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New Year, new development? Where to start?

The new year is a time when people often reflect and plan the year ahead. This could mean house renovations, a new job or business, or developing land. If this means developing your land, where do you start?

There are many bylaws, standards and laws governing development, and it can be confusing to make your way through them. Once you’ve decided what you would ideally like to do, a visit to your local Council’s website or office is a good start. Here you can investigate the various rules applying to your area and your land, and get a clearer idea of what you will need to comply with. The Building Act and the Resource Management Act will be the most common legislation that you will need to know about.

The Building Act sets out the rules for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings in New Zealand. It includes Regulations, that usually cover rules requiring prescribed details. These documents are quite technical, but if you engage the services of an architect or architectural designer, they will be able to assist with providing plans that meet the requirements of this legislation. You can also download a copy of the Building Code and handbooks from

In planning your development, make sure you are mindful of costs. In addition to building costs, there may be Council fees and development contributions, fees to connect to service lines as well as the fees of those people assisting you such as Architects and Engineers. Our blog on costs may assist you with these questions; you can access it here.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) manages the use and development of land. District and regional plans are drafted under this, and detail what can and can’t be undertaken in your area and on your land. It is important that you check these rules and regulations. Again, a visit to your local Council can be very useful in obtaining preliminary advice. More detailed advice can be obtained from a planner. It is important that you do these investigations at the start; if you need a resource consent you are not guaranteed to get approval, so you will need to have a clear idea of the risks associated with your development before you decide to proceed.

How do you know if you need a resource consent? Take a look at our blog on this topic here.

If you want to know more about the development potential of your site or to discuss your ideas, give us a call. We have extensive experience and will give you our honest, professional opinion.

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.

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