Council Clarifies Building Foundation Requirements

Published: Thu 22 Jul 2021 11:50 AM
Stratford District Council has recently developed guidelines for compliance with the foundation bearing requirements of NZS3604 for the construction of Timber Framed buildings in the Stratford District.
The guidelines which are available on Council’s website have been produced in response to recent building inspections that raised concerns about soil condition reporting as well as foundation design and construction. This situation has been exacerbated by an increase in building activity and increasing land prices leading to the development of land previously seen as too challenging to build on.
Chief Executive Sven Hanne says, “Stratford is in a high rainfall area with underlying geology that is not well consolidated, even in comparison to our neighbouring districts.”
“To help manage these risks and ensure the safety of future developments, we have prepared a guideline which explains what level of information Council requires to be satisfied on reasonable grounds that ‘good ground’ will be achieved prior to construction starting.”
“Good ground’ is a term that refers to ground that meets the minimum strength requirement specified in the standard. The purpose of strengthening this part of the process is to protect the investment people make when embarking on a building project and to ensure the integrity of the consenting process,” says Mr Hanne.
“The guidelines aim to help designers, builders, developers and engineers fulfil the information requirements for building consent purposes, and provide consistent practice across the building sector within our district. They describe testing required to determine whether or not the ground strength meets the New Zealand building code and if a geotechnical engineer or engineer-designed foundations are needed,” he says.
“Our building team have met with a number of local practitioners on the release of the guidelines to date, and will continue to work with building professionals to ensure these requirements are well understood,” says Mr Hanne.
If anyone has any questions about the site investigation process and guidelines, they can contact the Building Control Team on 06 765 6099 or email
To view the full guidelines visit

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