Code of Land Development and Subdivision Engineering

Cover - Code of Land Development and Subdivision Engineering.At its meeting on 24 February 2010, Porirua City Council agreed to adopt a new Code of Land Development and Subdivision Engineering.

This is the document that sets engineering parameters and standards for subdivisions and other engineering developments within Porirua City.

It relates to the following matters: requirements and engineering standards for all types of land modification and development, subdivision; earthworks, roading, the provision of utility services including, water supply, sanitary sewerage, stormwater, electric power, telecommunication services, and gas.

The new code will apply throughout the city to all urban and rural areas, and apply to all works whether they be for Council contracts, for land development or utility service operators wishing to provide new services within Porirua.

The Code integrates sustainable principles of land development intended to enhance water quality, to minimise land disturbance, to preserve native vegetation and to minimise impervious surfaces.  In so doing, the code will help to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources within Porirua as required under Section 5 of the Resource Management Act 1991.

This new Code replaces the PCC Code of Urban Subdivision, which was adopted in 1983.  That Code was tied to NZS 4404:1981, which was superseded in 2004 by NZS 4404:2004.

Over the years since the 1983 Code, there have been numerous changes to the legislative and regulatory environment that applies to land development. The most significant is the introduction of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). 

The new Code will enable the Council to require that new infrastructure for the City be designed and constructed in accordance with current national engineering standards.  This will result in both a better quality of infrastructure development, and is likely to lower the long-term infrastructure maintenance costs for the City.  In so doing, the new Code will better align the City's practices, procedures and standards with practices used by other territorial authorities within the Wellington region. 

The new Code expects developers to engage engineers to supervise and certify their work, thus reducing the onus on Council staff to carry out so much inspection

Structure of the Code, Acceptable Solutions and Relationship with NZS 4404:2004

The new Code document is structured into three tiers:

(a) overarching performance goals;

(b) performance criteria; and

(c) acceptable solutions, comprising:

(i) NZS4404:2004 – the New Zealand Standard on Land Development and Subdivision Engineering - the national standard which provides a means of satisfying general engineering requirements throughout New Zealand; and

(ii) Special Provisions specific to Porirua City that amend and add to NZS4404:2004.

NZS 4404:2004 is the 'default' acceptable solution.  For any given subject, where Council is satisfied that the provision in NZS 4404:2004 is perfectly adequate, no further requirement is made.  (Please note that NZS 4404:2004 is not reproduced in this Code).

However, where Council feels that a departure from NZS 4404:2004 is required to address an issue specific to Porirua City, a new provision is set out in the "Special Provisions" section, together with a cross reference to the corresponding provision in NZS 4404:2004.  Thus, the third section of this Code, 'Special Provisions', comprises a list of variations from NZS 4404:2004 specific to Porirua City. 

Innovative, creative, alternative solutions

We would like to emphasise that the 'acceptable solutions' are not absolutes, but rather a means of compliance.  Although most developers are prepared to use the standard "acceptable solutions" as the means of meeting the performance criteria, there are some who desire more flexibility.  Or there may be instances where an objective can be best achieved by a means not anticipated by this Code.  To meet these demands, this Code enables developers to propose innovative and creative alternative solutions; they just need to be able to demonstrate that their solution (a) meets the Level 2 Performance Criteria; and (b) is equivalent to the Level 3 Acceptable Solutions (that is, it would provide the same level of service for both customers and Council). 

Changes to the Code compared with the previous Draft

In 2009, there was a round of consultation on the draft Code, in accordance with the special consultation procedure, as set out in the Local Government Act.  The Code has now been revised to incorporate a number of amendments proposed in submissions.  The format of the document has been changed and now closely follows the format of NZS4404:2004.  The Performance Goals and Performance Criteria for each section are listed under that section, followed by the Acceptable Solutions for that section.  This means that the numbering of the sections is now aligned with the numbering of the relevant sections in NZS4404:2004.  The section headings have been aligned more closely with those in NZS4404:2004 for better consistency.  The result is a better correlation between the Code and the Standard that should ensure that the Code is easier to use.  As requested in submissions, the definitions of the terms 'engineer' and 'engineer with geotechnical expertise' have been clarified and made consistent throughout the code.  The language used in PCC's Draft Code has been simplified, and that the structure of the Code has been reorganised to make the Code easier to understand.

The Review of NZS 4404:2004

In April 2009, Standards New Zealand commenced a review of NZS 4404:2004.  We understand that the current plan is for the review of NZS4404 to be completed mid 2010. 

Once Standards New Zealand have completed their review of NZS4404, officers will report back to Council with advice on whether there is any need to update Porirua's newly adopted Code.  If the new NZS4404:2010 Standard identifies important changes, Council can decide to refine its new Code to make any necessary consequential changes. 

Date of Implementation

The new Code is effective from 25 February 2010. 

More information on the Code