Building a new home is an exciting (and potentially expensive)
project. So it's important to check the land you intend to build on
is suitable before you buy it.
Soil type and land contour can vary dramatically in the Bay of
Plenty. The region was once home to many farms and orchards and not
all sections are straight-forward to build on.
It is most important to check whether any consent
notices exist, and whether the soil is
contaminated before you buy land. Both can
dramatically increase the cost of your building project.
What is a consent notice?
Consent notices can be attached to the land title if the local
council wishes to impose certain conditions. This is typically done
when land is first subdivided.
Common consent notices may require:
- Further soil tests prior to building
- A qualified engineer's report on the building platform
- All building foundations to be designed by a qualified
- Specific stormwater drainage
- Restrictions on building too close to a ridge or bank, or on
Is the land contaminated?
Some councils will refuse to issue building consents where the
land is, or may have been, contaminated.
The Ministry for the Environment has compiled a 'HAIL Register'
(Hazardous Activities and Industries List) which outlines a number
of land uses likely to have caused soil contamination due to
hazardous substance use, storage or disposal. This includes many
agriculture, horticulture and industrial activities. You can view
this register at www.mfe.govt.nz.
You will need to prove your soil isn't contaminated before a
building consent will be granted. Check with your local council to
see what reports are available or organise your own soil tests.
Land developers often do such checks as part of the planning
If your land is contaminated, your top soil may need to be
removed and disposed of, and the site level built back up - all of
which costs money.
Any other factors to consider?
The cost of excavating, retaining and contouring land can be
significant so investigate these expenses before you buy. Even if
your section is flat, it pays to check how much top soil needs to
be removed to build your foundations. Some sections have as little
as 20cm before clay is exposed - others will have 50cm or more
which will add to your budget.
Do your homework
Thoroughly investigating land before you buy it will save a lot
of time and money in the long run.
Once you have a suitable building platform sorted, you can then
confidently build the house of your dreams!
Need some help?
If you're buying a section and need further assistance, get in
touch with Hamish