Heating and insulation

Solid fuel heating

If you want to install, replace or relocate a fireplace, you will need to ensure the work is safe and complies with environmental emission standards.

On this page you will find information about getting a consent for your solid fuel appliance, and which environmental regulations you need to follow.

Getting a consent to install a solid fuel appliance

There are safety issues associated with any appliance that contains fire, so you will need to apply for a building consent before installing, relocating or substantially replacing a solid fuel heating device.

You will also need to apply for a Code Compliance Certificate after the work is completed to confirm it has been carried out in accordance with the description in the building consent.

If you are just maintaining your current appliance, including replacing the firebricks or the flue, you do not need a building consent.

Regardless of whether a building consent is required, all work must comply with the Building Code.

You can install an outdoor fireplace without building consent, although you may still need a resource consent.

We cannot issue retrospective consents for solid fuel heating appliances that have been installed without a building consent, so please check that you have the right consent before you start work.

If your property has an unconsented solid fuel heating appliance, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance and provide a third party report verifying that the appliance is safe to be used and complies with air emission standards (see below).

If you don't have a consent or Certificate of Compliance there may be insurance implications if there is a fire.


Relocated and secondhand appliances

If you're relocating a solid fuel heating appliance, you will need to apply for a building consent regardless of how far the appliance is being moved.

An approved installer must inspect second-hand and relocated appliances. The installer must provide a written report confirming the appliance is suitable for use and complies with the relevant emission standards (see below).

You need to supply their report and the manufacturer’s installation instructions with the building consent application.

Approved installers

Approved installers can apply for the building consent on your behalf and install the appliance. You will need to give the approved installer written authority to act on your behalf.

On completion they will issue a Producer Statement Construction (PS3) document, which confirms the installation has been completed and complies with the relevant clauses of the Building Code.

They may also obtain a Code Compliance Certificate from us on your behalf when the work is completed.  

You can download a list of approved installers (PDF 746KB).

Environmental regulations

There are two sets of regulations that control domestic fires in the Auckland region:

1.   The National Environmental Standards (NES)

All solid fuel heating appliances must be tested and show compliance with the NES emission and efficiency standards.

The emission standard means it is illegal to use any wood burner that was installed after 1 September 2005 (on a site less than two hectares) that does not comply with this standard.

The NES defines a woodburner as a domestic heating appliance that burns wood, but does not include:

  • open fires
  • pellet burners
  • coal-burning heaters
  • stoves designed and used for cooking.

Note: the above exclusions must still comply with the ARC Air, Land and Water Plan (see below).

The NES are nationwide regulations that restrict the discharge of particles into air from woodburners. They require new woodburners installed on properties of less than two hectares to meet:

  • a particle emission rate of less than 1.5g/kg (grams of particulate per kilogram of wood burnt)
  • a thermal efficiency of at least 65 per cent (percentage of thermal heat produced in comparison to the amount of energy available).

A list of approved appliances is available on the Ministry for Environment website.

2.   Auckland Regional Council Air, Land and Water Plan

Under this plan there are rules controlling what types of domestic fires you can install and how these fires must be operated to help reduce the effect domestic fires may have on your health - and to stop any nuisance being caused to your neighbours from smoke, ash or smells.

The rules require that domestic fires:

  • do not cause a nuisance to neighbours from smoke, ash or smells
  • meet a particle emission rate of 4 g/kg or less for new domestic fires in urban areas.

Domestic heating appliances (including open fires) that were installed before 1 September 2005, and those in rural areas, are allowed to continue but need to ensure that their emissions do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health beyond the site boundary.

Table 1: Rules for domestic fires installed after 1 September 2005

 Quality Management Area  Property size (in ha) Rules for domestic fires 
Rural areas Greater than or equal to 2ha Domestic fire permitted
Less than 2ha Woodburners must meet a particle emission rate of <1.5g/kg and a thermal efficiency rate  of >65% (NES)
Less than 2ha Other domestic fires permitted 
Urban, coastal and  industrial areas Greater than or equal to 2ha All domestic fires must meet a particle emission rate of <4g/kg (PARP: ALW)
Less than 2ha Less than 2ha  Woodburners must meet a particle emission rate of <1.5g/kg and a thermal efficiency rate of >65% (NES)
Less than 2ha All domestic fires must meet a particle emission rate of <4g/kg (PARP: ALW)

Zoning requirements mentioned in Table 1 above are not the same as those in the district plan.

You will therefore need to contact us to determine compliance for rural areas. 

Note that not all properties larger than two hectares are in the rural zone.

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