The District Plan and regional rules allow most land repair work as a permitted activity. These steps outline the resource management and building consent requirements.

Property owners are encouraged to undertake land repair of earthquake damaged land.  It is important for the recovery of our city that we all contribute to the repair and rebuild of our individual properties. EQC is settling land damage claims, so property owners need to undertake and manage their own property’s land repairs. In some cases this is done as part of the repair or rebuild of the dwelling. 

The District Plan and regional rules allow most land repair work as a permitted activity, so a resource consent will not be needed for many properties.

If a resource consent is required, the Christchurch City Council (the Council) and Environment Canterbury (ECan) have worked together to develop a streamlined land repair resource consent process to help property owners. In some cases you may also need a building consent from the Christchurch City Council.

The role of the Council and ECan in the land repair process is to assist you with the resource consent and building consent processes, so please let us know if you have any questions.  For further information contact the Council on (03) 941 8999.

Please note:  We recommend that you contact your insurer and/or mortgage lender and seek advice from a land repair specialist prior to contacting us about the consenting requirements. 

Step 1: Identifying what repair works are needed

Confirm the extent and type of land repair works you will be carrying out on your property.

The EQC land settlement pack contains information about the types of land damage your property has and the potential repair methods. For more information refer to the guide in the pack or visit the EQC website(external link).

If you have received your EQC Land Settlement Pack the first step is for you to confirm the extent and type of land repair works you will be carrying out on your property. This includes details such as the location and depth of any fill or excavation, retaining walls, and any other methods that will be used to repair the land.

Whether you can undertake the work yourself or whether you will need to engage a specialist contractor depends on the type of land damage and the repair method required. 

If you are unsure what works will be needed to repair your property we recommend that you get in touch with a specialised contractor or consultant who is experienced in repairing the type of damage EQC have identified on your property.

Contractors and consultants can advise you on the method of land repair and carry out the work on your behalf. Some will also be able to obtain resource consent or building consent on your behalf, if consent is needed. We strongly recommend engaging a specialised contractor or consultant if your land is contaminated or potentially contaminated. There are additional legislative requirements for contaminated land which make the resource consent and land repair processes more complex.

The Yellow Pages contains listings for various types of specialist contractors and consultants, including Environmental Consultants, Contractors, and Earthmovers.

If you are managing the land repairs yourself you will need to check if resource consent or building consent is needed, before works commence. You may be able to undertake your property’s land repair work without needing to obtain any consents.

Please note: If you have any questions about your EQC land settlement payment, the land damage types or potential repair methods you will need to contact EQC. Call 0800 DAMAGE (0800 32 62 43) or visit the EQC website. (external link)

Step 2: Is a building consent needed?

 You may, in some cases, require a building consent from the Christchurch City Council when undertaking your property’s land repair works.

A building consent is different to a resource consent as it ensures that building work is structurally sound and that drains are properly installed. 

As a general guide, a building consent is likely to be required for the following types of work:

  • Retaining walls greater than 1.5m in height
  • Retaining walls of any height that support a surcharge (extra load)
  • Installation of drainage to address problems relating to local ponding or new groundwater springs (e.g. sump with outlet pipe discharging to the public stormwater system)
  • Re-laying of private drains in a different location, or changing the design of the drainage system, to address local settlement of land.

For more information, or to check whether there are any exemptions that may apply to your proposed building or drainage work, contact the Council on (03) 941 8999.

Please note:  In some cases when a building consent is obtained the land repair works are exempt from needing a resource consent, so it is best to check the building consent requirements first.

Step 3: Is a resource consent needed?

 Many property owners will be able to repair land on their property without a resource consent.

The District Plan and regional rules have been amended to make most land repair work a permitted activity.  Many property owners will therefore be able to undertake the work without a resource consent.

To be a permitted activity, land repair work must comply with the rules in Environment Canterbury’s regional plans, Christchurch City Council’s District Plan and the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in the Soil to Protect Human Health (NES).

Please note:  In some cases, when a building consent is obtained the land repair works are exempt from needing a resource consent, so it is best to check the building consent requirements first.

Land Repair Enquiry Form

Once you have identified what land repair works are needed, you can fill in a Land Repair Enquiry Form [PDF, 169 KB] to find out whether your land repair work is a permitted activity.

You will need to attach copies of documents from your EQC Land Settlement Pack outlining your land damage, and provide details of your proposed repair works (e.g. depth of any filling and excavation, volume of earthworks) so we can check whether the works will comply with all of the relevant rules.

 A Council planner will reply within 10 working days to confirm whether resource consent is needed. They will tell you whether you need resource consent from Environment Canterbury, so there is no need for you to contact Environment Canterbury separately.

Please note: Before commencing land repair works it is the responsibility of the landowner to ensure that their works comply with all of the relevant rules, or that a resource consent is obtained. 


