Growing Places e-newsletter

Welcome to the fifth edition of Growing Places, a quarterly newsletter from the Waikato District Council Consents and Building Quality departments.

The purpose of this e-newsletter is to keep you informed about important information regarding building consents and resource consents in the Waikato district.

 If you wish to receive this via email, you can subscribe here.

We’ve recently changed the way we accept building consent applications to make it quicker and easier for you. You can now email your application (via a Dropbox link or any other cloud file share) to or you can save it to a USB stick and post it to us, or drop it off at one of our offices.

You can still submit paper applications if you wish, but the good news is you’ll only have to supply one copy instead of two.

We’ve created an information brochure that clearly explains how to submit your building consent, including file type and size limits.

We’ve also made some other changes with you in mind. You’ll now receive the BLD number at the beginning of the application process which will make it easier if you want to make a payment online. It will also allow you to track your building consent online. You can do that here.

Staff update

Resource Consents staff changes

We’re excited to announce that Ella Makin has moved into the role of Consents Team Leader for the east of the district! As a result we had a vacancy for Senior Planner and Kelly Cattermole has been promoted to this role and Kimberley Freeman has moved into Kelly’s Intermediate vacancy. We are currently recruiting for a Planner to replace Kimberley.

Building Consents staff changes

The building team is pleased to welcome Teresa Paul as a new Building Review Officer. Teresa will be based in the Tuakau office. At the end of July we are expecting the return of one of our Building Review Officers who has been on maternity leave, this will give us more capacity to process consents in a timely manner.


Staff Profile: Meet our Building Quality ManagerMeet Merv

Our Building Quality Manager is Merv Balloch. Merv has worked at Waikato District Council for 15 years, and has been Building Quality Manager for 10 of those.

Merv supports a team of 20, including 11 Building Inspectors, 5 Building Review Officers and 4 Administrators. Originally starting his working life as a builder in Hamilton, he has a wealth of experience including working for Foster Construction as a Foreman/Project Manager for 23 years.

Many of you may not know that Merv is also the local Civil Defence emergency controller for Waikato District Council, a role he has held for 5 years.

Outside of work, Merv likes to deerstalk, fish and make furniture and he has a much loved German Sheppard that is a retired Police dog.


Processing statistics: Slow quarter but numbers still high

For the first time in long time, we’ve seen a reduction in the number of consents when compared to the same time last year.

In April-June 2017 we received 491 building consents (compared to 598 for the same period last year) and 260 resource consents (compared to 282 last year). LIMs and property enquiries were also down this quarter compared to last quarter and compared to this time last year. Between January andthe end of June, we’ve received 19% less building consents for dwellings compared to the same period last year.


What's happening: Housing Infrastructure Fund and Te Kauwhata growth - The facts

As you may have seen in the media, Waikato District Council has been successful in its application for $37 million from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund. Council’s application for a share of this Fund aims to facilitate housing development in Te Kauwhata to meet the demands of a rapidly growing north Waikato community. The Fund application is linked to a proposed private development, referred to as the Lakeside development, which aims to bring online 2600 new residential lots.

It is well known that we have a housing supply issue in this country; the Housing Infrastructure Fund is trying to address this by assisting Councils to get more houses to market faster.
An important point to be aware is that for the Lakeside development in Te Kauwhata to proceed, the private plan change applicant will need to consult with the community and complete the correct RMA process. As it stands, the plan change has been received by the Council and we are awaiting further information from the developers. Currently, the private plan change is being processed by an independent external planner and will be heard by an independent external commissioner. There will be opportunities for local people to have their say.

If you are wondering how the funding for the infrastructure would work, it’s like this: The interest-free loan (that comes from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund) would be repaid within 10 years from the date of drawdown (there would likely to be a number of drawdowns over a period of time). Development Contributions (which are paid by developers towards the infrastructure) would pay for some of the repayments but there is also a benefit to existing ratepayers from improving environmental outcomes for Lake Waikare and the resilience of our wastewater network more generally. Accordingly, as would be the case regardless of whether or not this development were to go ahead, some of the cost would be paid for by all properties connected to the district wide wastewater scheme.

In terms of how fast this development could occur should the private plan change be successful, we would expect the market to dictate the speed of growth; which would see sections developed in an orderly way.

