Getting the Lay of the Land



If you are thinking about subdividing a property, it’s useful to review the steps you’ll need to take.

Whether you are thinking of carving off the back of a section to make two lots, or developing a lifestyle block or a site that could be a large multi-development subdivision, the process is similar – it’s just the scale that changes.



  • A feasibility study provides a thorough report on the subdivision options for the site as well as any restrictions, issues or considerations that should be known about before proceeding
  • A site investigation, including a geotechnical assessment
  • A topographical survey is required in most instances for subdivison/engineering design
  • A Subdivision Scheme Plan is then prepared with input from a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor
  • Civil engineering design for earthworks and site access, including roading, footpaths, driveways.
  • Infrastructure design for the provision of sewage, water supply, stormwater drainage, power and telecommunication services
  • A subdivision consent is required for all types of subdivision and will include an Assessment of Environmental Effects
  • Site works are then undertaken to form access, building platforms and to install infrastructure
  • On completion of those works s.224c Certification is obtained from the Council
  • The Land Transfer Survey can then be completed and new titles sought.

Derek Wood, principal surveyor at Envivo Engineering, Surveying & Planning, says, “Christchurch Council has made allowance for more infill subdivisions, particularly if an existing building has been condemned; there’s more leeway to develop sites.

“There are some good opportunities to look at sites in new ways – to maximise the developments and ensure that we make the most of each property.”

For first time developers it can be daunting to review all the steps that need to be taken in order to subdivide. The most frequently asked question is ‘how long will it take me to subdivide?’ – followed swiftly by ‘how much will it cost?’ The feasibility study enables Envivo to answer these difficult questions recognising that every site is unique.

Christchurch Council has a wealth of advice on their website with diagrams and tips on managing the subdivision process. The Council requires regular monitoring is undertaken throughout the process to ensure that all works and services are carried out and installed to the Council’s Infrastructure Design Standard.

Derek adds, “One of the key factors that should be considered is availability of consultants. Find out contractors’ availability as that will have a huge impact on the speed a development gets underway – and ultimately how much it will cost.

“Our teams are very responsive and can be on-site quickly, it’s our point of difference. Plus we offer comprehensive experience; over the last 18-years we have carried out over 1,000 subdivisions, and over 4,000 topographical surveys.

“We can help you assess whether you can subdivide your property, guide you through each step of the process and manage it smoothly for you.”



Envivo has worked on a variety of projects throughout New Zealand and overseas:



Before you start building, renovating or adding to your home there are reports you and your architect will need. Envivo can help with topographical surveys, overland flow path reports and feasibility studies as a starter.

A topographical survey is a highly accurate measurement and recording of the physical features of a property that includes levels, contours, buildings, structures, trees, services and shows the position of the boundaries. Architects, engineers and project managers need this information before they can start to design, build or renovate.

Envivo works closely with residential developers, architects and individual home owners to provide information, reports and designs to ensure your project progresses smoothly.



Envivo consultants have extensive experience in apartment developments. Every site is unique whether it’s a greenfields development, brownfields site or refurbishing heritage buildings.

A current high profile development is the $300 million Albany rose Garden site in Auckland, one of New Zealand’s largest residential apartment developments with 800 units. This premier apartment development presented a series of unique challenges that Envivo successfully overcame to achieve consents and approval from Council on a non-notified basis.



A hot topic right now is seismic assessments and the implementation of appropriate seismic design solutions. Envivo can assist every step of the way – from an Initial Evaluation Procedure (IEP) of an existing building and a Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE) to a full retrofit design solution, building consent documentation and construction phase services.



Envivo’s consultants have plenty of experience providing engineering design and project management services for open spaces, streetscapes, as well as recreation and coastal amenities that are attractive, functional and practical.



Infrastructure is integral to the success of any development project. Envivo has specialists in-house on three waters; stormwater, waste water and water reticulation, plus roading, traffic, power and infrastructure design.

Envivo Ltd Christchurch, PH (03) 928 1185, E,


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