FAQ’s

Although we can count and read plans, quantity surveying isn’t really our bag. Sorry.
No need to contact us. Go back to Google and add ‘Quantity’, not ‘Quality’. See what we did there?

Another very good and relevant question. But no – we don’t do these at present. But here again, we do work with a carefully selected bunch of guys who do do them (two do’s that is) and we are very happy to share our knowledge with you in this department too.

We’re really good at civil engineering, surveying, subdividing and that sort of thing. Some of us can fix things, but with our fleet of several vehicles even we go elsewhere to get them fixed. No, not us. No need to contact us.

Last time we checked the wording on side of the ute, plumbing wasn’t a service we offered, so sorry, but we don’t do plumbing. I would have to admit good reliable plumbers are hard to find so if you do find one, let us know. No need to contact us.

Sorry we don’t do knitting, although Hamish’s mum can sew. Pretty good at it too, even though she is over eighty. Don’t contact her – she’s busy sewing.

Unfortunately, our psychic left due to unforeseen circumstances, so we now have to rely on a desktop investigation and possibly pop out to see you. Both of these are free (usually), which is quite nice. Call us now – we would love to hear from you.

A bit of a tricky question that one – there are so many variables: age and quality of existing survey, varying Council application fees, amount of servicing required, LINZ fees, legal fees and of course the biggest expense in most developments are the Council Development Contributions. All up it can range from $20k – $80k for a two-lotter depending on where, what council, how big and a host of other things. You really need to talk to us about this stuff – we can do a free fee proposal for most jobs from a desktop investigation – call us or hit the contact button now.

Let’s look at the question. Remove the words “does a subdivision take” and replace them with “is a piece of string”. The simple answer is ‘it depends’, because there are a number of processes that have to happen in consecutive order. And for a few of those processes we are at the mercy of outside consultants and agencies. We can say from experience that it takes at least 4 – 5 months. Usually longer. Its best if we talk to you about your particular project.

Good question! Residential subdivisions are subdivisions that are undertaken in the ‘living’ part of a town or city. They usually require full services such as, sewer, storm water, power, water, and telco connections. They can range from a 2 lot in-fill development (chopping off the back yard) to multi-lot Greenfield developments that include new roads, services like sewer, storm water, power, telecom etc. We know the backs of our hands pretty well, and we know about residential subdivisions about the same, so we can do the lot from beginning to end.

What are Lifestyle Block Subdivisions?

Lifestyle blocks are pretty much what you think they are. Some people call them Life Sentence Blocks – once you get on one you are busy for life. However, this doesn’t stop people still wanting them and creating them. They generally range in size from 2000m2 up to the standard 10-acre block (that’s 4.0ha in real money). Lifestyle blocks are usually on the periphery of towns, but they can be done pretty much anywhere in the Waimak and Hurunui Districts as well. We are pretty good at these. Also, some councils have a few wee tricks up their sleeves that not everyone knows about (we do).

It is called rural subdivision because it typically refers to farm and country subdivisions and boundary adjustments. All sorts of cockies do these for all manner of reasons – selling land to neighbours, (or buying off them), setting up for the next generation, succession planning, selling the old homestead to finance a new build – you name it, we do it. We have lots of good ideas if you want to cash up your property or bits of it. We are big on this too.

Like any subdivision, we are talking about splitting up land titles into individual lots and titles. Commercial and Industrial zones are a whole different kettle of fish with their own issues, and we can handle these no problem. Mostly these are Unit Titles for multi-unit developments but all sorts of developments poke their noses out of the fish tank.

Fee Simple Subdivisions – Fee simple is often referred to as “an estate in fee simple” or “freehold”. (Please note – Freehold not to be confused with having no mortgage. You can have a freehold title with a mortgage! Believe me). A fee simple title is considered to be the title that has the greatest benefit to the owner in respect of enjoyment and use. A bit like a Bentley with low mileage. Very desirable. Unlike a Bentley with low mileage, these are by far the most common type of titles in New Zealand. Most in-fill residential and Greenfield developments, and all rural subdivisions would be creating Fee Simple titles in New Zealand.

The advantages of fee simple is that you have total control (often in partnership with the bank) and own the whole of the land and are able to make any additions or alterations to your property (subject of course to Council bylaws and consent requirements) without having to get the consent of neighbouring property owners, Unlike a cross lease title and unit title.

An owner can also register what are called “restrictive covenants” against their title to restrict future owners as to what they can build on the land. This can be undertaken without the need of any input from Council – just you and your lawyer. This is most common for example, where an owner owns a large parcel of land and is subdividing it into smaller parcels and wants to place height restrictions on the future lot owners so they can protect their view, or restrictions are placed on the titles relating to the types of building materials that are allowed. Just so you don’t end up with a Hillman Hunter next to the Bentley.

That is a very good question and very relevant to subdivisions, but at this stage, no we don’t. However, we do work in with several Geotech Engineers who we use regularly and we are very happy to help you get hold of one if you want to talk to us. We are good like that. Contact us.

