When building around Auckland, it’s not just what you want to build, you also have to take the Auckland Unitary plan into account as well. Here is Jenny our design consulate to talk about it…

The Unitary plan is basically a format that everybody has to adhere by. It used to be that setbacks on a section in the old days were three metres from the back, 1.2 metres on the sides, and five metres from the front. Now, let’s say the same site, a year and a half later, when the unitary plan come in is three metres from the front, one metre from the back, one metre from the side.

Saying that, you can only build on 35% of the title section. But in some areas, and they’re all slightly different, unfortunately, you have to look up the new covenants and the new plans in each area. In some places you can build up to 50% of the section’s size, the sections are only 350, 400 square metres, wherein others with 600 to 800 square metre sites, you’re only allowed to build on 35% of the cubic surface.

This might answer a few people’s questions about why there’s no affecting these rules, why the setbacks are in place and really it was when the unitary plan was developed they got environment people in, they got all the planners in and they came up with this set of rules that they felt would guide everybody into the proper guidelines to set up their subdivisions. It also comes down to crossings (driveways). You used to have 5.5 metres maximum crossing into your driveway, it’s 2.7 metres now. It’s quite difficult to do that, there’s no angle to come in on and they’re very, very short. So there’s all these kind of issues.

The other big one is the amount of glass that they need to have on the front of a house too. So what you’ll see when you drive round, you’ll be thinking why have they put so many big windows on the front of their house? And it’s actually quite Australian, they now have like a type of media room or living room or a big study or something at the front, so that there’s a living space set forward from the garage because they don’t want the garage door to be dominant; they don’t want to drive down a street just full of garage doors.