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Engineering plan approval - more consents from Council?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

You’ve had your resource consent approved - great news! But there’s a condition requiring engineering plan approval, what is that??

Engineering Plan Approval (often shortened to a “EPA”) gives permission for civil engineering works for infrastructure that will be vested to Council, i.e. infrastructure that will become ‘public’ and under the control and responsibility of Council.

Why do you need to get engineering plan approval?

Engineering plan approvals are essential to ensure the design and construction of future public assets are fit for purpose. This ensures ratepayers are not burdened with unreasonably high future maintenance and renewal costs.

To design and supervise the work for an EPA, you will need a NZ Chartered Professional Engineer or registered professional surveyor with experience in land development and infrastructure. For projects involving water and wastewater, it is important to review Watercare's Compliance Statement Policies which will further guide information and design requirements. If you need assistance with the EPA process, we have a number of specialists we work with and can recommend someone to you.

Types of engineering plan approvals

Apart from a resource consent and building consent, some development projects need engineering approvals if they involve installing an infrastructure asset. The type of EPA you need to submit depends on the works you are proposing and the circumstances surrounding them. Minor engineering approvals are for specific and less complex works, like:

  • public stormwater connection within the site,

  • renewal of public stormwater pipe to same grade and alignment,

  • isolated rehabilitation of existing pipe or manhole,

  • raising or lowering a public manhole lid.

Major engineering approvals are for more complex works, like:

  • public stormwater, wastewater or water supply extension/system,

  • public road or road widening,

  • private road,

  • relocation of public drainage or water supply system,

  • public stormwater pond or wetland,

  • public stormwater catch pit, soak hole,

  • public swale/watercourse,

  • piping of an open watercourse,

  • bulk earthworks.

The information required by the council is dependent on whether your EPA will be for minor or major engineering works.

Application and approval process

You will generally need to provide the following items before your local council can issue an Engineering Approval:

  • completed application form signed by chartered professional engineer/licensed cadastral surveyor, applicant and agent (if applicable),

  • one hard copy of plans named, dated and uniquely numbered,

  • relevant engineering standard details,

  • catchment plans (where appropriate, e.g. drainage, watermains),

  • any relevant correspondence regarding the proposed works,

  • sketch of proposed works on the Council’s service plans,

  • site photographs (for design context),

  • supporting calculations,

  • permission from affected public and private land owners for work on their land,

  • details of tree protection, arborist report or tree approval,

  • other approvals granted,

  • deposit.

If you provide the above documentation to a suitable standard, Engineering Plan Approval can be obtained in 20 working days.

Phases in the EPA process

  1. Assessment and approval of the proposal.

  2. Construction and inspection.

  3. As-built documentation review and completion, and transferring ownership of an asset (like infrastructure).

Need help?

If you need help preparing an EPA application we can recommend specialists to assist you.

If you need some advice about preparing a comprehensive resource consent application, get in contact with our helpful team. You can see that getting an application right can be complicated, and this is where a Planner can help you. At Planning Plus, we deal with this process every day and know it inside out. We can manage the application process for you, taking away the stress from what can become a difficult process.

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

© Planning Plus Ltd 2023

Brittney is a qualified RMA planner graduated from Auckland University with first class honours

Brittney has experience in land development work and has also worked processing and lodgement of resource consent applications. She also provided project management and general communications.

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