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Contamination Reports - What Lies Beneath?

We have recently become aware that Western Bay of Plenty District Council (WBOPDC) are now insisting on compliance with the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (theNES) when building consent is applied for in situations where subdivision consent was granted prior to the NES coming into effect. Although WBOPDC has been more visible in its approach, people should be alive to other Councils across the country acting in the same manner.

     

The key requirement of the NES is that a contamination report known as a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI)must be undertaken for land where it is either being subdivided or where there is a change in use, and a copy of the report must be given to Council.  This can result in hidden costs where purchasers acquire bare sections that were once used for horticultural purposes and have been subdivided prior to 1 January 2012.  At the building consent stage Council are now requiring a PSI and these can cost around $3,000.00, sometimes more depending on the circumstances, to complete. There is then a risk that the PSI actually uncovers contamination which requires remediation, which could ramp up the costs further.

   

It is a case of making sure that you go into a transaction with your eyes wide open to these hidden costs and if you are thinking about purchasing an undeveloped section which has been on the market for more than a couple of years, make sure that you get the right advice and undertake proper due diligence before purchasing.

Written by Joshua Gear at 09:00

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