Information to be provided with the Land Repair Enquiry Form

The EQC land settlement pack(external link) is helpful as it provides a schedule and plan of the land damage, but if you have arranged your own professional assessment of land damage and repair method(s) you are welcome to attach this information to your Enquiry Form instead of, or in addition to, the assessment information provided by EQC.

The key information needed is the type of land damage, the proposed repair method(s), the volume and depth of any fill and/or excavation, and the location of the repair work within your property. If you intend to carry out land repairs or remediation prior to settlement of your land claim(s), you should be aware that any land repair payment received from EQC will be based on EQC's assessment of the cost of repairs, which may differ from your assessment.


Permitted land repair works

A permitted activity means that you don’t need resource consent to carry out the land repair works required to fix your land.

Some repair works are permitted subject to compliance with specific requirements. For example, there are certain types of work that must be carried out by an engineer. When the Council confirms that your works are a permitted activity we will also let you know if there are any particular requirements you need to comply with. 

More information about specific land repair topics, are available as Land Repair guides.

If the land repair works are permitted there are no fees to pay to the Council or Environment Canterbury. If you need to engage a specialist, e.g. a contractor to remove soil, then the property owner must engage the contractor and pay for their services directly.

Step 4: Applying for resource consent

Resource consent is needed when land repair works do not comply with all of the rules in Environment Canterbury’s regional plans, Christchurch City Council’s City and District Plans and the National Environmental Standard.

The city and regional planning rules have been amended so that a lot of land repair works are now a permitted activity. However the more complex repair works can impact on neighbouring properties or the environment and require resource consent so that these impacts can be properly assessed and, if necessary, measures put in place to reduce the environmental impacts.

Land repair works may need resource consent from the Christchurch City Council or Environment Canterbury, or both. The two councils are working together to streamline the resource consent process to make it easier for property owners.   

Submitting your application

After you have confirmed the details of your repair works, you (or your contractor) will need to fill out the Land Repair Resource Consent Application Form [PDF, 177 KB] also available in Word [DOC, 2.5 MB]. You can apply for resource consent from both Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury on the same form.

To avoid delays in processing your application it is important that you complete all sections of the form, and provide all of the necessary information. A checklist of information requirements is included at the back of the application form. If you have any questions about the information you need to provide for your particular application please contact the Council on (03) 941 8999.  

Details of how to submit your application are included on the front page of the application form. All applications are submitted via the Christchurch City Council, whether you need consent from the Council or Environment Canterbury, or from both. 

A deposit must be paid when you submit your application (refer to Resource Management Fee Schedule). For applications submitted electronically, an invoice will be emailed to you with payment details.  The deposit is the same regardless of which council(s) you need consent from.

Please note:  Contractors, Project Management Offices (PMOs), and others who need to apply for multiple, similar resource consents for land repair may find it useful to apply for a Global resource consents for repair and rebuilding work [PDF, 1.5 MB].

Processing of your application

The processing of your resource consent application will involve a review of the type of land repair works you will be carrying out, the possible effects of these works on the surrounding environment and people, and the methods you or your contractor will use to minimise or avoid these effects. 

Processing of consents required from Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury will be carried out together, and one decision will be issued that includes consents from both councils (if required). 

Consent is usually granted subject to conditions which you or your contractor will need to comply with when carrying out the repair works. The conditions ensure that adverse environmental effects are managed and minimised.  

It takes up to four weeks (20 working days) to complete the resource consent process if all of the required information is submitted initially. We aim to process applications as quickly as possible, and will keep in contact with you or your contractor/consultant to let you know how things are going.

If any further information is needed a Council planner will be in contact soon after your application has been submitted.


Notification and neighbours’ approval

Applications for repair of flat residential land within the Christchurch City area do not have to be notified and do not require approval from neighbours. 

In most cases, applications for repair of land on the Port Hills or Banks Peninsula will not need to be notified either. However if the repair works will adversely affect neighbours (e.g. a large retaining wall on the boundary), their written approval may be needed. This is usually only required for works with permanent or significant effects. Public notification is only required in these areas if the repair works are likely to have more than minor effects on the environment.


Resource consent costs 

If the cost of processing exceeds the initial deposit, additional costs will be invoiced when processing has been completed. 

Processing fees are based on the time taken to process the application, so the final cost will depend on the complexity of the application and whether consent is needed from one or both councils. Complex applications involve more staff time and often require input from technical experts such as Council Engineers, Environmental Health Officers or Arborists. If the final cost is less than the deposit paid, a refund will be given.

We recommend that you check with EQC before lodging your application to find out whether the council fees can be reimbursed as part of your land claim settlement.

If you have any questions about the information you need to provide, or about the resource consent process, contact the Christchurch City Council’s Call Centre or e-mail the Council’s Land Repair Team:

Christchurch City Council Call Centre on 03 941-8999 or email landrepairenquiries@ccc.govt.nz.

