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The 9 must-know steps for successful medium density developments

Well-designed, medium density developments are inspiring, vibrant and functional spaces for communities to live, work and call home. They can also provide better returns for developers and investors because attractive developments are quicker to sell and often have higher resale values.

Unlocking the potential in a medium density development requires a balance of science, art, skill and a whole lot of planning. Our 9 ‘must-know’ steps will help you understand the key stages involved in creating a truly successful medium density development.

  1. Collaboration

A successful development project requires a collaborative effort.  Your project team will include a wide range of professional advisors including surveyors and land development specialists, architects, engineers, planners, lawyers, landscape designers as well as Council representatives.

Surveyors as land development specialists are a critical component of each of the 9 ‘must-know’ steps. By working with a firm, like Fox and Associates, you’ll not only get the best advice at every stage, we can also recommend the ideal advisors for you and your project.

  1. Design

In Christchurch, medium density developments typically equate to a land area of around 200-400m2 per unit. Medium density developments are often carried out over brown field land/existing housing areas that need accurate investigation and thoughtful design to maximise the use of that space.

Your surveyor cum ‘land development’ specialist can help you unlock the true potential of your land. This process starts with your survey or obtaining detailed site information in the form of a topographical plan.

A topographical plan is a snapshot of the site prior to development. It shows the current legal boundaries, service connections such as power, phone, water and drains, and general topographical information including ground levels, and location of buildings, vegetation etc.

  1. Subdivision and Planning

Next up is the application plan. This plan covers the site information, the proposed development and proposed boundaries. It forms the basis of an application to Council for subdivision consent.

While some developments fully comply with District Plan rules and only need a subdivision consent to proceed, many developments have non-compliance issues that require a land use resource consent from Council.

Your surveyor and land development specialist plays a crucial role at the planning stage; from developing the subdivision design, advising on compliance issues and engaging with Council on subdivision and resource consent issues.

  1. Engineering/building consent

If your development has shared services, like drainage or vehicle access, their design will be controlled by Council standards. This means detailed engineering plans will be required, detailing the work to be carried out. This work is typically undertaken while the building consent is being processed.

Land development specialists, like Fox and Associates, can prepare the engineering and building consent plans; submit an application and then advise on the reasonableness of the conditions of consent, imposed by the Council.

  1. Development contributions

Subdivision and building consents for medium density developments will require payment of development contributions to Council. These contributions are often quite significant.

If your development is within Christchurch’s four avenues, you are probably eligible for a development contribution rebate. Your surveyor and land development specialist can advise on the amount and timing of development contributions as well as your eligibility for any rebates.

  1. Building set out

Medium density developments frequently include buildings that are built on or close to boundaries and recession plans that are often a constricting aspect. Set-out surveys ensure buildings are constructed in the correct location.

  1. Services

As land development specialists, Fox and Associates can coordinate with service authorities to ensure that water supply, power and phone connections are up and running when needed.

  1. Cadastral survey

The Cadastral legal survey defines the development’s legal boundaries, easement area, covenant area and dimensions etc. for lodgement with Land Information New Zealand so that the new titles can be issued. Only licensed cadastral surveyors can carry out cadastral surveys.

  1. Council Clearance

When the development is nearing completion, council will require certification that the conditions of the subdivision consent have been fulfilled. This often includes ‘as-built’ plans of the installed services. Your surveyor – land development specialist can prepare the plan and pave the way for final clearance from Council. Your surveyor will then liaise with your solicitor to resolve any easement or covenant issues and also help to facilitate the issue of the new titles.

About Fox and Associates

Fox and Associates blend their knowledge of planning, surveying, engineering, urban design and land development expertise into a seamless approach tailored to achieve a professional outcome for your project.

By thinking outside “the square” and achieving a design specifically tailored to suit your site and your vision, we can transform your land into vibrant, functional spaces that exude a feeling of homeliness and community.

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