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Planning to subdivide? 7 key steps to consider.


Auckland’s population growth combined with skyrocketing land prices have escalated the need for more affordable homes. New zoning has opened up new pockets of inner-city land for development. These changes to the Unitary Plan have created the opportunity for more high-density housing or multi-unit dwellings.


At the same time, aging Auckland ‘empty nesters’ are cashing in their large suburban sections and moving on, creating opportunities for the next generation to live closer to amenities and work.

For investors fortunate to secure sites, subdividing and building new units is the best way to maximise yield.


For first-time developers, the concept of subdividing may prove daunting. While multi-unit dwellings can provide a good return, there’s much to consider in the planning stages including getting a firm handle on the subdivision costs. Generally, the average two-lot subdivision can cost around $120,000 – $150,000 to cover an approved consent, a new Record of Title, consultant fees and other Council requirements.


Typical questions clients ask our building team at Warren Adolph Homes include:

  • What will it cost to subdivide and how long does it take to get approval?

  • What’s the zoning in this area and how may units can we legally build? How high can we build?

  • Are there any obvious geo tech or site issues?

  • How much will it cost to remove an existing dwelling?

  • Can you recommend a good architect experienced in multi-unit design?

  • What services do we need to install on the site for the new units?

  • What levies does Council charge for subdividing and long will the process take?

  • Which planning experts do we need to engage?

It’s important to get the right advice upfront to understand the level of investment required, avoid costly mistakes, consultant rework and lengthy delays. These types of projects require more extensive planning to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation. It is a very specialised field, and the process often takes longer to reach the consenting stage before building can commence on site.


Here's seven key steps to consider when planning a development:


1. Understand what’s permitted on your site

We’ll meet you on site for a no-obligation one-hour free consultation. We want to understand your ideas and plans for the site. We’ll then suggest which planning specialists to approach for a feasibility study. Their role is to provide a customised plan including what’s permissible for your site.


2. Engage the right Consultants for a Site Feasibility Report

We can recommend land surveyors, designers, site engineers and other project consultants. They will need to assess the site under the current regulations, investigate options and produce the Site Feasibility Report required by Council.

This will indicate what subdivision is permitted, how many units can be legally built and the necessary Council requirements and conditions for developing the site. This report can take between 10-15 working days to produce by your appointed planner.


3. Obtain specialist reports

Any application to subdivide requires accompanying consultant reports around the critical services and costs to develop the site. These services may include drainage, water, power and what you can build on the sites. General reports may include drainage inspection, an assessment on the surrounding infrastructure, a geotechnical and topographical report and a land management impact report.

Site specific reports may cover flood zoning or risk, arborist proposal (if existing trees) or acoustic considerations.

The design reports will need to include a scheme plan (coverage), necessary earthworks, access or right or way plan and potentially the building design concept.


4. Apply to Council – Subdivision and resource consent

If you decide to appoint Warren Adolph Homes, we will work alongside your consultants and architect to help lodge all Council consent applications necessary for the approval of your subdivision. At this stage we will also start construction planning needed for commencement of the site works.

This stage can often drag on as Council request additional information and your consultants need to address questions or resolve issues on your behalf. We advise clients to expect delays.


5. Undertake Site works

In this stage all the services connections and infrastructure that have been designed and consented in the previous stages can be carried out. This work has to be in accordance with the approved plans and authorised resource consent.

This will include installing wastewater and storm water services, connecting the power, water and gas to the boundary and creating a right of way onto the site.


The necessary earthworks, a plan for any existing dwelling and the removal of unwanted vegetation will also need to be actioned. Once this work is completed the relevant paperwork is processed by surveyors to gain the new titles for the subdivided sections.


6. Apply for Subdivision and Land Transfer

Application to Council for the s.223/s.224(c) happens once the conditions of Subdivision Consent have been met. When all contribution fees have been paid, Council will sign off the s.224(c).

The Land Transfer Survey is completed and lodged along with the s.223/s.224(c) certificates for approval with Land Information NZ (LINZ).


7. Apply for the Certificates of Title

Your Lawyer can now apply for the new Certificates of Title.

Once Council approves this application, you now own an approved Auckland subdivision you can build on. Congratulations!


If you’re planning to subdivide and build on a Central or West Auckland site – talk to us. With 30 years’ experience, Warren Adolph Homes can advise you on the best steps to take for a multi-unit development. Our goal is to deliver a top-notch build you can be proud of and it comes with our 10-year peace of mind guarantee.


More information>

  • Check if you can subdivide your property here

  • Find out more about Auckland Council Development Contribution Fees here