Positioning my house on my site ...

You have your house plan sketched out and your title, so you have sketched out the position of the house on the plan.  Great start!  Now to present this information to an architect, architectural designer or draughtsperson so they may complete the plans for a building consent from the local territorial authority.  A couple of pointers to consider when you start sketching may save you from disappointment, frustration and expense, as well as time, are listed below:


·         When sketching up your house plan use the correct width of the wall especially if the space is limited and every millimetre counts.  Incorrect widths of walls may have you thinking you have more space than is available.  In general walls are 90mm timber thickness (unless you are going for 140mm timber) plus 10mm plasterboard for internal linings.  That 10mm may make all the difference.

·         When drawing up your site plan as to where the house is to be positioned on the land, make sure the site is drawn accurately.  One way of ensuring this is as follows:

o   take the certificate of title for the angles

o   draw the first line to the required length

o   place the paper over the certificate of title site and mark the next lines at the correct angle

o   draw these lines to the required length

o   place the paper over the certificate of title site again and mark the next line(s) at the correct angle


·         Ensure you have found out from your local council the planning requirements.  For instance, are you on a rear site or front site?  Do you know the difference?  There are different requirements for both and these need to be checked so that you know in your mind whether the set-back for the house is 1.5m or 3m or 5m from the boundary.  We have found councils do vary in this requirement.


·         Consider the height of the building from ground in relation to the boundary as this may influence the recession plane.  Not all Councils planning requirements are same.  Doing this homework prior to getting plans drawn is beneficial for you and becomes a time and money saver as you are not being charged for someone else to research this information.  You may not wish to do this research and that is ok.  Just don’t be surprised at the information that comes back to you.


         Site coverage differs from floor footprint.  Check with your local council for their definitions.  One definition we have come across is:

o   Site coverage – footprint plus soffit where walls are greater than 2.2m from ground level

o   Footprint size – dimensions over the outside of the framing (cladding not included)

This is some information we have come across recently that may be beneficial to you at planning stage when you need to fit within 40% site coverage and think you may be close to recession planes.