You must apply to build or do earthworks near our water and wastewater network. Please read the below information for more details.

Our network can include but is not limited to pipes, drains, manholes, access chambers, valves, connection boxes, meters, reservoirs, pump stations, odour treatment units, sumps and rain gardens and wellheads.

Apply to divert or build within one metre of our network

Approval under the bylaw does not constitute approval under the Resource Management Act 1991 or the Building Act 2004. Approvals under these acts equally do not provide approval under the bylaw. Separate consents or approvals may be required.

For more information around water body setbacks please refer to the Christchurch District Plan - Chapter 6.6 - Water Body Setbacks

We have a bylaw prohibiting building or performing earthworks within one metre of our network unless authorised by the Council.

This one-metre separation is measured horizontally from the nearest part of our network to your building/earthworks and also prohibits aerial encroachments such as gutters, building eaves and cantilevered structures.

Some houses, garages, and other buildings have been built within one metre of our network in the past. In this situation, you may not be able to rebuild your house, garage or other building in exactly the same place or to the same design.

You will need to design any new structure so it complies with any easement and, as a minimum, is located so every part of the structure (including overhang) is at least one metre clear of our network. You should check the title of the property for any relevant easements.

For more detailed information please refer to the 'Check where the network is located ' section below.

Keeping Council assets working for you is an important part of our job.

We need to protect our network so that we can inspect, repair, maintain and replace infrastructure quickly and efficiently, without causing damage to private property.

It also protects our network from excessive loads which could cause damage.

The pre-design stage is the best time for you to check possible restrictions or encumbrances and alter your plans without spending a lot of time, effort and money.

It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure that any structure is not within one metre of the network and fully compliant with any easements.

In Christchurch City, if you locate the network at the site by visual means, including digging if necessary, you may build up to one metre from it under the bylaw. This work may also need a resource consent if it’s within a water body setback. If you are not able to locate the network visually you may not build closer than three metres from the network position shown on the Council plans.

In Banks Peninsula, the network at the site must be located by visual means, including digging if necessary.

View drainage plans

If during processing your building consent application it is identified that you are proposing to build within one metre of our network you will be notified to either redesign the building work or obtain authorisation under the bylaw.

If you believe you are building too close to the network you can:

  • Have the distance physically verified by a qualified person such as a licenced surveyor or Council authorised drainlayer(external link), or
  • Re-design or relocate the structure so that there is a minimum of three-metre separation from the edge of the network, or
  • Refer to the 'What to do if my plans don’t comply' section below.

If your planned building or structure is too close to the network you can:

  • Select an alternative location on the site or redesign the building footprint.
  • In some cases diverting our network around your building site may be possible.
    • Diversion is dependent on the alignments and grades of the existing network and is not always possible.
    • All costs (legal, survey and construction) involved with the diversion will be the applicant’s responsibility.
  • As a last resort, you can apply for authorisation to build within one metre of our network.

Apply to divert or build within one metre of our network(external link).

For example:

  • You apply to replace an old garage which was originally built within one metre of a Council drain.
  • The bylaw requirement applies regardless of existing use rights.
  • You would need to rebuild the new garage in a different location where it is outside of any easement and at least one metre clear of the drain.

Example of building too close to network

We will only give the approval to build/do work within one metre of our network in exceptional circumstances, and where no suitable alternative exists.

We will decide if there are exceptional circumstances and no suitable alternative.

We will consider:

  1. Whether compliance with the bylaw/the location of the infrastructure limits the property to such an extent that makes it unusable. Examples where this may be the case include:
    • A complete rebuild is required for a parcel of land which previously contained a property and an unattached single car garage.  If it isn’t possible to construct the new house and garage comprising the same floor area as the original an alternative solution can be considered.
    • Repair or replacement of an existing retaining wall which is already spanning a Council pipeline.
    • Vehicular site access is not possible or is unsafe without engineered land stabilisation such as the construction of a retaining wall on a hillside property. 
  2. Our ability to maintain, repair or replace our network will only be compromised to a minor extent by the redevelopment of the site.
  3. Whether any conditions can be imposed (that are not already offered within an application) that will support the application being granted.

In cases where an application is granted, all costs must be met by the applicant. These costs can be significant and may include:

  • Changes to an easement document or new easement and associated survey, legal costs.
  • Design and construction work to move or change the assets in any way.
  • Engineering reviews.
  • Council construction supervision.