Revised land development standard

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By - , Build 120

The recently revised NZS 4404:2010 Land development and subdivision infrastructure is about building better urban amenity and places for people to live.

Standards New Zealand recently published the revised NZS 4404:2010 Land development and subdivision infrastructure. The revised standard encourages sustainable development, modern liveable design, environmental quality, better land-use planning and integrated transport/land-use outcomes.

Urban design and sustainability were key drivers for the revision of NZS 4404, to help raise the quality of design for infill and new subdivisions. There’s a new section on climate change and more flexibility in the selection and use of materials to create streets and establish infrastructure such as stormwater and utilities.

Key changes to NZS 4404

There are some key changes from NZS 4404:2004:

  • Road design needs to consider land-use ‘context’ and community liveability by emphasising ‘place’ in the road design process.
  • Community-focused roads should achieve slower operating speeds to improve traffic safety.
  • Stormwater is to be managed and treated ‘before it gets into a pipe’.
  • There is a new section on climate change and potential sea level rise.
  • Grassed swales, natural or artificial waterways, ponds and wetlands may, in certain circumstances, be a preferred solution as well as being part of the stormwater system.
  • Sections on landscaping and reserves have been combined and significantly rewritten.
  • Section 8, on utility services, has been greatly advanced in accordance with the latest network authorities’ codes.

Sustainability and reduced environmental impact

The revised NZS 4404:2010 helps designers to place more emphasis on urban and low impact design and sustainability. It will be beneficial during both the planning process and the detailed design and construction phase of establishing subdivision infrastructure.

NZS 4404:2010 is about building better urban amenity and places for people to live. It provides standards for good low-impact design of subdivision and land development infrastructure including roads, drains, water pipes and underground services. For example, the standard includes recommendations on how to treat and manage stormwater run-off from roads before it gets to rivers, streams and the ocean. The aim is to reduce contamination of our waterways and the impact of development.

This new approach to road design (generally narrower carriageways) and low-impact design for stormwater management reduces the quantity of construction materials required. Therefore, fewer non-renewable resources such as cement, gravel, bitumen and fuel will be needed to transport, make and maintain these infrastructure assets.

Urban form emphasises connectivity and safety

NZS 4404:2010 considers urban form – how road networks connect and the form, width and amenity of carriageways and the road reserve – and encourages good environmental design.

The standard has established a strategic link between land use and the transport function. For example, designers need to understand the purpose for which land is to be used and demonstrate how they have selected a road type to match that land use by preparing a ‘design and access statement’.

The standard also includes target road operating speeds. Roads should be designed to achieve these speeds through their alignment and landscaping.

There is more emphasis on connectivity for roading, walking and cycling and recommended guidance for walking distance to a collector road (a road that carries passenger transport services). The aim is to help people reduce their carbon footprint.

Road design is no longer just about moving vehicles and providing a place for network utilities. A range of street users is considered. The new standard prioritises pedestrians, then cyclists, public transport users and the movement of freight and goods over the needs of motorists. The safety needs of the most vulnerable users and the most energy-efficient methods are priorities.

Wide adoption of new standard encouraged

In July and August 2010, IPENZ ran nationwide seminars about NZS 4404:2010 for engineers, surveyors and planners. The New Zealand Planning Institute and the Urban Design Forum also ran workshops for planners and urban designers. The Institute of Surveyors is planning branch workshops to help members play their part in encouraging local authorities to adopt the new standard as the base for design of subdivision and land development infrastructure in their areas.

The NZS 4404 review committee included representatives from the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand, Ingenium, Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, Local Government New Zealand, Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand Institute of Surveyors, New Zealand Planning Institute, New Zealand Transport Agency, New Zealand Utilities Advisory Group, Plastics New Zealand, Road Controlling Authorities Forum New Zealand Inc, Urban Design Forum and Water New Zealand.

For more

NZS 4404:2010 is available from or call 0800 782 632 during business hours.

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