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Construction of buildings near overhead lines

The New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice 34 - Safety Distances (NZECP:34) prescribes minimum distances for buildings from overhead power lines.

  • The particular distance depends on the line voltage. For voltages up to 66 000 the structure must be no closer than four metres from the lines.
  • Detailed dimensions can be found in NZECP:34 table 2. Some lines connecting premises to our network consist of two or more plastic-covered wires. The plastic is for weatherproofing only and is not an insulating material. Other lines consist of a single cable (about 20mm in diameter), referred to as "neutral-screened". These are fully insulated. NZECP:34 provides different clearances for each type of line.
  • Overhead lines installed from 1 January 2003 must be at least 5.5 metres above the ground.
  • Where lines cross above a building, such as a garage built on to the front of a house or a deck, the minimum height of the lines above the structure must comply with NZECP:34 table 2.
  • We advise that if you are doing any building, under or near any power lines, seek advice from us or your electrician as early as possible.
  • If you are erecting a building, including decking, under or near any power lines, seek advice from your electrician or us.
  • If there is a need to alter the lines, consider having them placed underground. This will be much safer for you and will also improve the aesthetics of the property.
  • If the use of the land changes, for example a former residence becomes a doctor's surgery and the land under the lines becomes a car park or driveway, the lines must be raised to 5.5 metres.