Building near power lines

Roofing, scaffolding and building

Whether you’re a property developer, surveyor, builder, scaffolder, roofer – or even just putting up a fence, sign, a marquee or laying a driveway – it’s important to know the rules around building near power lines.

From design through to construction, you must follow the minimum safe distances from power lines set out in the NZ Code of Practice (NZECP34 – Electrical Safe Distances). 

Minimum distance between power lines

Minimum distance beneath power lines
Minimum distance to side of power poles and lines

Not exceeding 1kV

Exceeding 1kV but not exceeding 11kV

Exceeding 11kV but not exceeding 33kV

Exceeding 33kV but not exceeding 110kV

Exceeding 110kV

Follow the code

Not knowing what’s a safe distance can come at a price. Help avoid electrocution or serious injury – and costs of putting it right - by following NZ Electrical Code of Practice NZECP34 – Electrical Safe Distances. You can access a copy of the code here. See above for a table of minimum distances.

Before you start work

Check the surrounding under or near power lines, poles, wires or other electricity network equipment.


0800 Powerco 0800 769 372 if your work is in our network area and we’ll help you with your plans. If your work is outside our area, it’s best to contact your local electricity lines company. See a map of New Zealand lines companies.

What NZECP34 – Electrical Safe Distances covers

The code covers all types of building and excavation – permanent or temporary – near power poles and lines, including but not exclusive to:

  • Houses/buildings
  • Portable buildings and marquees
  • Using scaffolding
  • Building fences
  • Digging/laying a driveway
  • Raising ground levels
  • Erecting signs
  • Artificial shelter belts and canopies

All work must be a safe distance away from overhead lines.
The minimum distance between a structure and an overhead line varies depending on the voltage the line is carrying.
The structure needs to be clear of lines both underneath and to the side.

Find an approved contractor to help

You must use a certified Powerco-approved contractor to carry out work on our electricity network, including connections, disconnections and upgrades.

Find out more