What service does Black Hut Designs provide?

We are a design company. We design small environmentally conscious residential buildings and deliver cost effective construction drawings to allow the general public to access design with less expense and time required than to engage an architect or architectural designer.


I’m not sure if a hut will fit on my section

If you have a small section in an urban area there will be town planning rules to comply with.   We can carry out a feasibility study to ascertain if hut is right for you.   Here is a guideline to how we would carry this out.

  • Send us your certificate of title and a survey of the section if you have it. 
  • If the section is part of a new development there may be covenants as well.  These are rules specific to the development and are enforced as well as the town planning rules.  Check with your developer and forward to us for review
  • We will check your proposed hut fits on the site and whether you will comply with your local city plan
  • Assess wind loading, snow loading and exposure zone to verify if engineering is required because of site location.

I love hut and want to buy plans now.  What do I do next?

  • sign the contract and return
  • review the FMA design fee letter for additional services and approve
  • receive from Black Hut a PDF of the purchased drawings
  • markup changes and return to FMA for drafting changes.  We will advise you how long this will take to make the changes and whether your changes may cause additional engineering work.
  • FMA assess wind loading, snow loading and exposure zone to verify if engineering is required because of site location.
  • organise soil test for building site or FMA can arrange to verify ground conditions.  
  • FMA will design foundations if soil test verifies good ground is achieved.  An engineer will need to design foundations if good ground is not present.
  • On an urban site or an area prone to flooding a surveyor will be required to take site levels.  We can organise one on your behalf or you can organise if preferred.
  • FMA to organise engineer if required or you can organise if preferred.
  • resolve drainage requirements,  if rural a specialist designer will need to resolve.
  • determine where stormwater will go - the local council  will know what happens,  this is either to the town discharge system, soak pits on site or a stream or water tanks.
  • give FMA your certificate of title.  FMA will draw your site plan and confirm the location of the house on site.
  • once all this work is complete we can collate your documents and apply for a building consent for you.  We will ask you to sign a form allowing us to act as your agent through the building consent process.

How long does it take to get building?

Every hut has taken a different length of time depending on how many changes are made and how tricky your site is.  The  quickest timeline we have achieved the contract was signed on the last day of August and the building consent was issued on the 2nd December.   There are a few things you can do to speed up the process

  • use our contacts.  People we work with prioritise our work and understand our buildings
  • be decisive and return changes quickly
  • limit your changes.  
  • pay the council deposit quickly they wont process your consent unless the deposit is paid.
  • allow us to handle things for you.  we have a system to get this done efficiently.  time spent with us is money well spent, you can trust us to get you to where you want to go.
  • keep it simple. our buildings look great and work because they are simple.

We have a fixed budget how will I know how much it costs?

Unfortunately we don’t know how much it will cost to build on your site.  It depends on lots of factors.  Budget for between $3000 - $3500 per square metre unless you are a builder yourself or can do a lot of the work under the supervision of a builder. If you don’t have this type of budget unfortunately hut is not for you.   The smaller the building the higher the square rate will be as all the expensive things are packaged into a small space and not diluted by large cheap building areas.   Here are the factors we believe influence cost:

  • location of your site.  if your site is remote or the site access is tricky it will cost more money to build as you will pay for travel.   
  • slope of section.  hill sites are more expensive to build on. not only will scaffolding cost more money but site works will too for example paths and driveways often have retaining walls involved.
  • rural sites often require water tanks, sewage disposal consultant costs, cost for power connections,  driveways to building platforms.
  • pricing around the country varies a lot.   we believe finding a builder first is the best way to make a hut happen cost effectively and quickly.
  • upgrading selections - there are hundreds of selections in a house to make.  if you select expensive fittings every step of the way (like I did) unfortunately the final cost will reflect your selections.  

How much does it cost for drawings?

The prices vary for each hut. Please refer to the price list or each design area. The drawings consist of full construction drawings to build each building. 

Site specific drawings will need to be added: Site plan, foundation plan and drainage plan. Ground conditions on your site will need to be verified by an engineer and specifically designed foundations may be required depending on the outcome of this testing. Also the wind and snow loadings need to be checked to make sure the plans are suitable for your area. If the loadings are higher and engineer can be used to make the required changes. Please contact us for an example fee structure if you are interested in these next steps.


Can I make changes to the plans?

Yes absolutely! Huts are totally customisable to fit each individuals tastes and requirements. Changes will add cost. Please contact us for an example of the fee structure for changes made to huts.


Can I apply for my own building consent?

No unfortunately you can not unless you are a licensed building practitioner. The consent process has become very complicated and we can act as your agent to complete this process for you. Please refer to the MBIE (Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment) website for further information on the licensed building practitioner scheme.


I don’t have a builder, can you recommend one?

We have a number of builders interested in building huts. We can recommend a builder to you if you are in the Christchurch area. If not in Christchurch, Fiona Macpherson is a member of ADNZ which is a network of architectural designers. Through the network we can source suitable builders and professionals throughout the country for you. We also have a builder who is happy to travel to remote locations.


How much does it cost to build a hut?

The cost varies depending on the size and complexity of the build and the materials. The cost can vary from $3000 per square metre to $3500 per square metre depending on volume, and cladding and joinery options. On a full build contract there are ways to reduce this but does require some building knowledge and expertise.

The things we value at Black Hut unfortunately do not come cheaply – volume, natural materials and plywood linings do increase the cost. We are not at the budget end of the market and although you could build a bigger, plainer house for the same money, we believe small and clever is worth investing in, not to mention better for the environment.


Can I visit a hut in Christchurch?

Yes you can! Please contact Charissa, at charissa@blackhut.co.nz to arrange a viewing of the Green Hut or Office Road Hut.