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How to Subdivide your Section in Christchurch

How to Subdivide your Section in Christchurch


If you have a large section of unused land, you may be considering subdivision. This is a great way to maximise your investment and use the land to its full potential. So, is it right for you? 

We delve into how to subdivide your section, breaking down the terminologies you may or may not know, and key steps to follow. We focus particularly on Christchurch, outlining all the key rules and requirements you’ll need to know. 

What is Subdividing?

Subdividing is the act of breaking up one piece of land into multiple smaller sections of separate, saleable certificates of title. Under the Resource Management Act (RMA), land subdivision may include a freehold subdivision, a leasehold subdivision, or a cross lease subdivision. 

During this process, you and the council can also impose limitations on landowners or occupiers for how the land can be used or developed.

Subdividing section


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The Christchurch Subdivision Process

Because of the number of steps involved, subdivisions can take some time to complete. A simple division can take three to four months, while a more complicated development can take significantly longer. 

While it is possible to undertake some of the processes yourself, there are a number of aspects requiring the services of consultants, such as a land surveyor, planning consultant, engineer, or lawyer. 

1. Research and preparation

Firstly, you will need to spend time researching the various regulations regarding your property, including those laid out in the Christchurch District Plan, Development Contributions Policy, and other documentation linked below

You may need a pre-application meeting, to determine what is required in your application and to identify any potential problems. 

2. Submit your subdivision application

To submit your request, you must complete an application form and provide any supporting information, including: 

  • Plans and details of the site and proposal.

  • A list of reasons the proposal does not comply with the District Plan.

  • An assessment of environmental impacts.

  • Supporting documents relevant to your particular proposal.

  • An assessment of how your proposal fits with the objectives and policies in the District Plan and the purpose of the Resource Management Act. 

  • The required fee.

Consent applications must also include a plan showing the position of all new boundaries and the areas of allotments, existing and new reserves and access strips, areas to be set aside as new roads, and areas of land within rivers, lakes and the coastal marine area.

When you have completed your application, you can lodge it with Christchurch City Council via Online Services. Or, you can email it to, post it to Resource Consents Unit, Christchurch City Council, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154, or submit it in person at the Civic Offices, 53 Hereford Street.

Rules for subdividing land

3. Application processed by the council

When your subdivision application is submitted, the Christchurch City Council will work through it to determine whether to accept or reject it. If they need more information, you will receive a Request for Information (RFI), which can delay the processing timeline. 

When the council is processing your application, they will have various experts review the proposal, complete a report, and issue their decision. 

4. Appeal period

Once the Council’s decision has been issued, you will have a certain amount of time to appeal or object to the decision. If you are not happy with the decision, or part of it, this is your opportunity to have your opinion heard and the application reassessed. 

5. Prepare the survey plan

When you and the Christchurch City Council have agreed on a proposal, the consent commences and engineering plans are submitted and approved. The survey plan will also be prepared and submitted for Council certification, under Section 223 of the Resource Management Act.

6. Lodge the survey plan with LINZ

When the survey plan is certified by the Christchurch City Council, it will need to be submitted to Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). To ensure the application is complete, use the LINZ Subdivision Checklist. When this has been processed, you will receive LINZ approval of the survey plan. 

7. Section 224c certificate

When all conditions in the survey plan have been satisfied, the council will complete the application for the issue of final clearance by the Council under Section 224c. When the Section 224c certificate is issued, a buyer-created GST tax invoice will be issued. Then the Section 224c certificate will be registered at LINZ. 

8. Land title records

Next, the survey plan is deposited in land title records. A series of legal matters will be dealt with by your lawyer, ensuring everything is completed correctly.

9. New property titles issued

Finally, LINZ will issue the new property titles as outlined in the survey plan. At this point, the subdivision is complete and each section has its own title.

Subdivision rules 

When drafting your subdivision application, you will need to draw on multiple documents. In Christchurch, the requirements for subdivision are contained in the following resources:

Christchurch District Plan 

The Christchurch District Plan covers the subdivision rules for aspects like size, shape, frontage and access. By searching for your property address, you can find any zones and designations, notations, natural hazards, natural and cultural heritage, and more. Using this information, you can start to draft your subdivision application. 

Land Zoning

Before applying for building or resource consent, you’ll need to check the planning map for your property and find out what rules and restrictions apply. Land zoning determines which particular rules apply, including allotment size, property access, reserves or strips along waterways, natural hazards, water supply, stormwater control and disposal, and more. 

Development Contributions Policy

The Development Contributions Policy outlines the rules for Council Development charges. These charges cover the costs and requirements for new or upgraded infrastructure in the region. 

Infrastructure Design Standard

The Infrastructure Design Standard outlines the rules for new works and services to be carried out on the land. This will impact work such as retaining walls, accessways, and drainage. 

Resource Management Act 1991

The Resource Management Act 1991, Local Government Act 1974, and Local Government Act 2002 outline how we should manage our local environment and resources, including air, land, soil, water, and structures. 

Subdivision costs

You can find the latest fees for Christchurch subdivisions on their website, including resource management fees, processing costs, development contributions, and other fees. Every subdivision is different so it is impossible to give a cost estimate so it is recommended you get an estimate from someone experienced in the subdivision process.

Costs can arise from an initial feasibility study, Council application fees, sewage and stormwater drainage, water supply, electric power, telecommunication services, formation of access, development contributions payable to the Council, consultancy fees, and Land Information New Zealand fees. 

For reference, a fee simple subdivision consent, including boundary adjustments and change of tenure, will incur a $2,500 fee for up to 3 lots. For more than 3 lots, the fee is $750 per lot.

For more information about how to make the most of your land, contact the Genius Homes team today. We’d love to discuss your options, whether that be building a second dwelling or building a house on your new subdivided land. If you’re interested, download our Standard Inclusions and Upgrades Guide to see what’s included with every Genius Homes standard package. 

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