Site Use

Considering how a building and site impact on each other, enhancing energy efficiency, comfort and convenience.

Existing vegetation

Existing trees and plants on a site should be assessed for their value to the site including to provide shade, wind shelter, flood management, soil stability and a habitat for birds.

They also provide aesthetic value and, if removed, take many years to replace.

If possible, design and locate the building to accommodate established trees and plants that are not easily transplanted. Design considerations include:

  • the degree of shading – the shade provided may be desirable in the summer but less so in the winter; however, for deciduous trees, winter shade is unlikely to be a problem
  • the age and condition of trees – some may require removal to avoid the risk of damage to the completed building or they may present a risk of damage to foundations from root systems
  • the impact of the building’s proximity to an existing tree – a building too close to a tree may affect its long-term viability
  • the possibility of incorporating a tree or shrub into the building design, for example, designing a house or a deck around it
  • trees that are protected under the District Plan or site-specific documents such as an open space covenant and must be retained.

Specifying protection

  • Specify protection measures for protected trees or other critical features.
  • Allow space for delivery of materials, service vehicles (for example, concrete pumps), and waste materials storage during construction to minimise the effect on the existing landform, plants and trees.
  • Retain existing vegetation to reduce the risk of soil erosion, slips and sediment run-off from the site.
  • Where removal of topsoil and planting is necessary, specify limiting the amount of topsoil stripping to the building area, careful removal, storage and reinstatement when building work is complete.

Also see site analysis for information about assessing vegetation.