Building under the Auckland Unitary Plan

The Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP)

Auckland is growing, and like all successful cities, we need more housing for current and future generations, while still protecting the lifestyle that we love. The Auckland Unitary Plan aims to do exactly that, which is good news whether you are an existing homeowner or trying to get your foot on the property ladder.  One of the objectives of the Plan is to create more opportunity for building new homes within existing suburbs to develop a higher quality and more compact Auckland.

The AUP gives Aucklanders the opportunity to look at their existing property and assets in a different way. We can help you whether you are looking to build an additional home for your family, build as an investment, build and sell, or a mix of all three. We can take you through every stage of the development:

  • an initial discussion on your zoning and site
  • finance and budget requirements
  • project feasibility
  • design options based on your zone and budget
  • the consent process
  • accessing construction finance to match your development
  • project management throughout the build

What’s your Zone?

Through the Auckland Unitary Plan the city has been broken down into geographic “Zones”. Each zone has had the type of building (single mixed suburban or mixed urban dwellings, terraced, apartment etc.) that can be built in the zone determined in the plan. You can find out what zone your home falls into on the Auckland Council’s website

New zoning allows for well-planned property intensification in certain areas, while protecting Auckland’s heritage in others. Areas that have been re-zoned to allow for medium to high density housing offer significant opportunity to homeowners, and there are three ways that Signature Homes can help maximise your property’s potential through the Unitary Plan.

What can you do with your property?

Understand you zone is just the start, it determines the type of buulding, or the maximum density you can build to on your site, but there are many other factors that can affect what you build, such as your needs (build to live in or build to sell), appetite for risk, other factors on the site such as drainage, and you financial sitiuation. However there are three general types of building that will fit most zones.

Building options

1.     Stand-alone homes – from plans or design and build

We have been building homes in Auckland for over 35 years and have experience building on all types of sections. We have existing plans that can suit, or use these as a start point for the planning and design process. We can work with you to develop a unique Design and Build home to fit your section within the regulations of the AUP.



2.     Duplex Homes and Town Houses

Depending on your section size and slope a modern duplex or townhouse could be a cost-effective development option. Often undertaken as part of a Knockdown and Rebuild there are many advantages to a duplex or townhouse. Building costs are reduced due to sharing walls between the buildings, and through good design private outdoor spaces can be created for all the homes. With modern construction materials and building practices sound between buildings is negligible.



3.     Terraced Housing and Multi Dwelling options 

Terraced homes and town houses are popular in cities like London, New York, Sydney and Melbourne, and is part of Auckland’s future under the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Terraced housing can give you the maximum possible value out of your land, and with the AUP changes to height restrictions and boundary limits, well designed terraced homes are a real option for your development. There are many options available when building terraced, and choosing the right number of houses for the site plus the right size of the homes based on the market, both play a crucial role in determining the financial feasibility of your project.

You will also need to consider the available outdoor space and how you maximise the area you have in order to provide each dwelling with a relaxed and private outdoor area to enjoy.

Building three or more dwellings on an existing property can provide an opportunity to maximise the value in your property, but with projects this size there is also more risk with the project. Thorough planning, costing and project management is required, and development projects this size often have site works considerations and finance risk feasibility requirements.




Comparing your options for building with Signature under the Auckland Unitary Plan


Property Type 

Depending on your property, and which building type you are looking to build, if you already have an existing building on the property you will be looking at two property development options, subdividing an existing property, whether it has a building on it or not, or a Knockdown and Rebuild scenario.


Your property’s zoning will determine whether you have the option to add one or two new dwellings onto your existing property. You might want to live in one home and sell the other, rent them both out, or build an additional dwelling to help your kids into their first home. However you want to make use of your land, this option is accessible and affordable for most property owners.

Knockdown and Rebuild

If you want to develop your land but your existing home is in the way, or if you love where you live but not your house, knocking down the existing dwelling increases the development potential of your property. Our Signature Knock Down and Rebuild Service is designed to make the process as stress-free as possible. Read more about how we can help manage existing dwellings here.


Our Auckland Unitary Plan Feasibility Checklist

Signature Homes can help you work out what is feasible based on your zone, budget and requirements. Our checklist is designed to get you thinking about everything that is involved in a development. We don’t expect you to have all the answers yet, but you can start your investigations here:

  • Know your zone – work out what the potential for development is for your property.
  • Subdivide or Knock Down and Rebuild, what’s better for your site?
  • Budget – have an idea of what access to funds you have based on current assets and equity in property.
  • Market knowledge – do you know the average price for homes and rents in your area? This can help determine the financial feasibility of the project.
  • Time – the bigger the project the more complex and time required.
  • Objectives – why are you thinking of developing your property? Is it for your family, to own and then rent, or to sell? These objectives will impact on the design and specifications for the finished dwellings.


The Auckland Signature Homes teams are experts at designing and building under the Auckland Unitary Plan and can help you answer all these questions. 

Get in touch

We are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and only use your personal information to provide the services you request from us.

By submitting this form you agree to have one of our team members contact you.