LINZ investigating changes to Christchurch property boundaries

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Are you aware of the proposed changes to the identification of property boundaries?

Your conveyancing lawyers will no doubt have heard of the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) proposed guidelines.

Shallow surface movement can result in significant distortion of the land which could have serious legal consequences for property owners. LINZ aims to create a definitive guideline, addressing some potential issues that may arise including accurate determination of property boundaries; occupation, recession planes, fire wall off-sets etc.  See:  Indicative shallow surface movement in Christchurch

Envivo Land Surveying has significant experience in the Canterbury region and we are knowledgeable about these changes and have submitted feedback to LINZ. We can send you further information as LINZ develops the new guidelines. In the meantime please be aware that property boundaries can be tricky and if you need accurate surveying we would be happy to discuss your projects.

The Canterbury Earthquakes have resulted in some parts of Christchurch being affected by shallow surface land movement with deformation in areas around New Brighton, Parklands, Burwood, Aranui and other suburbs consistently exceeding 0.2 – 0.5 metres and in some areas significantly higher localised movement.

This movement has not been in any one consistent direction and therefore it cannot be modelled with a high degree of accuracy.

Over the last several months there has been discussion between Land Information New Zealand, the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and the surveying community regarding the undertaking of Cadastral Surveys in the earthquake affected areas of Christchurch.After four years of consideration; Land Information New Zealand developed a set of policies and guidance notes to endeavour to simplify the analysis and boundary redefinition process to reduce the risk and potential for future litigation. The policies and guidance notes were announced in February. However, after their introduction the surveying community was consulted and an NZIS working group was quickly formed to review the hastily introduced policies and guidelines.

Resulting from an in depth consideration a consensus found that:

  • the imposition of the guidelines as immediately operational is undemocratic;
  • the guidelines do not take into consideration many cadastral boundary definition issues;
  • the introduced guidelines would create widespread inconsistencies with respect to spatial definitions conflicting with occupation;
  • the wider impacts on landowners; property insurers; the legal profession and those with actions pending has not been considered;
  • the common law principles and legal precedents stated by LINZ need to be properly referenced and provided as supporting evidence;
  • the placement of SDC coordinates within the hierarchy of evidence needs to be clarified;
    this action by LINZ has indeed resulted in a loss of confidence in the cadastre by surveyors as well as landowners and other stakeholders

LINZ has now considered this feedback and understand that in its announced form it was unworkable and indeed would have created greater issues that what it was designed to resolve.  They have now formally retracted the February policies and guidelines. A decision has been made by the Surveyor General to revert to the status quo, being the same methodology that has been used for the previous four years pending a more comprehensive review of the submissions made on the February Guidelines

The complexity of undertaking Cadastral Surveys in Christchurch in particular within the areas of considerable surface movement is significant and it is only after a comprehensive field survey is undertaken and desktop analysis completed that a decision around a boundary definition can be made.

There is still an element of risk and our company has a policy that with every Cadastral survey we undertake we lodge a Cadastral Survey Dataset with Land Information New Zealand to record the work undertaken.

This helps not only to improve the survey records but populates the LINZ database with additional vectors to provide for the modelling and analysis of both deep or shallow seated movement.

We are doing our bit to help the rebuild and re-establishment of our most valuable asset – our Land Tenure System.

Envivo offers full Survey, Civil Engineering and Planning expertise to the wider Canterbury area and we’re proud of our preferred supplier arrangements with insurers and PMO’s. Please contact us if you would like further information or if we can help in any way.