The first renovation step: download your property file
Downloading your property file is the first thing you can do to help get your renovation project underway.
This how-to guide is not exclusive to the Auckland region, so it will still be helpful if you're based in another New Zealand region.
Generally, every house in New Zealand has a property file held by their local council. In Auckland, it's the 'super city' council.
Because every NZ-built home has undergone a building consent process, your council likely holds all the relevant details about your home. We say 'likely' because some councils have had fires in the past where property details have been destroyed.
What's in a property file?
In general, a property file will contain the original building consent documents, including a floor plan with dimensions, as a minimum, and details on stormwater drainage and underground services like power cables etc. This information is useful to have on hand to share with us prior to a discussion about what it is you want to do with your home.
Why do you need my property plans?
When we have a set of plans, we can gain an excellent understanding of the nature of the existing building and the home's key features that inform our approach to a renovation.
The key features we look for are:
- Site slope
- Foundation type
- Construction materials (especially roof type and cladding)
To us, having a set of plans is like having a 3D render of the property before we even set eyes on your home or step into your doorway.
How do I get my property plans?
For those based in Auckland, you can order your property file here. If you're not Auckland based, it should be as simple as Googling your local council and 'property file'.
Advance warning: some councils don't have the best online systems, so patience may be required. If all else fails, try calling the council and asking them to help you find your property file. It's a fairly common request, so it should be straightforward. As a final resort, you can always go to the council reception and ask for assistance.
There is usually a fee associated with obtaining a property file. In Auckland, there are two options; an urgent request and a standard request. The difference is a few days, but if you are in the early stages of planning your renovation, then a standard request should suffice.
If you're struggling to get your property file, don't panic – we're here to help. Just get in touch via our contact page.
I have my property plans, now what?
Once the property file is in your hand or inbox, as the case may be, review the documents to see if you can spot any anomalies. For example, in the history of your home, someone has done some alterations that aren't detailed. It can be hard to spot sometimes, but that's where a professional builder (like ourselves) can help.
Don't panic if things are different from the plans. At this point, you are just collecting information to help build a game plan moving forward.
Congratulations, you've completed the first step towards your renovation! Next step? Contact us to get your renovation underway.