If you are planning to carry out excavation or filling on your property you may need a resource consent.
Under the Christchurch District Plan, earthworks that are not associated with a subdivision or building consent must comply with certain requirements or resource consent will be needed.
This includes works such as filling of old swimming pools, and any excavations or filling needed to create driveways, retaining walls, outdoor living areas, etc.
To be permitted, earthworks must meet all of the following requirements:
|Residential||All residential zones||20m³/site||0.6m|
|Commercial / Industrial||Commercial Local, and Commercial Banks Peninsula Zones||
|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||0.6m|
|Central City Business Zone||200m³/ha||0.6m|
|Rural and Papakainga/Kainga Nohoanga||All zones||100m³/ha||0.6m|
This is only a summary of the main earthworks rules in Chapter 8.9 of the Christchurch District Plan(external link).
Depending on the property location there may also be relevant earthworks rules in other chapters, including:
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.
The maximum volumes listed in the table are for the total amount of filling and excavation within any 12 month period. Volumes stated in m³/ha are applied as a ratio based on the area of the site.
Effective erosion and sediment control is required to be implemented prior to beginning any earthworks.
These controls must ensure that surface water runoff and tracking of sediment from site work is prevented and managed appropriately to avoid the likelihood of damage, nuisance and contamination to roads, drains, waterways and other property.
Rule 8.9.3.a.iv exempts earthworks within the footprint of buildings if they have an approved building consent.
To meet this exemption, the Council will accept an undertaking from applicants that they will comply with the exemption at the time they carry out the earthworks. In other words, no earthworks will occur within the building footprint until the building consent has been approved. The building footprint is measured as everything within 1.8m of the walls of the building.
The written statement will be treated as evidence of compliance with the earthworks rules and needs to be included in the application for resource consent, building consent, or Project Information Memorandum (PIM).
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 are 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 earthworks are associated with a building, they must comply with the Building Act 2004. Where the work requires approval under the Building Act, an application for building consent or exemption from building consent must be made and approved before work can begin on the site.
See Building Consents for more information on this process.
The Building Act requires anyone considering filling or excavating to protect land and other property from erosion, falling debris, slippage subsidence, inundation, alluvion and avulsion.
The Building Code requires any surface water collected or concentrated by buildings or site work to be disposed of in a way that avoids the likelihood of damage or nuisance to other property.