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What do I need to know when getting services installed

An important part of any development is servicing. Almost all activities will need access to potable water and some way to manage stormwater and wastewater. You should spend time thinking about this at the start of your project, as it can sometimes be much more complicated and expensive than you originally think!

The process for connecting wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water will involve your local council, engineers and specialist contractors. The process and methods for servicing are different for rural and urban locations, as rural locations rarely have reticulated services and you’ll need to manage these on site. This blog focuses on urban locations, where there are connections available to Council service lines.

What’s the process?

Once you have the required resource consent or building consent from the Council, you can make your applications to get connected to Council reticulated service lines. Each Council has specific Standards that you need to meet and often you will need assistance from a civil engineer to design your servicing, and to make sure it meets the Council Standards.

You will also need some form of Council approval, often via the Engineering Plans Approval (“EPA”) process. Your application should include:

  • Completed application form.

  • Relevant engineering standard details.

  • Plan of proposed works.

  • Supporting calculations.

  • Permission from affected public and private land owners for work on their land.

  • Details of other services.

  • Other approvals granted.

  • Deposit.

You can find out more information about your local requirements from your local Council.

What are the potential issues?

  • Capacity issues – every network (or section of a network) for water, wastewater, and stormwater is built to service a

particular level of development. In some areas where development has exceeded the original capacity of the network, there may be capacity constraints that impact your potential connections. This is something you should discuss with your engineer at the start of the resource consent process.

  • Flooding risk – stormwater pipes have limited capacity and may already be operating at or above this (as mentioned above). This means that some areas may be prone to flooding in extreme weather events and these areas might have additional stormwater management requirements. Your council can advise you if this applies to your land.

  • Where are the connection points? Sometimes connection points aren’t on your property, and you need pipework to move though someone else’s land. You will need to check if easements are present or needed for this and consult with the property owner.

  • Accessibility - once your pipes are laid, you want to make sure there is easy access to the key areas. Then, contractors will be able to access them in case repairs or upgrades are required.

Making the connections

Underground pipes need to be installed at certain depths. In high traffic areas (footpaths, driveways) they must be deeper than in low or non-traffic areas such as gardens and lawns. The actual depths vary between local Council’s and their specific Standards. These kinds of details should be shown on the plans that are submitted for Council approval, so its more straight forward for your contractors to lay them correctly.

When determining where to lay the pipes, it’s important that your contractor is aware of any landscaping works planned so they can install in the best place. Landscaping and tree planting could potentially hinder future access to the pipes. Tree roots are notorious for damaging underground pipes as they grow. So be aware of this when planning your landscaping.

Development in mind?

Can you subdivide your land? Maybe redevelop it and add additional dwellings? To make sure you’re making informed decisions, give the team at Planning Plus a call on 094279966. Resource consents are our specialty!

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