Development Feasibility

Development Feasibility Cato Bolam - Development Feasibility

Development Feasibility Reports on Zoning, Availability of Utility Services, Development Opportunities, Resource Consent Requirements, Due Diligence, Design Concepts.

  • New / Changed Land Uses
  • Existing Use Rights
  • Private Plan Changes

At Cato Bolam we work with a large range of clients, from first time developers and investors through to large scale development experts.

The most common first question on new projects is “what can I do with my site?”

There are many things to consider and in most cases many different options available. Whether you want to build your dream house, add a minor dwelling, develop your back yard or take on a much larger development project we are here to help you – all the way through from initial advice and feasibility to project completion.

Our Development Feasibility includes an Initial Consultation and Development Advice.

Development Feasibility Cato Bolam - Development Feasibility

Initial Consultation

  • Property details – aerial photograph, site size and dimensions, legal description and certificate of title number.
  • Zoning and Rules applying to the property – this gives a basic understanding of development possibilities.
  • Any servicing or flooding issues – we consult Council databases and use our own engineering knowledge to provide this advice.
  • An outline of the process involved in establishing the development, including consultant and Council fees.
Development Feasibility Concept Sketches - Development Feasibility

Development Advice

We believe it is important that we understand each client’s project purpose and background from the outset. That’s why we start by asking questions and listening. We utilise the initial consultation advice and our extensive land development experience in collaboration with the client to determine the potential development yield for the property. This may be a simple site subdivision, or may be a more complex building development followed by subdivision.

We prepare a design concept taking into account the client’s wishes, the regulations that apply and any constraints applying to the land. We will identify information Council will likely require for the consenting processes. For instance, reports on traffic implications, geotechnical analysis and land contamination are often required.

This advice will give confidence about what form of development is likely to achieve Resource Consent.

Our team of experts can also provide estimates of development costs for the consenting and the completions phases as required.

Development Feasibility Cato Bolam Chris Solleder - Development Feasibility

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Our Process

Our process generally begins with a development feasibility and concept option analysis. This is one of the most important phases of work as it tests the potential of the site, assesses available options and most importantly helps you determine if a development is likely to be feasible.

All going well, the feasibility work sets the direction of the project through to completion. Or, if too many hurdles are identified this phase may determine that the project is not feasible and another site should be looked at.

Our team, will work closely with you to identify the options for your property and provide you with the best possible advice including providing a cost benefit analysis, concept options and potential development costs.

The first step is looking at the planning rules that will apply to the site.

Planning Rules

In Auckland this has recently gone through a notified major change (“Plan Change 78”) with the introduction of the government-mandated medium density residential standards (“MDRS”).

These standards allow up to three storey development, subject to set requirements that include standards relating to height in relation to boundary, site coverage, yards, open space, glazing and landscaping. These new standards are more permissive than the old ones and to varying degrees the MDRS introduce significant changes to what can be developed where, and when. More significantly, Plan Change 78 applies a Mixed Housing Urban (“MHU”) Zone over much of Auckland – even areas that have been zoned Single House or Mixed Housing Suburban Zone.

In the newly expanded MHU Zone some standards have “immediate effect”, i.e. up to 3 dwellings complying with the MDRS are possible, even without a resource consent. There is no set minimum land area requirement for each unit – the focus is on complying with the MDRS. Four or more units complying with the MDRS may also be possible but in that case a resource consent is required and the old zoning will need to be looked at.

Waikato District Council has recently gone through a major change (Proposed Waikato District Plan – Appeals Version) with the introduction of medium density residential zones. A variation to these rules (Variation 3) has been notified to enable development within Tuakau, Pokeno, Huntly and Ngaruawahia to comply with MDRS.

A much smaller percentage of “qualifying matter” areas either maintain a similar approach to the old zones or require some extra work, for instance to show that flooding or drainage issues don’t arise.

Another important factor is there are some areas that have location specific precincts or overlays and these areas have their own specific rules that take priority over the standard zoning rules – including the new MDRS. It is important to establish if a site is within a Precinct or Overlay area.

Overall, it does become a bit complicated, particularly in the current period up to early 2024 during which Plan Change 78 is being processed to come fully into effect.


Development Feasibility Questions

What is the Auckland Unitary Plan?

The Auckland Unitary Plan is a comprehensive (and large!) document that sets out clearly what you can and cannot do with your land. If you can do something, the AUP also outlines how you need to go about it - this is often through a resource consent process. One of our skills is to know about the AUP and advise you on how it applies to your property.

How much will it cost to develop my land?

It depends on what you want to do. We can discuss that with you and once we have a basic undertsanding of where you may wish to go - including some options - we can cost it out for you.

Can I develop/subdivide my land/property?

Quite possibly! If you contact us with your property address we shoud be able to provide you with a quick initial answer.

How do I maximise my property’s potential?

Our initial assessment of your property and Council's district plan and other requirements will identify what the possibilities are. We can then advise on the design, consenting and construction costs, and estimated timeframes. This will enable you to see how you can maximise the property's potential, and enable an analysis of the potential return on investment.

Does it cost money to check my properties potential?

A desktop assessment of your property's development potential can be undertaken with one of our development experts free of charge. Additional stages of feasibility reports for funding purposes or due diligence reports to clarify specific development point will incur a fee based on hourly rate. We will give you an estimate if this seems the best course of action to take.

How do I check the potential of my property?

The first step in understanding your property's potential for development is to contact one of our Directors who can let you know about Council and planning requirements, any issues that we can readily identify, the practicality of achieving subdivision or building development and the economics of any physical construction required on site. Most of this can be given in an email as a desktop exercise, however we will sometimes suggest that there is a need for further invesigation, including a site visit.

How can we assist with your development feasibility?