top of page

Land development- Where do you start?

Developing land can be a daunting prospect, especially if its your first project. Where do you start? In this blog we have a high- level look at the preliminary stages of land development.

What do you want to achieve?

Its important to know from the start what your aims are and what you want to achieve. Are you building a house for yourself, for an investment or to sell? Do you want to subdivide now or in the future? Who will be the end user and what do they want? How much will they pay? Being clear on your goals will help you be more focused on how you develop the land, what you spend your time and money on.

Development feasibility

Once you know broadly what you want to achieve, its important to take the time to check its feasible. Things to consider include (but are not limited to):

  • Unitary Plan zoning and applicable rules for development; does the Unitary Plan provide for what you want to do? How risky is it? Does the Unitary Plan require you to provide any specific assessment? Your planner would assist you with this advice,

  • Is the site serviced? Can you connect to these services? In some areas of Auckland there may be a combined wastewater and stormwater line; this will require specific assessment by your civil engineer. If your site is in a rural location, on- site servicing will be required. You will need to demonstrate as part of your resource consent application that this can be achieved, at least in principle,

  • Does the site have any natural hazards you need to consider? This could include areas of flooding, overland flow paths or instability,

  • Are there any natural features on your site such as watercourses, bush areas, wetlands or trees that you need to take into account? Your planner can guide you on this; some areas will be protected by the planning documents or national standards, but others may not be,

  • Are there areas of contamination that you need to address? This could be from historic land uses or building materials (in particular asbestos),

  • Are there other issues such as topography or access that could impact on development?

  • Does the record of title contain restrictions (usually in consent notices, land covenant or easements) that you need to consider?

We have a number of blogs on the above topics, that you can find on our website. Once you have more detailed feasibility advice, you can adjust your development goals as needed.

The Right Team

Developing land will require input from a number of different specialists. In the initial stages this will likely be a planner, architectural designer, surveyor and civil engineer. Depending on what you propose to do and the site location/ features, you may need assessment from other specialists. Your planner can help guide you on this.

Its important to get the right team upfront, to avoid delays and extra costs later on. Someone who may seem cheaper at the start, may not be in the long run. No one wants to redesign a project at resource consent application stage because an issue was overlooked or not investigated in enough detail. Choose specialists who are qualified and experienced, and whose previous work you can see. Look at customer reviews and make an informed decision on who will be part of your project team. You can find out more about choosing a planner in this blog.


Very importantly, be aware of costs. This is not only the costs of the physical development, but design, specialist assessment, consenting, development contributions and Infrastructure Growth Charges.

Discuss your funding structure with your funding provider, and make sure you know when each stage of funding will be released and what works you have to do to get to that point.

Need more advice?

If you have a development in mind and think you need a resource consent, or need more detailed feasibility advice, get in contact. You can contact our resource consent specialists on or 09 427 9966.


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.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page