Frequently Asked Questions

Is a construction survey the same as a setout survey?

While the terms “setout survey” and “construction survey” are related and often used interchangeably, there can be some subtle differences in their scope and focus. In general, both types of surveys are part of the construction process and involve the precise measurement and marking of positions on a construction site. However, the specific activities they encompass may vary based on local practices and terminology. Here’s a general distinction:

  1. Setout Survey:
    • A setout survey typically refers to the initial surveying activities at the beginning of a construction project.
    • Its primary purpose is to translate the design plans into the physical environment by precisely marking the positions of key elements such as foundations, walls, columns, and boundaries.
    • The emphasis is on setting out the exact locations and alignments as per the design specifications.
  2. Construction Survey:
    • A construction survey is a broader term that can encompass various surveying activities throughout the construction process.
    • In addition to the initial setout survey, a construction survey may include ongoing measurements and monitoring during the construction phases.
    • Construction surveys may involve checking and verifying dimensions, alignments, elevations, and other aspects at different stages of the project.

In practice, the distinction between setout surveys and construction surveys may not always be clear-cut, and the terminology can vary. The important aspect is that both types of surveys contribute to the overall accuracy and quality of construction projects by ensuring that the built structures align with the intended design.

What is a setout survey?

A setout survey, also known as a site layout or setting out survey, is a type of survey that involves the precise measurement and marking of the positions of buildings, structures, boundaries, and other features on a construction site. The purpose of a setout survey is to translate the design plans from paper into the physical environment, ensuring that construction elements are positioned accurately according to the specified coordinates, dimensions, and alignment.

Key activities involved in a setout survey include:

  1. Marking Foundations: The surveyors mark the exact locations where the foundations of buildings or structures should be laid, based on the design plans.
  2. Positioning Structures: The surveyors establish the correct positions for walls, columns, and other structural elements, ensuring they align with the design specifications.
  3. Establishing Boundaries: Setout surveys also involve marking property boundaries and ensuring that the construction activities are within the designated area.
  4. Aligning Features: Surveyors may use the survey to ensure that various components of a project align with each other, promoting consistency and accuracy in construction.
  5. Verifying Levels and Heights: The survey may include measurements to verify that structures are at the correct elevations and heights as per the design.

Setout surveys are crucial in the construction process to avoid errors, discrepancies, and misalignments that could lead to costly rework or structural issues. These surveys are typically conducted by licensed surveyors.

What does a town planner or resource consent planner cost in Auckland?

The cost of a town planner to prepare a resource consent can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the project, the specific services required, and the zoning of the property.

Typically, the cost of preparing a report for the resource consent can vary from $2,500 + GST to $6,000 + GST depending on the above reasons.

What is the cost of converting a cross lease to fee simple title?

The cost to convert a cross-lease to a fee simple title can vary widely depending on several factors, including the complexity of the conversion, location, legal fees, surveying costs, and other associated expenses.

Fees for the Resource consent application, Land Transfer Survey, Council fees and LINZ fees for converting a cross lease to fee simple title would be approximately $15,000 + GST per flat/title but an accurate quote would be provided on a site-by-site basis. This excludes legal fees.

What does a survey cost?

The cost of a survey can vary depending on the type of survey, the size of your property and the age of the underlying and surrounding survey data related to your property. We can provide an estimate of survey costs at the start of a project.

When will I need a topographic survey?

Generally, land development and subdivisions projects require a topographical survey to position key features, such as buildings and drainage, and take levels over the site. The topographic survey information is then provided to other disciplines e.g. Architects, involved in the design of your development.

Do I need a land surveyor?

If you are subdividing or pegging your boundaries you require a Licensed or Registered Professional Surveyor to undertake a land transfer survey to legally define your new or existing parcel of land.

Do I need a Resource Consent?

With a few exceptions, most development of land and/or housing requires a resource consent. We can give you advice about whether your project needs a resource consent.

What is the resource consent process?

Once your development has been designed a resource consent application is prepared and lodged with Council. Council access the application and if they are unclear about any matter in that application they may ask for additional information under a section 92 request. Once Council is satisfied, they will approve the resource consent application.

