- 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.
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.
Need advice on what you can do with your land? Complete the form on our contact us page and one of our representatives will be in touch.
Find out what opportunities exist for your property.
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The Importance of Development Feasibility and Concept Option Analysis
At Cato Bolam we work with a large range of clients, from first time developers and investors right up to large scale development experts. Whenever we are contacted about a new project one of the first questions, that is common across the spectrum, is “what can I do with the site?” For less experienced developers we are also explaining the property development process and offering guidance on where to start.
With almost 50 years of experience in land and property development, 90+ experienced and professional staff, and services across Planning, Surveying, Engineering, Architecture and Environmental we are experts in maximising the potential of your land and working with you to create great places.
Our expertise is providing a start-to-end service in the development of residential sites. Our process is generally divided into four distinct phases, with the first phase being the initial 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. This feasibility work will set the direction of the project through to completion, or you 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 answering your questions on subdivision costs.
The first step is determining the zone your property falls under, which in Auckland, is determined using the Auckland Unitary Plan Zoning Guide.
The four main zones for residential subdivision and development in Auckland are
SHZ – Single House Zone
MHS – Mixed Housing Suburban Zone
MHU – Mixed Housing Urban Zone
THAB – Terrace Housing and Apartment Building Zone
The MHS, MHU and THAB Zones have no maximum density requirement – the emphasis in on good urban design. 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. It is important to establish if a site is within a Precinct or Overlay area.
A common misconception among some beginner developers is that you need to create vacant sites of say 400m² in the MHS zone or 300m² in the MHU zone. Those minimum area rules apply only if you are creating a vacant section. If you are building and subdividing concurrently, no density limit applies, and this is why vacant site subdivision is now a rarity in urban Auckland compared to pre-Unitary Plan days.
Having no density limits opens up a lot of opportunity and potential for many different development options on a single site. It also makes the process of determining what sort of development you should do, that much more important as not every option will be feasible or profitable, which leads back to that common question of “what can I do with the site?”
When working with Cato Bolam, we identify and explain some of the key areas which often catch our clients out when considering redevelopment of their properties for subdivision.
- Exceeding Building coverage and falling below landscape area
- Height to boundary and maximum height
- Outlook and outdoor space compliance and orientation (private outdoor space overlooking road / carparks etc) and consideration of the existing house if this is to remain on the property
- Poor urban design. Good urban design is very important when submitting to the Auckland Council and our Architecture team will work closely with our internal planners
- Correct access, parking etc.
- Drainage servicing and management of flooding.
When undertaking this concept design process we will consider how different housing types may work on the site. Some will work better than others and a housing type that works well on one site might not lead to the best outcome on another site. It is also important to have an understanding of the local market which may drive the type of housing that should be investigated, which is why we encourage our clients to discuss options with local real estate agents.
Within the first stage of initial development feasibility and concept designs, we utilise our in-house expertise to consider these constraints before putting pen to paper. We will review the zoning, surrounding environment which can provide risks and opportunities, assess risks around physical constraints and advise if further assessment is needed prior to completing concept work. In some cases, we can make assumptions on likely outcomes which are subject to later assessment, or we may recommend that assessment prior to concept development. An important example of risk requiring further assessment is overland flowpaths and flood plains. We assess each property on a case by case basis and provide our opinion on options to address constraints where available.
If the property is not already owned and is being purchased, time constraints are often a major factor in determining what work we will undertake in Due Diligence stage.
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.