Verandahs bylaw for a safer city

26 August 2015

Wellington City Council adopted a verandahs bylaw, Structures in Public Places – Verandahs, at their last Council meeting.

Verandah over public place

Verandahs that extend over a public place

The bylaw provides clear obligations for building owners and gives the Council a single regulatory framework to operate within. The bylaw is effective from 1 September 2015

The Council decided a bylaw was needed when they surveyed verandahs in the city and suburbs, and found that a number needed immediate repairs to make them safe. The previous mechanisms were complex and inefficient to apply.

Before implementing the bylaw, the Council will work proactively with building owners to repair and maintain verandahs to a reasonable level. Council staff are writing to verandah owners about their verandah’s condition, and where a verandah is unsafe, advising what’s needed to make it safe.

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee says, “The bylaw is clear and concise, which will be helpful to building owners, and it means the Council can consistently apply the provisions to all buildings. It will help us ensure Wellington is safe for visitors and Wellingtonians alike. It will help ensure verandahs provide shelter and protect people from the weather, and they add to the city’s character and attractiveness.”

Councillor Iona Pannett, the Council’s Buildings Portfolio Leader said, “Many of these buildings have fine heritage verandahs which make an important contribution to the streetscape. Heritage building owners can apply for a grant, the Built Heritage Incentive Fund, towards repairs.”

The bylaw follows a public consultation in May, including letters to verandah owners, when the Council received 26 submissions. As a result of the submissions, staff reviewed the proposed bylaw and made some changes. The changes were accepted by the Transport and Urban Design Committee on 5 August and approved by Council.

“We will work with building owners to repair their verandahs, especially those that need priority work. We’ve also put information on our website to help people check their verandahs.” says Building Resilience Manager, Steve Cody. “Regular maintenance is cheaper than doing major repairs later.”

Note the proposed bylaw is only for verandahs over public places – not verandahs within private property boundaries.

More information
• Part 10: Structures in Public Places – Verandahs, of the Wellington City Consolidated Bylaw 2008
• Verandah repair checklist, wellington.govt.nz/verandahcheck
• Built Heritage Incentive Fund