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Plans- what do they need to show?

Plans are a fundamental part of a resource consent application- showing what you intend to do and how and providing the basis for post- consent monitoring. It’s important that they accurately show what you propose. In most cases you will need to provide a site plan, floor plan/s, elevations, earthworks plans and erosion and sediment control plan as part of your resource consent application. A more complicated resource consent application will likely require additional plans, such as vegetation removal plans, landscape plans, roading plans or servicing plans. The level of detail needed on the plans does change depending on the complexity of your development, but here are some basic tips for any resource consent application.


Your plans need to be to scale, and accurately locate the features on the site and where your works will go. A “best guess” isn’t sufficient; the plan needs to be accurate. Usually this will mean that you need a professional to assist, such as an architectural designer. You may also need assistance from a surveyor.

Existing site conditions

Your plans should show existing buildings (even if you’re going to remove them), access, parking and any natural features such as watercourses, trees and wetlands, and contours. This allows Council staff to accurately assess your proposal in the context your specific site. For example, most district plans protect vegetation close to watercourses or restrict earthworks close to watercourses.

What’s proposed

The plans must accurately show what’s proposed and where. This includes any demolition, building changes, new buildings (and their use), earthworks, retaining (and its height), vegetation removal, planting, new parking and access and materials. Floor plans should be provided to clearly show how the spaces will be used. Your planner will review the draft plans and provide advice on what updates should be included.

Permitted activity rules

There are a lot of permitted activities in district plans. Often a development will infringe a small number of rules or Standards but comply with others (and therefore be “permitted” in relation to those). If you’re relying on a permitted activity rule, you should show on the plans that you comply. For example, show height to boundary recession planes, maximum height, outlooks spaces, earthworks volumes and areas, car parking etc. The Assessment of Environmental Effects should also clearly outline how the development complies with these rules and Standards, and why resource consent isn’t needed.

Discuss with your planner

Get advice early from your planner. Your planner will review draft plans and provide feedback on potential changes, to both improve the overall outcome and reduce the likely questions from council staff.

If you have any questions on development of land and the plans you will need, get in contact with our team on

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