Choosing the right section to build on

House land section

Making the decision to build is the first step towards your dream home. The next step is potentially the most important because while houses can be rebuilt or moved to new sites, your section isn’t moving any time soon. Here are some things you should consider when looking for your new section. 


Potentially the easiest part of the process because it can be done without actually being at the location, figuring out how far your home might be from the rest of your day-to-day is vital. Getting to and from the shops, the supermarket, the petrol station or the hairdressers are all going to take time and petrol so it’s important to check the traffic and distance at different times. It might be easier on the wallet living close to public transport and amenities, but consider the noise and foot traffic that can come with being close to main roads or even motorways.


Following from the location of the section, the weather it receives at different times of the day and year impact your build and eventually, your lifestyle. Sections near the sea or in high-wind areas will need to be built with non-corrosive and reinforced materials, and if the section looks damp or swampy in spring and summer this will only get worse later on. That being said, it’s not impossible to build in these circumstances, they’re just considerations that will need to be factored into your budget. 

Access and elevation

For any build to get started, your builders and other tradies need to be able to access the site. Concrete trucks need to be brought in to pour foundations, and over time there will be plenty more trucks coming in and out with various materials and rubbish. If your section is on a flat piece of land this is relatively simple, but if you’re thinking about building into the side of a hill or down a long driveway you may need to consider the added costs that come with it. If your section has some elevation, then the cost of levelling the land to prepare it for foundations will definitely need to be added to the budget.

Check with the council

Sometimes overlooked by a number of homeowners, checking district plans, restrictive covenants and geotechnical reports with your local Council can save you headaches that can come up later in your build or even arise after you’ve moved in.

The local district plan will tell you about zoning as well as the kind of houses that can be built in your area, giving you an indication of what you might expect over time. For example, if your section is near or part of an area set for medium-density housing, you could have your view, sunlight or both blocked by a property built after you’ve moved in.

A geotechnical report tells you about the earth you’re looking at building on, so if peat or volcanic rock is present then you’re likely to pay more to get it out. Checking the land use report is also valuable in finding out if any hazardous materials and chemicals may be present from prior industrial or agricultural use.

With regard to natural hazards that can impact buildings, be sure to check the title of the land before purchasing too. A section 72 notice under the 2004 Building Act (or section 36 under the 1991 Act) means that the Council have considered them but decided that construction won’t make worsen any problems. The Council will also be able to give you information on infrastructure like water, power, gas and access to broadband and fibre. 

It might feel like a lot of work but doing your due diligence and taking a proper look at where you want to build is an investment that will only make the rest of the process easier. Going in with your eyes open allows you to plan for any eventuality that comes up during the build. It also gives you a valuable insight into what you can expect once you’ve got the keys, so if you’re ready to build and are looking for a dedicated team ready to make your dream home a reality, feel free to contact us.

Published:  28 August 2018
Back to top of page