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2010 Survey Rules

The Survey Rules are the government reguations controlling how boundary surveys are carried out.  These rules have recently been revised primarily to take advantage of new technologies and a number of changes of varying significance have been introduced.  These changes will affect how we carry out our work and some of these changes will also affect our clients.

Boundary Location Surveys

In the past one of our surveyors would go to the site and place pegs on boundary corners.  The follow-up documentation was normally a pegging certificate with a diagram for the client or Council.  Occasionally we would lodge data with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) as a record of the work carried out, but this was lodged as “Record Purposes only” and as such it wasn’t subject to the usual checks, and no lodgement fees were required.

The new rules now require us to lodge documents with LINZ whenever a boundary mark is placed.  LINZ has created a new class of survey called a Monumentation Cadastral Survey Dataset, comprised of a relatively simple set of documents.  However, they are now charging a lodgement fee and preparing the documents will take some time, meaning additional costs to clients.

In addition if the boundary position has not been marked before then a full survey will have to be carried out and details lodged with LINZ.

These requirements to lodge survey data with LINZ will obviously be more costly than the pegging certificates that were carried out in the past.

Boundary Classifications

LINZ have introduced a broader range of boundary classes which link more intuitively to the actual type of land ownership (Fee Simple, Composite, Lease and Unit Title).

Although the range of classifications has increased it has in some ways simplified the boundary definition process by better linking boundary classes to tenure and making the description more intuitive.

The revised range of boundary classifications are:

  • A boundary against a water body is now called a “water boundary”, not a “natural boundary”.
  • A term “stratum boundary” is introduced for a boundary that is defined with the third dimension (elevation/height).
  • “Permanent structure boundaries” are introduced for use with units, cross-leases and building leases.  “Permanent structure” is a term defined for a structure sufficiently permanent and well defined that it can be used for locating the position of a boundary in the future –  fences or kerbs would not generally meet the 50-year criteria.
  • The term “estate boundary” is introduced. It applies to what has been commonly called a “CT boundary”, but is defined more broadly to also include other land tenures.
  • New irregular boundaries are permitted but only in a few specified cases.
  • Dried up water boundaries need to be right-lined, except in specified cases.

There is quite a mind shift in terms of boundary classes but once everyone becomes more familiar with the new terms it is should make the definition of any unusual spaces easier.

In particular, the previous use of Permanent Structure Boundaries was unregulated, and the new definition will reduce the confusion that has occurred.

We expect the move to new boundary classifications will be a learning curve for both Surveyors and end users of the spatial data.

Boundaries requiring pegging

LINZ have relaxed some of the requirements for pegging (ground marking) boundaries both in type of mark used and the positions that need to be ground marked.

There is now greater flexibility in the types of marks that can be used to define boundaries, but the chosen marks must be readily identifiable as a boundary mark.  All primary (allotment) boundaries will still normally require ground marking, but there is a lesser requirement for intermediate or line pegs.

One significant change is that rights of way no longer need to be ground marked.  There are other situations where ground marking is not necessarily required for “Primary Parcels” such as Permanent Structure or Stratum Boundaries.

However a word of caution:  Although the rules have been relaxed we urge Developers to consider the end users (purchasers) requirements and expectations.  Having the boundaries (allotment and rights of way) ground marked at the time of sale can avoid many time consuming and expensive arguments or costly mistakes in the future such as misidentification of boundaries, resulting in buildings straddling boundaries etc…

Boundary Definition

Previously when subdividing an allotment a surveyor was allowed to only survey the boundaries in the immediate vicinity of the new parcels and then adopt (or refer to old survey work for the definition of) the more remote boundaries/corners of the property.

Now we are required to confirm that the previous survey work meets minimum accuracy requirements.  This obviously will require more field and office surveying to resolve the historic errors found in many plans. Yes you guessed it – this will result in more expensive surveys.

Effectively this means that any cadastral surveying in urban areas will result in the entire allotment being resurveyed to ensure it complies with the new accuracy standards.  There is a lesser requirement to “Survey” all the boundaries of a rural allotment.

Other miscellaneous rules

There are some other changes that will affect how we carry out our surveys:

  • New Survey Classes – Class A (Urban), Class B (Rural), Class C (Adopted Rural residual parcels) and Class D (Accepted Boundaries).  The differentiation in rural allotments (is it greater or less than 4ha?) is gone – it is either rural or urban and the boundaries are; surveyed, adopted or accepted.
  • The accuracy provisions have been made more uniform with a slight reduction in some areas, but no tolerance given for the lower accuracy of older work.  New surveys must achieve the accuracy standards of today with discretion only given to the larger allotments which are generally in the rural areas.
  • We are required to have a minimum of two permanent reference survey marks.  These marks must be located where they are likely to last for more than 50 years (LINZ suggest that they should not be located in the road reserve) and be within 300m of a boundary mark so as to provide a greater chance of survey connection in the future  (This is in addition to the witness marks requirements which are still required to infill the survey network).
  • Any boundary with an elevation (Stratum Boundary) is required to be witnessed and tied in to the official vertical datum (NZVD2009) or one of the 13 regional datum.  If these are not available within defined distance from the project we may use an unofficial datum such as the Christchurch City Datum (CCD) or other local datum.


The new survey rules represent a significant change in how Surveyors will carry out boundary surveys.  All in all there is a requirement for more comprehensive surveys which will in turn increase costs of development or redevelopment!

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