This form of tenure is where a number of people own an undivided share in the ownership of a fee simple piece of land and the homes that they build on the land are leased from the other land-owners. The houses are usually flats or townhouses, and are defined on Flat Plans usually by a building outline.

EPH stands for Elderly Persons Housing Developments. These are developments that are restricted to one occupant of each unit being over 60 years old. These are a good option for sites that can’t be developed in any other way. Unfortunately, their days may be numbered so if you are thinking of doing something like this I suggest you get your skates on. Restricted to Christchurch City Council but other options are available in other councils. Hit that button now!

Easement comes from the old French ‘aisement’ meaning ‘comfort, convenience, with ease, without difficulty’. To put it in simple English, an easement is a nonpossessory interest in another’s land that entitles the holder only to the right to use the land in the specified manner. Why are we telling you this?- well it just describes what easements do. They are mainly drawn up for services and access for one person to do that over another’s land. Some need Council consent, some don’t. If you need one of these give us a call and we will take you through the process. Well done.

This isn’t just someone’s initials. AMF stands for ‘ad medium filum aquae’ which is basically Latin for ‘to the middle line of the water’ (check your old school notes). Where a river abuts a property and the connection is not interrupted by a road or other form of public land, the adjoining landowner may own the riverbed to the centre of the river. Such land can offer valuable grazing or land-use rights, and in the South Island particularly these river beds can be quite wide areas of land. Whether these rights exist can only be ascertained on a case by case basis and requires the investigation by a clever Crown Investigating Agent (of which there are few around). We can take care of all these tricky things as part of any subdivision or individual river claims you may wish to undertake.

When title to land is ‘Limited’, it means that the areas, dimensions and sometimes ownership is not guaranteed by the Crown until a survey is undertaken that defines the boundaries and dimensions and the ‘Limitation’ is removed. Getting the ‘Limitations’ removed takes more than a normal survey, because the age of existing boundary fences, physical occupation and a whole lot of other bits need to be taken into account. These take a lot of skill, experience and good looks. That’s us.

You can see a building on site, as can we. But no-one but us can accurately advise as to its exact location to the enth degree. This is critical for your designer to design to the parameters of the relevant District Plan. Really important if you are doing additions to an existing building. Want to make sure it actually fits, ay.

This stands for Finished Floor Level. Jolly important in areas where there is risk of inundation. Council will often set one of these as part of the Building Consent and it is us that needs to check it and issue the required certification for you.

This is a Building Location Certificate, a certificate that the council requests from a surveyor, which confirms that the building and floor level are in terms of the approved building consent. We normally do this once the boxing or formwork is in place, but before the concrete is poured. TIP – please try to remember you need this and don’t wait until the day the concrete truck pulls up. Getting a building in the wrong spot or at the wrong height can be extremely expensive or make it prone to flooding. So, lets get it right!

When the mayor comes to ceremoniously turn over the first sod, you want to make sure the sod is in the right place. A building set out or grid set out is used to show the builder exactly where the building should be. This is really handy on a hill site, but more and more it is also the best option on a flat site instead of boundary pegs. Sometimes we show the building corners, other times we do grid lines. Either way they are all in terms of the legal boundaries. Most Council’s and Insurers will insist that this is done by a surveyor. That’s us!

Boundary pegs do exactly what they say on the tin; they’re pegs that mark a boundary. (funny that). Boundary pegging has become quite a complex task, now that we are required by LINZ to submit an eSurvey dataset for any new or replacement boundary peg placed (for more complex read expensive). Sometimes there is no option but to do this, but often we can advise alternatives, which can save you a lot of money.

These are often an alternative to Boundary Pegs. We peg a line parallel to the boundary at a set, fixed, distance. Good idea (and way cheaper) in some instances. We can let you know when.

Site levels are the bare minimum you’ll require to competently prepare a building design on a site. We suggest you get these before you put pen to paper (or mouse to mouse pad). It can save a lot of horsing around later. We do these in terms of Council datum so they can set a minimum floor level if required. We also use our GNSS (fancy GPS) for these.

Do we what? We do all aspects of roading, drainage, services and car park design. And the required specifications, contracts, set out and supervision and pretty much everything else involved. We have some very civil engineers.

A topographical survey (also referred to as a topo or feature survey) is a more detailed version of the site levels survey, but we also pick up features on the site such as trees, services, building outlines, accesses – basically anything that is going to be of interest to the designer. It also satisfies the council as to level datum. You probably need one of these if you are a designer getting ready to do detailed house design, or a landscape designer with a short tape measure.

The pre-demolition survey is very similar to the topo survey, except we also include the height and location of the buildings on site. This is really important if the existing building is in a non-complying location, but has existing use rights. It allows us to show the designer the building envelope available under the existing use rights, and has been used extensively following the earthquakes.

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