What can I build on my land?

What can I build on my land?

Publish Date: March 7 2022 by Stroud Homes

This post is more than a year old. Information contained in this blog is correct at the time of publishing.

Looking to buy or already own land?

Before you start building on your section it’s important to find out what you can actually build on it.

Stroud Homes cover ground in several different councils; the main councils being Hamilton City, Waikato District, Waipa District, and Matamata-Piako District. Within these councils there are different zones with different rules.

We asked an expert Stroud Homes builder to help answer some questions for our potential clients to help them figure out what they are allowed to build on their section of land and outline the most common rules in each council zone.

Zoning rules:

Can you explain what zoning rules are in Hamilton and what they cover?

Most of Hamilton is medium density which allows for one house or duplex on 400m2 (NOT including any right of ways to access the section).

The maximum area you can cover is 40% of your site so if you have a 400m2 section the largest single storey house you can build is 160m2. Some areas of Hamilton are high density so in these areas you can cover up to 50% of your site and can have townhouses/duplexes on smaller lots.

The Districts also have different zones, especially for rural sites and town sites.

Most town sites – Ngaruawahia, Raglan, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Morrinsville, Matatmata etc –  have 40% coverage similar to Hamilton, but you cannot make sections as small or build duplexes as easily under current rules.

Boundary rules:

What are the boundary rules in your area and the setback rules?

For most town areas the side and rear setbacks are 1.5-2m and the front is 5m to the garage and 3-4m to the front of the house.

These can change depending on what zone/district you are in so it’s always good to check. Our architects always double check this as part of the concept design phase.

Rural sites have much larger set backs which vary depending on the district and zone you are in, but are often around 12m+.

Granny Flats:

Am I able to build a granny flat without consent under the new the new Medium Density Residential Standards?

Hamilton City:

Currently in Hamilton City you can build an ancillary dwelling, such as a granny flat, of up to 60m2 on a section with a house as long as you have 600m2+ section and are within your coverage limits.

You do not need resource consent for this, but you do need building consent for all new construction.

The Districts:

For the districts you can usually still build a granny flat of up to 70m2, but the total land area required depends on the council and zone.

Some councils also require that the granny flat be attached to the main house.

New Legislation:

New Legislation:

The central government did pass legislation in December last year that will allow higher density housing in more areas in Hamilton, Cambridge, and Ngaruawahia.

However, the local councils have not yet released the ways they will be working these new rules into their district plans. This information should be available by August this year.

Resource Consent

You can build one house and a granny flat without resource consent depending on your area and the size of your section.

If you would like to do a duplex/townhouses or your section doesn’t quite meet the requirements for a granny flat we can apply for resource consent to do so.


Council approvals:

Can you help me with council approvals when building with Stroud Homes or do I have to sort that myself?

We are happy to help you with your council approvals!

We have done several duplexes so are familiar with the process and we also work with a team of planners who are able to assist with getting the approval and providing advice on what council is likely to approve.

Subdividing your land

What factors determine if I can subdivide my property?

The biggest factors that determine if you can subdivide are the size and location of your property.



Depending on what zone you are located in the rules around the size of each property vary widely. Rural zones are often restricted as to the minimum size of the property and the number of times it can be subdivided in order to maintain the character of the property.

Town sites have access requirements in addition to size requirements. For example many people who have 800-900m2 sites think that they should be able to put two duplexes (four units) on their site as you only need 400m2 per duplex. However, this is not usually the case as you need access to each site in addition to the 400m2 per duplex and this can take up a lot of space.


Availability of utilities also needs to be considered. Most rural and lifestyle sites only require power to be available at the gate and any other utilities such as fibre, water, or sewer are a bonus. Town sites need access to all of these and it is likely that you will have to put in stormwater tanks to alleviate extra pressure on the stormwater system.

You may also be asked to upgrade water, sewer and stormwater mains as part of your consent if you are subdividing in town. Council decides this and they set the price and do the work, you can’t get your own contractors in or negotiate pricing.

Talk to the experts

Whenever you are building or subdividing it is best to talk to an expert.

We deal with these questions all the time and are happy to sit down and do an initial analysis which will give you enough information to know if we need to involve other experts and we can go from there.

Stroud Homes are your local builders throughout New Zealand. With bucket-loads of experience in the building industry, we understand how important clear communication is to new home buyers.

This focus ensures your new home and our customer service meet only the highest of standards.

Get in touch

Want to know more about what you can build on your section?

If you are dreaming about a new home and are looking for a builder in Hamilton you can trust, contact Stroud Homes today on 0800 469 787 683 or contact us.

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