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The dream of subdividing your land

By Anna Bensemann, Senior Planner, Baseline Group | Apr 08, 2022

Subdivision of land is often depicted as being an effective way to maximise the value of your land. While there is little doubt your land is worth more held in two titles rather than one, what most first-time developers don't realise is the costs, or number of professionals and Council departments involved. A simple subdivision will include planning, surveying, engineering, and legal professionals along with construction experts, plumbers and electrician. In addition, a subdivision of land involves Councils Planning team, Assets and Services team, and Roading team. Finally Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) are involved to issue the new titles.

At each stage of development these various parties have to provide each other information to allow the whole development to progress. If one party is delayed for any reason, it can have a knock-on effect for the rest of the development creating further frustrations, particularly when covid and isolation periods are prevalent.

There are some key stages for subdivision, the first of which is determining what section sizes you can achieve and where you can obtain services for water, sewer, stormwater, telecommunications and power, and where access from the road network will be. Surveyors, planners, council staff, power and telecommunication providers all have input into this stage.

Then an application for resource consent can be prepared and lodged by your planning team and processed by council staff. Once approved, there will be a number of conditions that have to be completed to Council’s satisfaction, such as installing services and access, and completing the legal survey of the new section, including putting in the pegs on your property.

In order to meet these conditions, an engineer is often required to provide design details for installation of services to make sure everything flows in the correct direction. A building consent approval from Council is often required to install services into their network, or for effluent to a septic tank system.

Once services are installed, appropriate evidence of the installed services (as built plans) need to be provided to council and approved, before the legal professional and the surveyor submit everything to LINZ for the issuing of titles. It is the title to the land which is sold and purchased, meaning you cannot complete the sale of a section until these titles have been issued.

Given time delays in recent years, and the need to coordinate between so many professionals and trades people, a full resource consent process can take twelve months or more. So, while the dream of subdividing your land and having additional wealth is appealing for the current market, it is important to realise the time and coordination undertaken by your surveying and planning professionals as they seek to secure your titles.