Don't Talk To Neighbour (April 2017)

Don't listen to your neighbour about subdivision.

With so much change these days information is dating real fast.  This has always happened but the speed seems to be picking up - and rural subdivision is getting harder.

Don't be under any illusion that the government reforms to the Resource Management Act, recently announced, are going to make it easier either – from my experience it just gets harder and harder.

In many cases, your friend or neighbour has had experience of subdividing and at the very least they know someone who has done it.  No doubt they think that they can give you 'good advice'.    Other professionals may offer an indication also but you should only use this as an indication.  I'm sure they mean well but there are two problems here.

The first is that the rules are continually changing and, even if they did it a couple of years ago, the rules may well have changed or your existing title may differ from theirs.  The title date, its size and restrictions noted on it have significant effect in most Districts.

The second is that each Council has a different take on what is allowed under the Resource Management Act – and believe me they are very very different.  Some Councils restrict the number of lots you can create, most restrict the maximum and minimum size and some even require you to purchase subdivision rights from a third party before they will allow you to subdivide.  

With the rate of change and the lengthy bureaucratic process involved, it is even difficult for Council staff to provide complete information.  As the rule changes go through the process varying weight is given to old and new rules so, unless the staff member is well informed, they can't be sure of what will be approved.  They are often unaware of pending Environment Court rulings.

So it's a bit like checking your health problems 'on line'.  If you don't know all the specific background information then you are not going to find the right answer.

We are dealing with subdivision enquiries from over ten districts on a daily basis.  Even though we know the current rules intricately we have to be continually checking for upcoming rules that might trip us up.  Added to this complexity is the status of the individual title or titles that we we are attempting to subdivide or adjust the boundaries of. 

There is no exception to carrying out specific investigation into each proposition prior to providing advice to individual clients.  The job of an experienced surveyor is to balance the allowable subdivision under Council Rules with the land topography and potential use to come up with a concept that helps you make the most of your biggest asset.  In doing this we must listen to you, as the owner, because you know the land much better than we do. 

So, if you are contemplating any subdivision or changes to your boundaries and want to get the best value out of your land, rather than talk to a friend, call an experienced surveying company for specialist advice.  Feel free to give me a call and discuss your situation. 

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Coromandel.  For further information call 0800 268 632 or email

Don't Talk To Neighbour (Published April 2017)

Trig points and topographical surveying
theodolite - traditional land surveying equipment
Surveying Services Subdivision Planning Team Vehicle
Mt Maunganui Land Surveying