If you have a question about anything to do with your development then please feel free to get in contact with us. Below we have listed a set of the questions that we most commonly receive.

Civil FAQ's


Civil engineers are typically required to assess how a development can be carried out whilst considering people, property, the environment and infrastructure. Developments need to meet a number of local, regional and national standards to ensure what we develop today doesn’t have an adverse effect and is suitable for the future. If you are unsure if you need an engineer then contact us with your project details and we will be able to comment on what; if anything you’ll need assistance with.

Early engagement is ideal; engineering needs to be considered as early as possible to understand any constraints, risks or opportunities. Understanding limitations and or opportunities early means the scheme / development plan is less prone to revisions which would likely incur additional costs due to redesigns.

Stormwater tanks are a common requirement and they are generally split into two types – Detention Tanks, where water is held and discharged slowly to manage the increased peak stormwater flows resulting from more impermeable surfaces or Retention Tanks, where water is captured and used in the house or outside taps (Rainwater Harvesting) which reduces the total stormwater runoff. Some times a ‘Dual Purpose’ tank is used which has both Detention and Retention.

Depending on the area of the development and the specific nature of the receiving environment or the infrastructure stormwater tanks are used to help mitigate various stormwater issues such as;
  • Channel erosion in the receiving waterway;
  • Downstream Flooding;
  • Under capacity stormwater networks;
If you have any stormwater questions do not hesitate to contact one of the team.

Flood Reports or Flood Risk Assessments are commonly used to assess if a site is subject to a Natural Hazard – Flooding / Inundation; the assessment is required when carrying out a development to ensure that the development is not at risk from flooding and or to ensure the development does not have an adverse effect on other properties but changing the flood regime.

Engineers use natural features such as contours, streams, rivers or coastlines to determine if a detailed assessment is required. Flood Reports are based on a future storm which general accounts for maximum probable development (MPD) and  climate change with a typical return frequency of one storm per one hundred years.

Often people believe because they have not seen an area flood it means it does not flood; unfortunately the non-occurrence of an event does not mean that it cannot happen. Based on future landuse, density and climate change a Flood Report will provide guidance on how a site can be developed whilst considering the estimated hazard.

Fire FAQ's


The NZBC Acceptable Solutions are designed to cater for typical buildings constructed in New Zealand, but the prescriptive approach results in limited design freedom and difficulty in achieving compliance for any building design that is a little out of the ordinary.
In instances where the buildings do not meet full compliance using the acceptable solutions approach, Chester Consultants can prepare performance-based fire safety designs in accordance with the C/VM2 Verification Method to cater for the specific attributes of a building. This approach often maximises architectural flexibility, reduces construction costs and timeframes and yields more functional buildings for end users.
Performance-based fire engineering is value-added engineering enabling the development of tailor-made designs to cater to specific requirements of the building owner and users.

A fire engineering report is typically required to support a Building Consent application for either:
1) New Building
2) Alterations to an existing building
3) Change of Use
4) Subdivision
The type of fire engineering assessment required would be dependent on the degree of works to be undertaken. For specific advice please contact one of Chester’s Fire Engineers

The first set of numerals relates to the Structural Adequacy (minutes)
The second set of numerals relates to the Integrity Requirements (minutes)
The third set of numerals relates to the Insulation Requirements (minutes)

A design based on an Acceptable Solution, (C/AS1 to C/AS7) must completely comply with all the requirements of the Acceptable Solution. It cannot incorporate aspects of the Verification Method and still be used to show compliance with the Building Code.
However, there is one exception, when the only non-compliance with the Acceptable Solution relates to the prevention of horizontal spread of fire. In this instance, a suitably qualified fire engineer may use the C/VM2 methodology to show compliance with this aspect of the Building Code.
This applies to both the extent of unprotected area using the methods described in Design Scenario (HS): Horizontal fire spread and the fire resistance rating of the external wall using the ‘full burnout design fire’

Section 112 of the Building Act requires that the impacts on fire safety are assessed when a building undergoes alteration. Whilst Section 112 has been part of the Building Act for some time, the 2012 changes to the Building Code means that existing buildings constructed under the old Building Code must be assessed under the new Building Code to ensure they comply with the provision of means of escape from fire on a near as reasonably practicable basis.

