Start your engines, earthworks season has begun

October 7, 2020

And so it begins…

For those of us in the land development industry the beginning of October heralds the start of EARTHWORKS SEASON which is governed by our territorial authorities.

“We like to consider ourselves as champions of our environment,” says Managing Director Clayton McKenzie.

“In fact, that’s why we’re here. We see a future where well designed and built environments, encourage Kiwi families to grow to their maximum potential. So, it’s important to us that we treat the environment with respect.”

What is earth works season?

Between the months of October and April we can traditionally expect to experience better weather with longer daylight hours, and warmer, drier, less windy conditions (apparently).

Activities like earthworks and excavation affect our environment and other people and properties around our work sites. As a result, our territorial authorities have put robust measures in to protect the environment.

Earthworks includes any activity that disturbs the soil, earth, or land surfaces. With better weather comes more opportunity to carry out earthworks in a way that protects the environment but also keeps our people safe. Land is more stable and earthworks such as excavation and fill works can be carried out in a safer manner than outside earthworks season.

In Auckland, the Council, operating under the rules within the Auckland Unitary Plan,  will issue earthworks permits to sites. Outside earthworks season however, only limited, small scale earthworks can be undertaken, and even then a developer must apply for special consideration.

That’s why – as land developers – earthworks season marks the start of a hectic 6 – 7 months of progress on our sites.

“We love it. It’s when we can see our hard work start to take shape and when we can really start to use our technical expertise and problem-solving skills as different site complexities start to come to the fore,” says Clayton.

“Without sounding like too much of a land development nerd, earthworks season is actually quite exhilarating.”

So, what does this look like on some of our sites?

Our bigger master-planned community projects like Auranga, Murphys Road and Mangawhai Central have bulk earthworks consents in place due to the sheer volume of works taking place.

For example, at Mangawhai Central, where our clients are creating a community with provisions for up to 700 homes, a supermarket, service station, small retail and commercial zones, we’re looking at moving, shaping, and redistributing 333,000m3 of topsoil and clay around the 57ha site.

To manage the environmental effects of this cut to fill operation – which largely uses existing material from the site – under the consent issued by the Kaipara District Council, we’ll be closely monitoring the works and implementing sediment control measures to minimise any environmental impacts.

Happy earthworks season.