If you are planning to carry out major excavations, filling, or earthworks on your property, you are likely to need a resource consent.
Under the Christchurch District Plan any earthworks, including excavation and filling, which are not associated with a subdivision or building consent and exceed the following limits in any 12 month time period, will require a resource consent.
This includes driveways, retaining wall excavations and filling of old swimming pools.
To be permitted, in addition to meeting the volume standards in the list below:
Note: Earthworks to repair land used for residential purposes that was damaged by earthworks are covered by a different set of rules, as are earthworks in the vicinity of the National Grid and electricity distribution lines.
|Zone / Overlay||Volume|
|Residential||a. All residential zones.||20m³/site|
|Commercial / Industrial||a. Commercial Local, and Commercial Banks Peninsula Zones||
|b. Commercial Core, Commercial Office, Commercial Mixed use, Central City Mixed Use, Mixed Use (South Frame), Commercial Retail Park, Industrial General, Industrial Heavy and Industrial Park Zones||1000m³/ha|
|c. Central City Business Zone||200m³/ha|
|Rural and Papakainga/Kainga Nohoanga||a. All rural zones (excluding excavation and filling associated with quarrying activities||100m³/ha|
This is not a full list - refer to Christchurch District Plan Chapter 8.5A Earthworks for other zones and Chapter 5 for earthworks in identified hazard areas. Chapter 12 contains provisions relating to contaminated land. Chapter 6 manages earthworks within water body setbacks and within, and adjacent to Nga Wai.
The volume thresholds contained in the table provide for both the amount of filling and the amount of excavation.
Where a volume threshold in the table is stated in m³/ha, this shall be applied as a ratio.
Activities carried out on land that is contaminated, or potentially contaminated, must comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (NES), unless a resource consent is obtained.
Activities controlled by the NES include disturbance of soil (earthworks), soil sampling, removal or replacement of fuel storage system, subdivision, and changing the use of land (e.g. building a dwelling on vacant land, changing the use of a site from industrial to commercial).
Information about the NES is available on the Ministry for the Environment (external link) website. It explains how to find out if your land and the activity you are planning is covered by the NES. In addition, Environment Canterbury maintains a Listed Land Use Register of potentially contaminated sites. (external link)
If you need further assistance you can also contact one of the Council’s Environmental Health Officers on (03) 941 8999.
Where site works are associated with a building, they must comply with the Building Act 2004. The Building Act 2004 requires any person contemplating filling or excavating to protect land and other property from erosion, falling debris, slippage subsidence, inundation, alluvion and avulsion.
The building code requires that surface water collected or concentrated by buildings or site work shall be disposed of in a way that avoids the likelihood of damage or nuisance to other property.
Where work requires approval under the Building Act 2004, a building consent or exemption from building consent application must be made and approved before work can begin on the site. See Building Consents for more information on the process.