Structural FAQ's


If the crack is new of a significant size we would advise that you seek professional advice  . Not all cracks are an indicator of an indicator of a significant structural issue but they generally are an indicator that there are issues in the foundations or wall structure.

If the wall is under 1 m and not supporting any other structure other than the ground above we would advise that you monitor and if it continues to move then seek professional advice. If the wall is over 1m and/or supporting a structure or driveway than you should seek professional advice.

If this is an older situation and does not appear to be moving further then monitor it over a period to see if this is a seasonal situation. If it appears to change over the change of season  you should seek professional advice on options to stabilise it in the future.

If this is a new situation then we would advise you seek advice to determine what is currently occurring allowing the house to move.

We would normally start with obtaining a copy of the Council Property file related to the property. If the information relating to the deck is on the file then you would be advised to compare this information with what is built. If there are differences than you need to determine is this is significant and in need of further research. If there is no information on the file then it is considered to be unauthorised works by the Council and you should consider remedying this by applying for a Safe and Sanitary Report if you believe it was constructed before July 1992 or A Certificate of Acceptance if after this date. If you suspect there are structural issues in either case then we would advise you seek professional advice. No matter what the age of the deck it is a requirement under the Building Act that be structural sound and fit for purpose.

Surveying FAQ's


Only a Registered Professional Surveyor can reliably locate and re-peg your boundaries. We can undertake a re-definition survey to locate the boundary position.

The only way to ensure your pegs are reliable is to have them checked by a Registered Professional Surveyor, it is very common for pegs to have been moved or incorrectly identified. We can undertake a boundary re-definition survey to do this.

The first step is to discuss your proposal with a Registered Professional Surveyor, please contact our team and allow us to help you achieve your required outcomes.

Cross lease titles are based on undivided ownership of the underlying land and reciprocal leases (cross leases) between the parties for the area that the buildings occupy. Exclusive use covenant areas define a particular area to be used exclusively by one party or certain parties, common property defines an area to be shared among all parties.

For most properties this is a viable option as long as all landowners are in agreement. You can discuss your requirements with our team and we can outline what is involved.

All title to land in New Zealand is guaranteed by the government however on some old titles the government has limited the guarantee. Generally, this limitation is “as to Parcels”. A removal of limitations survey will remove this limitation on the governments guarantee by surveying the property and lodging plans with LINZ.

This means your title is not guaranteed as the land has never been properly surveyed, the parcel and boundary position of the property is unknown. In order to issue an ordinary (guaranteed) title and define the parcel boundaries a ‘removal of limitation’ survey is required to be carried out. Plans, calculations and reports need to be lodged with Land Information New Zealand. We can provide with you a cost estimate and give you an indication of how long this process it will take.

A topographic survey (sometimes referred to as a feature survey) is carried out by surveyors to produce a digital model or plan of a particular area of land. The plan will show the location of any natural features, manmade structures and the contours of the land. This plan generally forms the basis for designing a house, subdivision or providing information for other forms of development. What is a Feasibility Report?

A feasibility report is designed to give an indication of the infringements of your proposal, any issues that will need to be addressed and general likelihood of consent being granted. It also gives an indicative cost estimate for the subdivision process from start to finish.

The cost can vary depending on the scope of the job. We can quickly give you an Estimate of how much all this is going to cost you. We provide details of when it is due. When we start a Subdivision, all of the details and costs are set out for you in writing.We will explain the entire Subdivision Process and what you can do and can’t do. We explain what’s involved, who does what and how many Consultants are needed. Sometimes there may be negative consequences of doing something, which may be able to be avoided.We can provide you with an estimate of our fees and provide an indicative timeframe for your proposal. Please contact our team for further information