The bottom line for us is that we are growing rapidly, and as a Council it is our role to ensure we have the infrastructure in place, now and in the future, to manage this. Building consents statistics show Waikato district has overtaken Wellington to be the fourth highest-growth area in the North Island, and household growth rate projections indicate Waikato district will surpass Hamilton to match Auckland’s growth rate over the next 26 years. 

The district’s proximity to Auckland, together with the lower median land and house prices available, has led to a steady uptake of zoned residential land in north Waikato including Te Kauwhata.

Process focus: Trade waste applicationss

What is trade waste?

In simple terms, trade waste is the discharge of wastewater into the public network from a non-residential activity. Trade waste sources can range from large industry (processing, manufacturing plants, engineering workshops) and commercial businesses (truck depot, restaurants), to health services (hospitals, medical centres, dentists, vets), small businesses (hairdressers, cafe) and even businesses run from home (hairdresser/salon, commercial kitchen making cakes).

The definition in Council’s Trade Waste and Wastewater Bylaw 2016: Is any liquid, with or without matter in suspension or solution, that is or may be discharged from a Premises to the Wastewater System in the course of any trade or industrial process or operation, or in the course of any activity or operation of a like nature; and may include Condensing or Cooling Waters; or Stormwater which cannot be practically separated.

What is Trade Waste Shared Services?

Waikato District Council has joined with Waipa District Council and Hamilton City Council to provide Shared Services for trade waste services. A key aim is to deliver integrated, sustainable and well-managed services that also protect and enhance the environment. It is hoped that trade waste customers will receive a consistent trade waste service across the three council territories. The sharing of staff and resources ensures a streamlined and efficient business model. You will notice our trade waste officer’s email address ends with

Can I apply for trade waste approval before a building consent?

Yes. If you are proposing a non-residential activity that will discharge wastewater into the public network, it is recommended that you apply for trade waste approval prior to applying for building consent. This is to ensure your building consent application isn’t held-up while you liaise with our trade waste officer.

If you are unsure whether trade waste will apply to your proposal, it is recommended that you liaise with Council’s Trade Waste Officer prior to applying for building consent.

You can find the application form on our website. Council’s Trade Waste Officer will contact you to discuss your application and will advise of any further requirements.

Can I apply for building consent before trade waste approval?

Yes, however, it is recommended that you apply for trade waste approval prior to applying for building consent. Council’s Trade Waste Officer reviews all building consent applications for commercial activities and residential activities that may need a trade waste approval (for example a hairdressers / commercial kitchen run from home). The review by the Trade Waste Officer is to determine the nature of any discharge and whether approval is required.

If your building consent falls into one of the above categories, you will be advised via a request for information letter that “Trade waste approval may be required; council’s trade waste officer will contact you to discuss. Approvals to be obtained before consent will be granted.” This will hold-up your building consent. The Trade Waste Officer will notify the building team confirming whether or not trade waste approval is required. If trade waste approval is not required, it can be ticked off. If trade waste approval is required, the building consent will be granted once the Trade Waste Officer has approved the drainage plan. This is to ensure applicants don’t get their building consent approved to only have to apply for an Amendment if changes are required to the drainage plan.

Where can I get more information about trade waste?

If you have further questions about trade waste, please check out our website or contact the Trade Waste Officer on 0800 357 358 or email

Tradewaste poster

Changes to be aware of

Horotiu acoustic overlay area

In 2016, Plan Change 17 to the Waikato District Plan rezoned around 40ha of land in Horotiu to allow for more residential and rural residential development. Because of the close proximity to the industrial area, railway and major roads, the plan change introduced the "Horotiu Acoustic Amenity Overlay”. The overlay sets maximum internal noise levels for sensitive activities in the rezoned areas. To ensure this is implemented correctly and consistently, we have pulled together a practice note with the help of a qualified acoustic specialist. You can find the Practice Note here..

Minor changes to practice notes for the Waikato section

Following feedback from customers we’ve made small changes to two of our practice notes:

  • Practice Note DPDs and Sleep-Outs - Waikato Section: change title to include reference to second dwellings, a number of changes throughout to ensure consistency with district plan policy. No real change in the intent of the practice note. Click here to find the latest version.
  • Practice note Earthworks relating to building consent works (Waikato section): Change reference from “gross floor area” to “building foot print” – under the previous version, multi-story buildings would get a larger earthworks allowance as it was linked to gross floor area which includes the floor on each level. Click here to find the latest version.

Changes to Fees, Charges, and Development Contributions

We now have a new set of fees and charges for the 2017/2018 Financial Year which started 1 July. All council services will be subject to these fees as of 1 July 2017. 

