Subdividing on the North Shore

Subdividing on the North Shore – Part 2

North Shore Subdivision – Secondary Issues To Consider

This is the second part of my recent experience with subdividing my own property. The observations are real, not theoretical. If you have any subdividing plans, it pays to get real, expert advice and experience before you start down the track.

Last month we looked at the issues about the land and the services to it for subdividing on the North Shore. Now let’s look at some of the secondary subdividing issues.

Housing Density

In some areas, the Council wants to intensify the housing density. You might not be able to subdivide if there “are existing dwellings on the land” and the size of the plot is not sufficient for additional housing.  However, in many cases, the land may have consent for additional homes.

Existing Titles Or Restrictions

In some cases, there may be restrictions around what is possible with existing titles. These might include unobstructed views for neighbours, driveway access for neighbours, building height limitations, and others.

Environmental Impact

Will the proposed subdivision have any other effects on the flora and fauna on the land? This can be an issue for property near waterways for example or with native trees.

What To Do About These Issues?

Expert Help

Subdividing on the North ShoreThe first thing to do is to realise that you cannot do a subdivision yourself. People will need expert help for various parts of the process.

You will need a surveyor and an engineer to assess the suitability and size of the land itself and a lawyer to advise on the legal issues as to whether or not you can go ahead with the application.

You can also get a free 15-minute consultation with the Council to see if your project needs consents and permits.

If it is possible to subdivide, you will then need to hire a range of different professionals. A fuller list of professional services you will need can be found on this page for Auckland Council subdivision assistance.


Plan ahead and be patient. The process will take months. In some cases where the land is more difficult or there are neighbours close by, it can take more than a year to get consent to subdivide your land. There is little you can do to speed up the process.

You can slow down the process by being difficult, obstructive, or not communicating with other people involved, especially neighbours. You will need them on your side so be good to them and keep them informed of your progress.


The building itself will of course demand a lot of money but you will be surprised how much you need before you even turn any soil.

The various professional services, surveyors, engineers, lawyers, etc., you need to hire will cost a few thousand dollars.


Infrastructure and driveway or access costs will be considerable. Even if you only need to extend services to your property, you can expect significant costs. If the services need to be installed from fresh, that cost will be considerable.

Be prepared for shocks.

Council Payments

The Council will cost you money too

Not only will you have to pay for consent fees, and Development Contribution Fees. The Development Contribution Fees depend on what you intend to do and the impact on any existing dwellings. You can get an indication of your DCFs by clicking the link above.

Summing Up North Shore Subdivision

You will need to be resilient but flexible. There will be setbacks and unexpected costs but by being flexible you may be able to negotiate with your neighbours or the Council to overcome those problems.

Get the best expert help you can afford. These people will make the process much easier and take a lot of pressure of you. This is what they are paid to do so leave them to it.

Keep the vision. It will be difficult but if your vision is a good one, you will enjoy the rewards at the end. Nothing worthwhile comes easy.

If you are thinking of subdividing your North Shore property, please contact me for some practical tips and advice. You can reach me on 0800 224 628 or if you prefer, you can email me at

Tim Cain.

North Shore subdivision builder

Subdividing on the North Shore – Part 1 – A Builder’s Experience At Home

Subdividing on the North Shore – From Someone Who Has Done It

I have been in the house building industry for many years, and over that time, built numerous different homes and earned a reputation for good quality building. Some of those homes have been on subdivisions where the legal and service installation work had already been done – I only had to build the house. However, over the last few months, I have been working on a project for myself that involved sub-dividing our section – and boy, what a learning curve it has been. In the first of two articles, here are some tips and observations on subdividing in Auckland, not from someone sitting behind a desk in their clean shirt, but from my own in the trenches experience.

Can You Subdivide Your Property?

Before you get excited about the possibilities of subdividing your land, let’s look at the basics first i.e. can you actually subdivide? The Auckland Council subdivision rules is a good starting point, and while it doesn’t go into the nitty-gritty, their first line is rather helpful,

“Subdividing your property can be a long and expensive process.”

Let’s look at some of the key issues to consider to see if you may be able to subdivide your property.

The Property Itself

The first category of factors relates to the land itself.

How Big Is Your Property?

The Auckland Unitary Plan determines how many sections you can create on your property. There is no single measure as the rules vary for different areas according to intended use and location. This page gives you an indication of what you might be able to do.

Access And Building Height Clearance

These factors concern the available space around the house(s). The Council has four requirements in this category:

Vehicle access – Is there sufficient distance between the boundary and the dwelling for a driveway and access by a car?

Parking – Is there space on the property to allow parking of a car for each property?

Manoeuvring – Can a vehicle adequately manoeuvre so it can exit the property?

Building Clearance Height – Can you achieve a minimum height clearance of 3.8m for soffits from the finished driveway?

The Location of Your Property Or The Zoning

What is the zoning for the section under the unitary plan and does this allow for subdivision of the property? This follows on from the previous item and more specifically the Council says, a factor affecting whether you can subdivide depends on “the zone your property is in (different zones have different minimum areas for newly subdivided lots)” Again you can see from the Unitary Plan link above what zone your property is in and how it is designated for use.

Condition Of The Land

If the land is unstable or “prone to hazard”, whether natural like flooding or erosion, or man-made like contamination, then subdivision will not be possible. An additional practical consideration is the physical structure and contours – the topography of the section. In short, does the nature of the section allow for easy subdivision?

Services And Amenities

The second category to consider relates to services and amenities of and to the land.

Stormwater and Drainage

Is there existing or sufficient stormwater or wastewater drainage installed on the site? If not, this is very expensive. Similarly, are the existing pipes up to current quality standards or do they need to be upgraded?

Access To Services

Another aspect to consider is the access to services to your property. Can you simply ask for the service provider to extend their service to you such as wastewater drainage being extended to your land? Alternatively, will you have to get permission from a neighbour (or multiple neighbours even) to have the service delivered through their property?

Subdividing on the North Shore

These are the basic subdividing issues concerning the land and the property. Next month I will be talking about some additional factors that can affect your subdividing plans and building your home.

If you have any questions around subdividing on the North Shore, I am happy to talk through my process with you on 0800 224 628 or if you prefer, you can email me at

Tim Cain.