Home FAQ Why do Council have stringent ROW requirements?

Why do Council have stringent ROW requirements?

E-mail Print PDF

Most District Councils have stringent design requirements for the construction and design of urban ROWs.  The reasons for this are complex and historical.  As a ROW is a shared private access, it eventually needs to be maintained.  The pavement may develop potholes or concrete might crack - drainage systems may get blocked and cause ponding.  All of these issues need to be sorted out by the owners sharing the access - not the Council.

Urban ROW serving four flats:  pre-construction

If there is a problem over ROW maintenance between owners, it is usually over the cost of the remedial works.  Disgruntled owners may approach Council for a remedy.  The Council is not a party to the ROW shared access agreement so whilst they might try to help, there is nothing they can really do.  Often, someone "goes to the Mayor" for a solution but there is little the Mayor can do other than mediate the problem.  The end result of these issues is that the Council makes sure the pavements and drainage systems do not fail - they make then strong and durable.   They get their chance to do this at the time of subdivision.  The longer the ROW and drainage systems last, the less complaints the Council will get. 

Urban ROW serving four flats:  post-construction

There are many existing ROW's over 20 years old that are sub-standard in terms of the modern Council specifications.  If further subdivision of one of the subject lots is proposed, the Council will insist that the ROW is upgraded to their latest specifications. This means that the subdividor, unless they can convince the other shared users to contribute, must accept the costs of the ROW upgrading,  This causes bitterness and sows the seeds for future disputes over maintenance between owners.

Hence, all over NZ, the various Councils have developed stringent ROW and drainage construction specifications that they impose at the time of subdivision. 

Rural ROWs

Many rural subdividors desire to use the existing farm access for a ROW. These are fraught with problems.  Whilst such an access has been used for many years for general farm access and has carried heavy loads regularly, the Council still require an engineering design to be carried out to assess the strength of the pavement.  This design process entails:

  • digging test holes through existing pavement and log materials

  • penetrometer testing of subgrade (base material)

  • determine pavement depth from Council design charts,based on traffic volume and subgrade strength - usually requires adding more good quality roading metal

  • prepare design plans for Council approval, including drianage design and possible passing bays

  • construct ROW

  • Certification of design and construction - preparation of "Producer statements" for Council approval process

As well as pavement improvements, the Council often will require additional stormwater controls.

At the end of the day, with design, pavement and drainage improvements, farm access upgrading to ROW standard is an expensive undertaking.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 07:36