Pergola and gazebo building regulations in New Zealand (Rules, requirements and more)

Searching for the rules and regulations you need to know about when installing a pergola or gazebo in New Zealand? In this article we answer your questions and cover the important points so you install your pergola safely and without the stress.


When you’re installing a pergola or gazebo, finding the right information and working out what rules apply to your space can feel a little overwhelming! We understand. That’s why we’ve explained everything you need to know in a clear and simple way.

After reading this article you should have a good understanding of the rules and requirements for installing an outdoor structure in New Zealand.

If after reading this article, you feel like you need help, we can do the certification for you or refer you to a local certifier.

Click the button below to contact our certification specialist.

What information does this article cover?

This article covers rules and regulations that apply New Zealand-wide and covers the following topics — *** Building permits for pergolas

  • Installing a pergola
  • Assembling a Vortex Pergola™ correctly
  • Customising and altering a pergola
  • Pergola features
  • Pergola accessories
  • Ongoing maintenance**

Important - This document is designed to provide a simplified overview of current regulations in reference to Spa World™ products, it is not a complete guide and we advise all customers to seek independent advice in relation to their own personal site requirements. The information in this video was accurate at the time of recording. However, this can change without notice and the viewer must check with their local council.

Pergola and gazebo building regulations in New Zealand - your questions answered

Do I need building consent for my Vortex™ Pergola in NZ?

Recent changes have been made to the Building Act, meaning that verandas and porches, including roofed pergolas up to 30 square meters on a ground floor, do not require building consent.

In most circumstances a Vortex™ Pergola is considered an exempt development and won’t require council development approval. That’s because many pergolas have a floor area less than 30 square meters.

The Vortex™ Pergola models needing a building permit are the 4800 and 4800M™, as they're larger than 30 square metres (m²).

Can I install a pergola over an easement on my property?

A pergola cannot be constructed over any pipelines if they are owned by the council or within a council easement used for services.

It’s also important to note that no structure foundation can be located within a line that extends 45 degrees from a 150mm point below the pipe invert to the ground surface.

Do I need drainage for a pergola or gazebo?

Yes, in most cases, you will need to install drainage around your pergola or gazebo if the roof is fully closed or can be closed. We always recommend checking local council regulations before you purchase or install a pergola.

Please note:

  • Your council may require you to install drainage around a pergola with fully closing louvres to catch the rainwater that flows across the louvres and down through the posts
  • Your council may also require water to be redirected to the household stormwater system, such as the downpipe system from your house.

Depending on your local regulations, you may not be allowed to let the water come out of the water spouts at the bottom of the pergola posts and onto the ground without drainage to catch and redirect it to the household stormwater system.

If you are installing your spa on an existing or new pad, you should consult with a building certifier before any installation to determine the requirements.

Watch: Pergola rules & regulations New Zealand

compliance zone of influence diagram

Does my Vortex Pergola need to be installed by a registered builder?

Your Vortex Pergola™ does not need to be installed by a registered builder.

Will I need to hire an electrician when installing my pergola?

You will need an electrician to hardwire the electrical supply to the motorised pergola. This is to ensure the functionality of the motorised louvre roof and LED lighting.

The electrician will hardwire the electrical supply to the motorised pergola and run a cable through the leg posts.

Wondering when to call the electrician? You can arrange for an electrician to do the hardwiring around 2 hours into the installation process or after the framework of the pergola is in place.

Do I need engineering for my pergola?

Engineering certifications for standard concrete foundations are included in the tech sheets for each pergola model.

You can download these from our website by clicking on the pergola product page and selecting your specific pergola model.

However if you use a different foundation other than the concrete slab connection, for example, you’re securing the pergola straight onto a deck, you may be required to have your foundation certified by an engineer.

Can I install my pergola onto a deck?

A pergola can be installed onto a deck. For this type of installation, you will need an engineer to confirm the deck is structurally strong enough to attach the pergola to it.

Do motorised pergolas or gazebos need electrical approval?

All 240 volt appliances require electrical approvals. This is for the safety of your home, friends and family. These approvals are available on request.

To obtain a copy of electrical approval for a Spa World™ product, please email

Can Spa World™ install my pergola?

Unfortunately Spa World™ does not offer an installation service. For more information, we suggest having a chat with your salesperson because they may be able to pass on referral options to you.

How do I assemble a pergola?

Assembling a Vortex Pergola™ requires at least three people. We highly recommend that you watch the video below and follow along with the Spa World™ team to learn step-by-step how to build a pergola.

Watch: How to assemble a Vortex™ pergola

How long does it take to build a pergola?

In general, we suggest that you allow between 4 to 8 hours to complete the assembly of your pergola. This depends on a number of factors including the installer's level of experience, technical ability as well as the location and environment.

Can I change the height of my pergola?

The Vortex 3300, 3400 and 4600 pergola models all have an exterior height of 2.7 metres. Although yes, it is possible to cut down the post height, we strongly suggest that you first speak with a builder or engineer.

Can I buy a pergola in a custom size?

The three models in the range are different in dimension and no, unfortunately we don’t provide the option of custom-made sizes for a Vortex pergola™.

Can a pergola be attached to a house?

We recommend that you discuss this option with your builder or engineer.

How many motors are on a pergola?

The number of motors found on a pergola will differ, depending on which Vortex Pergola™ model you’re looking at.

  • The 3300 model has 1 motor
  • The 3400 model has 2 motors
  • And the 4600 model also has 2 motors

What is the wind rating or classification number on a pergola?

Yes, you can find these details on the engineering certificate in the tech pack. You can download this from the specific product page for each pergola model on the Spa World™ website.

What grade of aluminium is a pergola made of?

The grade is 6063-T5. You will find more information on this on the specification sheets on the Spa World™ website. Simply download the document from the product page for each pergola model.

Can you change LED lighting on a pergola?

This feature sounds like a lot of fun but unfortunately this is not an option Spa World™ offers at this stage.

Do motorised pergola louvres close when it rains?

A Vortex Pergola™ cannot automatically close its louvers in the rain. To close the louvres, you will need to use the remote control or touch pad on the wireless receiver.

Can I buy blinds for my pergola?

We don’t offer motorised pergola blinds but, we do offer manual pergola blinds that you can push up or pull down with ease.

Watch: Vortex Pergola™ blinds - features and benefits

How to maintain a pergola?

Regular care is essential in order to keep your Vortex pergola™ looking and working in top condition. To achieve this, we recommend you -

  • Check the screws are tight and remember to check the screws at least once a year
  • If the weather forecasts snowfall or strong winds greater than 80 km/h, we recommend opening the louvre blades
  • Don’t open or close blades in frost or snow
  • Remove blades from pergola when there’s a lot of snow
  • Check seals to make sure they’re in good condition and not vulnerable to leaks
  • Clean debris such as fallen leaves regularly to prevent them from blocking the drain
  • Watertight systems aren’t designed to ensure complete waterproofing. Heavy rain and strong winds may damage pergola and won't be covered under the warranty.
  • Check the stability of the pergola regularly. This is extremely important because any damage incurred or caused by the pergola detaching from its foundation due to natural disasters, high wind or other extreme weather events is not covered and is the responsibility of the homeowner and installer. It is not covered under the manufacturer's warranty.


We hope this article has helped answer your questions about the rules, regulations and what you can and can’t do with your new spa or swim spa.

If you need help or have further questions, please get in touch with our Certification Team. We can help with advice and put you touch with recommended certifiers in your area. Click the button below to contact us.

You can also head to the Spa World™ learning centre where you will find a number of articles and videos about the Vortex Pergola™ range.

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