Repair of land that may be contaminated

If your land repair work involves soil disturbance or your land is affected by hazardous substances there are important health considerations before you begin work.

National Environmental Standard 

The National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in the Soil to Protect Human Health (NES) regulates land use and soil disturbance where land is or has been previously been used for a hazardous activity or industry.  Locations where these activities have taken place are known as Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL) sites. 

The purpose of the NES is to ensure that soil affected by contaminants is identified and assessed when soil disturbance and/or land development activities take place, to protect human health.

If your land repair work involves soil disturbance (e.g. excavation or filling) or removal, and the land has previously been used for a hazardous activity or industry, then you need to know about the NES as it contains rules that will be relevant to your land repair works.

To find out more information about the NES(external link) visit(external link) the Ministry for the Environment’s website.


Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL)

The Ministry for the Environment has developed the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL). This is a compilation of activities and industries that are considered likely to cause land contamination resulting from hazardous substance use, storage or disposal.

For more information about HAIL land visit the Ministry for the Environment website.(external link)


Listed Land Use Register (LLUR)

The Listed Land Use Register(external link) is a land use database managed by Environment Canterbury.

The electronic database manages information about sites that are known to have a past or present land use as detailed on the Ministry for the Environment's HAIL list.  

Properties listed on the LLUR include land which has previously been used for, or is currently associated with the use, storage or disposal of hazardous substances. 

Environment Canterbury is in the process of identifying HAIL land across the region and including this information on the LLUR.  It is possible that a property may be HAIL land, but not currently listed on the LLUR due to key information not being available at the time of the assessment.  Please note also that not all HAIL land is contaminated.  If your property contains HAIL land, it has the ‘potential’ to be contaminated, but this can only be confirmed through further investigations including site testing.

If you would like to find out more about your property’s HAIL status, see details below. 

The LLUR is available at ECAN's website(external link)

For more information about the LLUR visit ECAN's website(external link) or contact Environment Canterbury on 03 353 9007 or 0800 324 636.


Land repair on HAIL land

If your property is HAIL land (either because it is included on the LLUR database or because the Council has confirmed the HAIL status following a review of your property’s records), then you will need to consider the requirements of the NES when undertaking your land repair works. You will need to know whether the land repair works might cause contaminants to be uncovered or disturbed.

It’s important that you consider the safety of workers, your family, neighbours and the environment when undertaking land repair work on HAIL land. 

Depending on how the soil disturbance or excavation activity will take place (the amount of soil that will need to be disturbed or removed) you may need the assistance of a qualified practitioner to help you determine whether your activity is permitted under the NES.


Volume of soil disturbance and removal requiring resource consent under the NES

The level of soil disturbance that will require a resource consent is in excess of 25m3 per 500m2 of land being disturbed. As a rough guide, 25mis an amount just under 3m x 3m x 3m.

The level of soil removal that will trigger a resource consent application is in excess of 5m3 per 500m2 of land being disturbed. As a guide, 5m3 is an amount just over 1.7m x 1.7m x 1.7m. A typical household trailer holds about 0.6 – 1.0m³ of soil and a small truck usually hold about 5m³.

If your property contains HAIL land and you wish to undertake soil disturbance and/or removal of soil activities in volumes greater than those noted above then a resource consent will be needed. 

For more information about HAIL land and how it affects your land repair works please contact the Christchurch City Council’s Duty Planner on (03) 941 8999 for further information prior to commencing work.

Land drainage issues

If you have springs or other land drainage issues on your property you may need consent before installing a drainage system that connects to Council stormwater outfalls or waterways.

It has been common for springs and other drainage issues to appear on properties following the earthquakes. This is a matter for the individual property owner to resolve and we recommend that you check with your insurer in the first instance. 

If the land damage has been identified by EQC during their assessment of your land claim you may have received payment for all or part of the repair.  

Generally, wet (ponding) areas will need to have a drainage system installed which discharges to a Council-approved connection to a stormwater outfall or waterway.  Owners should contact an engineer or drainage specialist to investigate the cause of the problem and advise on the best repair solution for the property. If there are a number of properties affected within a neighbourhood it may be more economical to install a combined system.

Installation of drainage will require a building consent from the Christchurch City Council. Your engineer or contractor should be able to arrange this for you.

The work will also need to comply with Environment Canterbury’s Regional Plans. Under these Plans, discharging land drainage water into the Council stormwater network or a waterway can generally be carried out as a permitted activity, as long as the discharge water is not contaminated and doesn’t come from a site where land contamination has occurred. If your land drainage water is likely to be contaminated you will need a resource consent from Environment Canterbury, contact Environment Canterbury(external link) for more information.

For more information on earthquake-related land drainage issues on residential properties see our Guide to land repair involving land drainage issues [PDF, 388 KB].