Please note that there are also new fees for Swimming Pools monitoring. The changes are as a result of new legislation; Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016. Council has set the fees at $80 for the first visit and $155 for subsequent visits (Page 24 Fees and Charges). We will also be sending out a letter to the pool owners explaining this and the new rules in the near future.

Each year the council undertakes a process to set rates and other charges (known as the Annual Plan process). This year we’ve introduced a new part fee and charge for those ratepayers that connect to specific council services after 1 July. These changes will mean that anyone that builds a new dwelling after 1 July will pay for the services their property receives (e.g. waste water, storm water, rubbish) through fees and charges, rather than rates, until rates are struck on their property in the following financial year. You will receive an invoice from Council following granting of your Code Compliance Certificate (CCC). Rates are only struck once a year. 

The Development Contribution levies have also gone up in accordance with the Producers Price Index for consent applications lodged after 30 June 2017. Find more information about here.


Engineering Plan Approval for granted Land Use Consents

When you are submitting engineering plans for approval associated with a granted Land Use Consent, please send these to the
monitoring officer listed on your Monitoring Welcome Letter or alternatively email to This will ensure the documents are saved in the right place in our system and get allocated to an engineer in a timely manner. Please don’t email
these plans to – that’s just for subdivision documents.


Helpful tips and reminders

Each quarter we'll include some tips that we hope will be helpful for you when you are compiling an application or when interacting with us.

Vehicle entranceway

We’ve seen a great improvement in the number of vehicle entrance applications being received with building consents and some even being received before the design phase. It will help save redesign if your entranceway onto a council road is approved as soon as you know the likely position and before you get too far into drawing up the plans - just in case the entranceway application is declined and the plans have to change.

We’ve been getting some applications for vehicle entranceways onto Right of Ways (ROWs). We only need an application for vehicle entranceways onto public roads. If the entrance will be onto a ROW it’s important that you check the property does in fact have a legal right to use the ROW – we’ve seen a couple of instances where there hasn’t been a right to use the ROW  (e.g. sites on a corner of a ROW and a road, or with two available ROWs) – again adding re-work costs. We’ve updated the application form to highlight this and we’re also in the process of updating the form so it can be filled out electronically. Remember you can find the form here on our website.

RMA Amendments

Although the consenting changes coming about as a result of the RMA amendments don’t hit us until October, we’re doing some work to prepare our system and ensure we have processes in place to allow an easy transition. We’re also looking to meet with Waipa and HCC to ensure we have consistent interpretations of some of the changes. Remember the key resource consent changes are: Fast Track (10 day) consents for non-notified district land use consents, changes to the notification process, and resource consent exemptions for boundary activities and minor/temporary activities


MBIE’s Helpful building and renovating guide for homeowners

A new guide has been created by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to help homeowners understand their rights and responsibilities when building or renovating. It helps people know the rules so that they build it right from the start.

This booklet may be useful for people you ware working with that need help or guidance with the building process.

Click here to view the booklet or visit for more information.


Project Information Memorandum

Undertaking a development? Have you ever thought about applying for a Project Information Memorandum (PIM)?

Often we forget the value that applying for a PIM can make or underestimate how this can help streamline the building consent or land use consent process.

PIMS include information on special features, including erosion, subsidence, slippage, wind zones, hazardous contaminants, and water supply, stormwater or waste water utility services relevant to the project. It also identifies any additional approvals required such as Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga (heritage buildings/sites), New Zealand Fire Service.

A PIM can help determine what consents may be required and avoid frustration at increased time and cost delays. For example, if a land use consent for a dwelling that encroaches the side yard is applied for, the land use consent will only assess the side yard encroachment and things such as stormwater, waste water and water will be assessed at the time of building consent. If it is identified through the building consent that further resource consents are required to address a non-compliance with, for example, wastewater, then the building consent will be placed on hold pending a further resource consent to cover off the further identified non-compliance.

Something as simple as a PIM can remove this issue. To apply for or read more about a PIM check out our website here.

Common Further Information Requests (FIRs) for Building Consents

Below is a table listing the common FIRs that are issued on building consent applications. Ensuring you provide this information, where relevant to your build, will help receive consent quicker and easier.

FIR table July 2017

We’d love to get your feedback

We’re interested in what you think about this newsletter so we can improve it over time. Click here to provide feedback.