What Consents Do I Need to Build A Bridge?

30 September 2020
What Consents Do I Need to Build A Bridge?

The words ‘Consent Requirements’ can conjure up fears of costly red tape and lengthy project delays. But is this true? And what consents are required to build a bridge in New Zealand?

The answer largely depends on where you live, as different councils have different rules. But the good news is Bridge It NZ will take care of the entire application process for you, so you needn’t lose any sleep.

Here are the basics of what you need to know about Resource Consents and Land Use Consents.

Resource Consent:

Issued by the Regional Council.  These consents must be obtained for any activity that affects the environment and is required under the Resource Management Act (RMA) and includes:
  • Regional Plan requirements
  • Hydrological requirements, i.e. Specified bridge levels and flood clearances
  • Any existing covenants that protect the environment or land
  • Building restrictions or conflicts with bird/fish breeding seasons
  • Whether earthworks will be within permissible limits
  • Whether your bridge will disrupt the flow of water or cause erosion
  • Any construction activities within the waterway
  • The views of tangata whenua regarding your bridge

Land Use Consent: 

Issued by the District Council.  This grants permission to use the land on which your bridge will sit and typically considers:
  • District Plan requirements
  • Set back requirements from property boundaries
  • Earthworks limits
  • Visual, character and amenity effects
In some cases, you will require Resource Consent from your Regional Council and a Land Use Consent from your District Council (i.e. two applications are required), although the exact requirements vary region by region.  

A Resource Consent is different from a Building Consent

Building Consent:

Issued by the District Council.  Most bridges will need a building consent from the local council and is typically required when the fall height is over 1.4m. This ensures your bridge is:
  • durable and safe to use
  • designed according to NZ standards 
  • built on land owned by the owner of the bridge
  • officially recorded in council records

How we make the consenting process easy

  1. Bridge It NZ will advise in your project check list what consents are required for your bridge. Once the detailed design work is complete, we’ll submit all consents on your behalf. We usually hear back from councils within two to six weeks.
  2. Council Consent Submission fees vary from council to council so for this reason they are not included in Bridge It NZ’s price – they are billed as separate items. We take the same approach for any site-specific ecological, archaeological or hydrological reports (which aren’t usually required), and any consultation with affected parties (which is sometimes needed). Bridge It NZ can organise all of these things for you.
  3. Our engineering partner prepares comprehensive resource consent applications all the time. Since 2017 we have had over 70 consents for new bridges granted! Most councils are familiar with our work and know we produce high quality, detailed plans. This means getting resource and building consent is a seamless and stress-free experience for you.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch with Bridge It NZ today to discuss your options and organise a free on-site consultation.