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A Timely Reminder About Subdividing

If you’ve been sitting on the fence over subdividing, now’s the time to jump off it and take the plunge, writes Hamish Frizzell.

By: Hamish Frizzell

31 August 2022

With interest rates back on the rise and construction costs increasing you may be wondering if residential development has hit its peak.

With predicted demand for new housing over the next 10 years remaining strong, the best time to invest in your land assets is “when you can”. So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence about subdividing your land, now’s the time to grab your party gear and take the plunge.

The subdivision process for a standard two to three-lot subdivision will typically take somewhere between nine and 12 months from go to whoa, depending on the site and its location.

The first step is preparation for subdivision approval, which normally takes three to five months.

This is probably the longest stage in the process and is where more time and costs can accumulate if not done correctly. Speed here depends on how fast everyone works and any uncovered issues that may need to be resolved, particularly in relation to servicing and drainage.

Your surveyor will prepare the subdivision plan, which includes a topographical survey, and undertake investigations for your land to support the application to council. Once this information is finalised your subdivision consent application will go into council for approval. Processing times will vary depending on the council. The RMA allows for 20 working days from receipt of all Information, but more often than not the timeframes are considerably longer than this.

‘Step five involves the issue of new titles, which take six weeks’

Engineering Consent

The second step is engineering consent applications, which take one to two months. Next, your surveyor will be developing engineering plans and submitting your engineering and building consent for approval by council (EPA).

Pegging and physical works come next, which will be two to four months in your third step.

Finally, you will see evidence of your subdivision in real life as the physical parts of pegging your boundary, earthworks, driveways and drainage are completed. Your surveyor will start the Land Transfer Survey as they undertake calculations in the office and peg the boundaries, prepare and then send eSurvey dataset to the council for 223 certification. Meanwhile, the engineering and physical works for the driveway and servicing can get underway. Time frames will depend significantly on the complexity of your subdivision.

Step four covers s224 and LINZ approval, a six to 10-week process.

Next, your surveyor will lodge your eSurvey dataset and Land Transfer plan with LINZ for examination and verification. Allow three to six weeks for a normal LINZ time frame. However, it is possible to reduce this via a fast-track process if your surveyor and lawyer have everything in order. Once the survey plan has been approved as to survey by LINZ, and all conditions of the resource consent are met, a 224 certificate is submitted to council for approval.

Issue Of New Titles

Step five involves the issue of new titles, which take six weeks.

When any development contributions have been paid to council and the 224 certification has been obtained, your lawyer can request new titles. Allow around four to six weeks for the solicitor to complete the necessary paperwork, and once titles are received your subdivision is complete.

So, if you are asking yourself if now is a good time to subdivide, consider the time frame it will likely take to complete the process against what your plans are for your land. If you start today, you’ll be ready to develop your land or sell it as an investment in 2023.

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