Is a Resource Consent different from a building consent?

A building consent is required under the Building Act for structures determined to be buildings under the unitary plan and generally is sought after a resource consent application in a land development subdivision. A resource consent is required under the Resource Management Act and unitary plan to cover land use, subdivision and discharge aspects of the development.

How long will the subdivision take?

Depending on the size of the development and extent and duration of the construction, simple subdivisions can be completed within a year. More extensive developments will obviously take a longer period of time. We can give you an estimate of time and cost during the initial feasibility study of the development.

Can I subdivide my property?

We can provide free initial advice about if your property can be subdivided.

What is the cost to subdivide?

The cost of subdivisions can vary quite a bit depending on size and construction costs. We can give you advice on costs at the feasibility stage.

What is an as-built Survey?

An as-built survey shows an accurate 3D location of the infrastructure and structures constructed during the development. This information is required by Council as part of compliance certifications and has to be undertaken and signed by a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor.

Why do we need an As-built survey?

As-builts surveys are generally required by Council to record the location of new public assets and update the Geographical Information System (GIS) to reflect this. Our team at Thornley and Associates are experienced in as-built surveys and are here to help.

What is height in relation to boundary?

Council’s unitary plan sets standards limiting how high a building can be depending on its proximity to a boundary ie the closer a building is to the boundary the lower the allowed height of the roof line must be.

Why do you need a height in relation to boundary survey?

You may require a height in relation to boundary survey to ensure that you meet the standards within your areas zoning or to confirm that any infringements that have been granted under a land use consent have not been exceeded.

Why do I need a Land Development Engineer?

If you require engineering work as part of your development you will need an engineer for the design, monitoring or certification the construction of the engineering works on site. The engineering works may consist of earthworks, sediment and erosion controls, stormwater design, wastewater design, roading design, water reticulation and common accessways.

Who can provide engineering designs?

A registered professional surveyor (RPSurv) or a certified engineer (CPeng).

Why do I need a Redefinition boundary survey?

If you require boundary pegs placed to locate your boundary locations for fencing or boundary disputes you will need a redefinition survey. Only a licensed cadastral surveyor can legally place boundary pegs.

Why do I need a set out survey?

You will need a set out survey to accurately mark the any new building you are proposing to build on your site. Council will require this set out to be certified by a licensed cadastral surveyor.

Why do a unit title subdivision?

A unit title subdivision allows you to obtain titles for more intensive housing, and is typically used where there will be height limits on the buildings e.g. multi-storey apartment or commercial development or where there are shared amenities which require on-going maintenance. We can advise whether a unit title subdivision would be a better option for your development.

What is the difference between a cross lease and fee simple title?

A cross lease title is where multiple individuals own an undivided share of the underlying title and lease the area of their buildings for a period of 999 years from the other owners. As such the title is based on accurate depiction of the buildings on the land.

A fee simple or freehold title is based on the dimensions of the land and the owner has exclusive ownership of both the land and the buildings located that land.

What difficulties are there with cross lease properties?

With cross leases is that the underlying land is in joint ownership with all parties involved in the cross lease and each owner leases the portion of land their dwelling is located on from all the other owners.

This can create problems when you are purchasing or selling a cross lease as additional checks need to be undertaken to ensure the title is not defective i.e the cross lease plan not matching the buildings that are actually on the site. This can be problematic as it is frequently only picked up late in the process when the Solicitor’s look at the titles.

Depending on how the cross lease documents are written, additions to your property e.g. a new garage, carport or extension to your house may require neighbour’s permission to do so. They may not provide this.

If additions are undertaken without the neighbour’s consent, as their sign-off will be required, it may be near impossible to update your cross lease title.

Why should cross lease owners convert to fee-simple?

The benefits of upgrading a cross lease title to fee-simple title are:

  • fee-simple is considered a better form of title and is encouraged by Solicitors
  • you don’t need your neighbours permission to complete additions to your property if you have a freehold site, which
  • removes the risk of disputes if you complete alterations without consent on a cross lease title
  • you don’t have to update your title if you undertake additions to your property
  • increase in property value
  • there are less restrictions with a fee simple title and as such it is easier to sell