Planning Requirements

Your building plans must show your compliance with the ‘Planning Requirements’ in the Building Code. The planning requirements are there to ensure your building and occupants are safe and that everyone does their part to contribute to better living for everyone. Your drafter or architect needs to ensure the planning requirements are incorporated into your designs.

The planning requirements are:

  1. Minimum acceptable floor levels for the site – this is to ensure your building floor is higher than flood levels.
  2. Vehicle access provision – to ensure safe, effective and efficient movement to and from sites and ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. Parking provision – each class of building has its own parking requirements.
  4. Building setback from boundaries – 5m from the edge of the Ara Tapu, 4m from Ara Metua and 1.5m from other boundaries in Rarotonga. 3m and 1.5m for the Pa Enua.
  5. Maximum building height – maximum building height allowed is 12m
  6. Emergency vehicle access – access to the site must allow for emergency vehicles to enter efficiently including to the rear of the building.

We are updating the Building Code and adding new planning requirements. The new planning requirements are:

  • Require the capture of rainfall off roofs
  • Require onsite stormwater management devices like raingardens or engineered solutions
  • Commercial, roadside buildings must include a façade design in building plans

Other changes to the Code are:

  • Premises that join or will eventually join or form a public walkway must have a frontage clearway of no less than 1.8m
  • A reference to sizing onsite stormwater management 
  • Setting a height in relation to boundary to reduce the dominance and shadowing effects of tall buildings on neighbours
  • Commercial accommodation developments will be required to build staff accommodation
  • Provide a standard or standards for vehicle crossings 
  • Allow flexibility to the parking rules where there is public parking available

A new regulation will allow for the government to require compliance with specific new, 2019+ rules as the climate changes and as we realise social changes and impacts from human activity.

Read the information paper that details these changes here.

These changes are a work in progress and we will update the public once the Code changes are complete and the regulation is enacted. In the meantime, it is best to include the new planning requirements into your building designs so you don’t have to make alterations to your building while its fairly new.