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Building in Wairoa flood zones


If you are planning a new build or rebuild - please talk to the Wairoa District Council building team before you start work.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said much of the Wairoa township is subject to natural hazards, particularly flooding. People from affected properties will need to consider what mitigating actions are required for building consent to be granted.

The Wairoa River delta is the flattest in New Zealand, and it is important to protect future builds from natural hazards, particularly flooding and inundation.

The flooding related to Cyclone Gabrielle has highlighted the need to ensure people's safety and to build appropriately. Since the cyclone, new houses being built in flood zones have been raised to help protect them from flooding.

Mr Tipuna said it is recommended that prospective consent applicants request a pre-consent lodgement meeting with the Council building team to discuss items such as natural hazards.

Building on land subject to natural hazards requires the Council to consider the effect on the land, neighbouring land and any associated buildings.

Natural Hazards include inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects, and ponding), erosion (coastal, bank and sheet erosion), falling debris (such as soil, rock, snow, and ice), subsidence, and slippage.

When a building consent is lodged to build a dwelling or structure, the Council is required to consider if the work will create a natural hazard or make a natural hazard worse. This includes looking at hazards to the land, building work and other property.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council holds data on natural hazards and properties. Once building consent is lodged, the Wairoa District Council will request the data on natural hazards and consider that information as part of the decision-making process.

People buying or building on some properties, particularly those impacted by flooding, may find a section 72 notice on their title. This can affect insurance and building plan requirements.

Section 72 is part of the Building Act 2004. A section 72 endorsement on a Record of Title means that building or renovations are allowed on a property subject to a natural hazard, but insurance may be declined or only partially met for damage caused by that hazard.

For example, if a property is prone to flooding, and a section 72 notice is issued your insurance company may decline cover if there is a flood or potential for flooding. 

The Act states that the Council must refuse a building consent if the land on which the building work is to be carried out is subject to one or more natural hazards or the building work is likely to accelerate, worsen or result in a natural hazard on that land or any other property.

However, consent can be issued if adequate provision has or will be made to protect land from natural hazard damage such as flood banks, flood barricades or lifting of buildings.

Mr Tipuna said the Council also strongly recommends that you contact your solicitor, insurance company, or the EQC and seek advice if you are purchasing a property that may be subject to natural hazards or if you are planning on making any alterations or additions in the future.

It’s also important to remember that it is appropriate to deal with each situation one-on-one. If you would like to meet with a building or planning adviser, please contact the Council on 06 838 7309 to make an appointment with one of the team members.

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10 April 2024

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