We very much enjoyed the presentation from Leonie Freeman, sharing her thoughts and ideas on how ‘together’ we can help solve the Auckland Housing Crisis. Here’s the full presentation; https://youtu.be/-FOl2EUXzqw
In the most recent of our ongoing series of client presentations in February, we were privileged to host Auckland Council Chief Economist David Norman. David spoke to us on his views on the outlook for the construction and infrastructure sectors in Auckland in the short and medium term, reviewing key indicators that were informing his analysis. These presentations are always well received, and we look forward to being able to continue to bring industry leaders within construction and related sectors to speak with us in the future.
Keep a look out for invitations to upcoming events and be sure to join us.
Contrary to popular belief, a masterplan is a lot more than a ‘pretty picture’. In fact, masterplanning is a highly technical process that involves analysing the constraints and opportunities of a site to develop a creative response.
Construkt has the skills and experience to produce superior masterplans that comprise a healthy balance between best practice urban design and developers’ aspirations.
Considerations for residential master planning
New Zealand is facing a housing crisis where homes are often unaffordable due to high land prices.
- We maximise a site’s yield by producing small residential lots that are suitable for housing
- For lots destined to be sold individually on the open market, we provide a dwelling design option to buyers to communicate the possibilities on their land
Increasingly, we’re being asked to generate designs for sites that have challenging contours.
- We have the technology and knowledge to test the viability of steeply contoured lots
- For tough sites, we can advise on unit typology plans and land modification interventions
Although rectangular lots are the most efficient approach for residential design, it is hard to avoid creating a multi-lot plan without some unusually shaped sites.
- We have the skills and resources to test these sites to ensure they are appropriate for residential development
- In situations where the site’s potential is limited, we develop a suitable dwelling design for the lot
We are motivated to keep consent processing time to a minimum.
- We ensure we’re familiar with a site’s development controls before embarking on design. This ensures we are aware of areas that need further discussion with a planner and the local authority
At first glance, the product often appears to be a deceivingly simple, illustrative plan that communicates the position of streets, dwellings, open space and landscaping. Crucially, it’s also a technical drawing that has been exposed to multiple design tests, includes multidisciplinary knowledge and is dimensionally accurate.
The upshot is a masterplan that requires negligible intervention to complete the subdivision process.
Following up on numerous discussions after the release of IHP’s recommendation on Auckland Unitary Plan, David was interviewed by Radio NZ for his view of the Unitary Plan’s impact on housing affordability.
Click here to read the full RNZ news article, or press the play bottom to listen to David’s interview with RNZ.
Watch the HD video of David’s much talked-about presentation on “Density Development in Auckland- Why and How?” A CPD event courtesy to James Hardie.
What has the Branch done to date regarding the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan?
The Branch’s activity had been very effective. We contributed a comprehensive set of submissions on the proposed Unitary Plan last year. We submitted two volumes – one was commentary on the policies, objectives, and rules of the Plan; the other was on the shortcomings we saw in the zoning maps. One of the prime drivers of the Institute’s involvement is a deep concern that the Plan deliver on the compact city model, and the worry that the rules and zoning maps don’t provide that. Even Roger Blakeley, the Chief Planning Officer, has previously conceded they could fall up to 130,000 short of the 280,000 new houses that need to be built within the Rural Urban Boundary by 2041.
This submission was completed in conjunction with members of the Urban Design Forum, which proved to be a really strategic alliance. It allowed us to pull in skills that we don’t have within our membership – urban designers, landscape architects, and – crucially – planners. We’ve also struck an alliance with Generation Zero – an interesting group of mostly young folk who are keen to ensure the success of the compact city model. A team of sixty was involved in the primary submission. It was a massive and incredibly generous effort from Branch members. A good portion of the effort went into our submission on the zoning maps. We made submissions on 20 of the 21 Local Board areas involving 273 zoning map recommendations. It was easily the most comprehensive submission on the planning maps made.
There were 9,500 primary submissions, and 93,400 individual points of submission – a mammoth task for the Independent Hearings Panel to process. After primary submissions, further submissions were called. This was an opportunity for submitters to evaluate their primary submissions in light of the submissions of others. We could either support or object to those other submissions. A further group of about 15 architects completed that second round process – another comprehensive set of documents.
What’s the current state of play?
