubtedly block the shiny rays of the sun falling on his property. Won’t it? Because the sun rises on the east, remember.

We all know everyone likes sunlight

So the Council and your local regulations will impose rules to try and prevent you blocking the glorious warm rays of the sun. So everyone gets their fair share.

Hence there are some technical rules(heights and angles) to comply with, on each boundary. And these rules control the maximum permitted height of your house, by creating a ‘building envelope’ that your house needs to be within.

Just so you don’t end up hogging all the sunlight. Fair enough, eh?

Ok, let’s shed some light

Two aspects that control the maximum house size

  1. Site coverage – maximum footprint; 35% of the total site area
  2. Height in Relation to Boundary – restrictions on height to create a building envelope

These are the two main things to watch out for when designing your house. How they work, you probably need not worry about too much. What you do need is the awareness that these restrictions exist and will largely control the size of your dream home.

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