Good lighting is an important part of a development proposal to provide a safe and pleasant way to move from the street to your front door during the hours of darkness.

A well-designed site layout is the most important part of the design process for new development. Well-designed site layouts create the spaces necessary for safe, welcoming and good amenity residential environments.

Resource consent applications for multi-unit residential developments need to address Residential Design Principles(external link) which include provision for good visibility with effective lighting, and other CPTED principles.

Lighting networks need to be considered early on in the design process to allow for the provision of lighting to shared or common areas including pedestrian access ways, car parks, bike and bin storage, and communal open spaces. Early consideration should be given to ensuring sufficient space in landscape garden beds for bollard lighting and/or pole lighting, such as in medium-large car parking areas.

Cabled lighting is the most effective system for providing consistent low-level amenity lighting throughout the whole year, reduces glare and sharp contrasts in lux levels which can stun the eye and minimises ongoing maintenance costs.

The Council recommends that for multi-unit or large-scale residential development proposals, a qualified lighting designer is engaged early to work with developers, designers and landscape architects to prepare a lighting plan. Some lighting manufacturers have in-house lighting designers who can prepare a lighting plan based on the use of their products.

Lighting plans are expected to meet New Zealand Standards NZS1158.3.1 which governs lighting not only for public streets but also for multi-unit residential developments.  


Lighting plans can be submitted as part of a resource consent application or may be required as a condition of consent.

Standard lighting plan conditions are:

  1. Prior to the lodgement of building consent, the consent holder shall provide an exterior lighting plan by a qualified lighting designer to the Head of Planning and Consents (or their nominee) for acceptance via This plan shall detail how the lighting will meet sub-categories PR5 (car parks, open space, bike and bin areas) and PP5 (shared pedestrian access ways) of NZS1158.3.1, and be controlled and supplied throughout the lifetime of the development.
  2. The accepted lighting plan shall be maintained and replaced as necessary to ensure it meets condition 1 throughout the lifetime of the development.

The following information should be included in the lighting plans provided to Council:

  1. A plan illustrating illuminance levels at each grid point over the site area (also referred to as a photometric lighting plan).
  2. A table of calculations demonstrating compliance with the relevant sub-category of NZS1158.3.1 which may include both horizontal and vertical illuminance. Note: For any solar systems proposed, these need to be calculated for mid-winter given that NZS1158.3.1 requires consistent lighting throughout the year/calculations should demonstrate compliance with the standard.
  3. A plan outlying the light locations, lighting/luminaire types, pole mounting heights, any outreach arm types, and aiming or tilt angles of lights.
  4. An ongoing maintenance strategy for any solar lighting, including replacement by a residential association or similar body.
  5. Coordination between the lighting plan and the landscape plan, with particular attention paid to the vertical elements that can obstruct light, the placement of poles and fittings near windows and access paths, and maintenance opportunities for tree planting. Multifunctional use of light poles for e-charging vehicles is also encouraged.

Guidance notes

  1. Lighting surface car parking areas with bollards at the ends of parking spaces should be avoided as parked cars can obscure luminance across the aisle or activity area.
  2. Sufficient garden bed widths of a minimum of 600mm are required to enable trenching of cabled lighting systems, lighting fixtures and their footings and sufficient room for landscaping.
  3. Circuited systems rather than solar lighting systems are preferable given the reduced durability of solar batteries, frequent maintenance required, and potential reduced efficacy during multiple darker days in mid-winter which can result in safety/CPTED issues.
  4. Where solar lighting is proposed the placement of panels and/or poles will need to comply with the relevant built form standards for the zone.
  5. The use of floodlights, where these create high lux levels and glare, should be avoided as this can create unnecessary light spill as well as safety issues from eye adjustments to bright and dark spaces.
  6. Please also reference the Building Code for specific internal lighting levels in enclosed spaces such as bins and bike enclosures.
  7. Lighting controls should be automatic (dusk till dawn timer) and lighting of communal areas should not be able to be switched off by unit occupiers.
  8. Lighting controls may be used so that light levels are reduced when there is lower utilisation of the area. For further guidance, please reference Adaptive lighting in NZS1158.3.1.
  9. Please refer to NZS1158.3.1 Figure 2.1 and Table 2.1 for background subcategory selection criteria for cluster housing.
  10. Ongoing maintenance and/or replacement of lighting should be the responsibility of:
    • the owner of the unit to which the lighting is ducted to;
    • where lighting to communal areas is proposed that is not attached to individual units then a body corporate, residents association or similar body shall be established, who shall be responsible for maintaining this lighting.