There are at least three processes that the Unitary Plan is going through. One is pre-hearings, the second is mediation and expert conferences, and the third is the hearings themselves, which will take place before the Independent Hearings Panel. We’re currently underway with the first of the hearings before the Panel. Adam Wild has lead the charge with heritage matters and I am about to present evidence on the Regional Policy Statements around urban growth
The Unitary Plan lost a lot of intensity in the final days before it was posted last year. There is evidence that Council offices are trying to regain some of the lost intensity through the hearings process – that would be a good thing.
What’s the process from here?
The present need is to engage with the mediations, expert conferencing, and the hearings themselves. They will run through until April 2016 – it’s a real long haul! We in the NZIA are making our submissions as experts. That requires an understanding of the role of the expert witness, as distinct from how one might act as an advocate. Because of that, we’ve gathered people familiar with hearings, Environment Court processes, and so on. I’ve approached senior practitioners from architecture, landscape design, urban design and town planning that will not fazed by the need to prepare expert testimony, or by being cross examined.
How is the Auckland Branch contributing?
The Branch is working via a steering group – David Gibbs, Christina van Bohemen, Graeme Scott, Adam Wild, Stuart Bracey and John Mackay – assisted by a team of about 25 other senior practitioners. The Branch has contributed some money towards engaging a project coordinator. This person will keep us abreast of the flood of notices from the Unitary Plan Office – these must be responded to – and ensure we have a suitably qualified person going to each of the hearings at which we need representation. The estimated operative date for the plan is August 2016, although there is provision for that to be extended by up to a year by Parliament. So we’re settling up for a long campaign…
David, ably assisted by Yu-Ning Liu and Kirsten Zink from Construkt, again took the lead in managing the NZIA and UDF’s further submissions on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP). He headed a team of a dozen industry experts from architecture, landscape architecture and planning professions. The process was all consuming and required a dedicated, coordinated effort. The team reviewed hundreds of submissions over a four-week period. The result was a 40-page submission document in response to 30 individual submitters, which was lodged with the Council on July 22nd.
Watch out for the next phase – pre-hearing meetings, facilitated by the Pre-hearing Panel, are likely to get underway in late September, followed by formal mediations with independent third-parties. David and the team will continue to support the process going forward.
Click here to find out more about Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel.
The Government has appointed an Independent Hearing Panel to review the submissions on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. The Chair of the Panel is the recently appointed District Court and Environment Court judge David Kirkpatrick, widely regarded in development circles as “the right man for the job”. That’s not surprising given his extensive experience: formerly a partner at law firm Simpson Grierson, more recently Judge Kirkpatrick was a Barrister working on resource management cases for both developers and development opponents.
Judge Kirkpatrick has proposed an innovative approach to the hearings process, which is driven by submitters and experts. The process begins with pre-hearings and there are two strands to this activity: expert conferencing and mediation. Notably, the Panel can direct Council and submitters to attend specific sessions.
Expert conferencing will allow people to speak their minds in a confidential setting, without prejudice – in my experience, common sense generally prevails. Mediation will try to tease out disagreements and will be run along similar lines to Environment Court mediation.
This comprehensive pre-hearing process means that, by the time the actual hearings start, some agreement will have been reached and any disagreements, if not resolved, will at least be very clear. The aim, of course, is to narrow the issues before hearings get underway in 2015.
The hearings process itself will be overseen by eight Panel members – a quorum of three is required so it will be possible to run two sessions in parallel. Large-scale issues, however, will be debated by the whole Panel.
- Late May: Auckland Council notifies its summary of submissions and decisions requested by submitters, and calls for further submissions
- June/July: Opportunity for further submissions for or against the decisions requested
Late 2014 onwards: Preparation of Council officer reports addressing submissions, expert conferencing and other pre-hearing processes
- 2015/2016: Hearings commence
- 2017: Unitary Plan expected to come into effect
The Panel must deliver its recommendations on submissions by July 23rd 2016, unless the Minister for the Environment agrees to an extension of the deadline, which could be as long as a year.
Keep an eye out for the launch of the Independent Hearing Panel’s new website, www.aupihp.govt.nz, which will serve as a repository for all information associated with the hearings process from pre-hearing meeting, mediation and hearing intelligence to submissions, reports, transcripts and timelines.
Notwithstanding this positive progress, overall timeframes remain a challenge and relies on well-considered, succinct submissions. Now that the Panel has been appointed and the next steps in the process have been laid out, only time will tell if the eventual implementation deadline of 2017 can be achieved.
Judge Kirkpatrick’s presentation can be found here.