Bio-physical assessment Print

Design Outcome

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A site's physical nature can be depicted through mapping physical attributes such as geology, topography, soils, species and ecosystems, and hydrological patterns as illustrated in Figure 11. 

Preliminary desktop surveys and site visits may determine the need for further technical assessments, such as a contaminated soils inventory or specialist fauna surveys. Table 1 provides a list of information sources, and the potential for these to direct additional site investigations.​​


INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES                                             




Drainage systems

GIS databases for wastewater, stormwater, and potable water (AC GIS viewer)

Tie-in locations and overland flow paths

Possible CSO issues

Existing infrastructure capacity and age

Stream daylighting opportunities

Existing services

Local authority and utility service sheets for power, gas and phone (beforeUdig)

Local Authority Code or Subdivision/Infrastructure Standards (AC website)

Fixed costs as immovable infrastructure

Potential clashes with earthworks and services

Tie-in points

Existing structures and materials

As-built surveys for landfill areas (contact AC if there is record of a landfill in the area)

Extent and location of structures and impervious surfaces (AC GIS Viewer)

Contamination issues

Necessity for demolition

Potential for re-use of structures or surfaces


City hazard register and LIMs (AC website)

Building Code (DBH website)

Local Authority Code or Subdivision/ Infrastructure Standards (AC website)

Absolute hazard constraints and appropriate buffers

Existing flooding and overland flow paths

Erosion issues

Resilience of services


Existing paper roads

Predicted road classification and standards

Walk, cycle and open space connections

Public transport access

Integration with existing streets and entries

Existing traffic contribution

Priority cycle and pedestrian connections


Terrestrial environments

Scheduled trees (AC website)

Protected Natural Area surveys

Land cover database (LENZ) (

Reserve Management Plans (AC website)

Conservation Management Strategies (DOC website)

Site survey of lizards, invertebrates, avifauna, and bats (may be required; consult an ecologist)

Vulnerable or valuable habitats to avoid and/or buffer

Potential to enhance existing vegetation

An environmental framework to augment and connect remnant vegetation

Freshwater environments

Physical habitat surveys, including Stream Ecological Valuations (SEVs) (may be required; consult an ecologist)

Macroinvertebrate and fish surveys (may be required; consult an ecologist)

Freshwater fish database (NIWA website)

Regional Plan: Air, Land & Water (AC website)

Watercourse management plans (contact AC)

Value and sensitivity of freshwater habitats

Potential for receiving environments to detain and treat stormwater if enhanced

Permanent and seasonal wetlands

Coastal environment

Regional Plan: Coastal (AC website)

Network discharge consents (AC GIS viewer)

Coastal and inter-tidal survey (may be required; contact a marine biologist)

Marine and estuarine bird surveys (may be required; contact a marine biologist or ecologist)

Value and sensitivity of coastal habitats

Effects from coastal inundation and storm surges

Marine and diadromous fish spawning areas






Borehole infiltration tests (may be required for detailed design; contact a geologist or geotechnical engineer)

Survey spring seepage areas (may be required for detailed design; contact a surveyor)

Aquifer maps (available from AC on request)

Seasonal wetlands

Water table depth

Existing impervious extent

Overlay of aerial photographs with curve number values, verified on site for vegetation and soils (AC GIS viewer)

Existing hydrological issues and potential for retrofit of pervious surface or vegetation

Catchment management

Catchment Management Plans (CMP), Network Discharge Consents (NDC) and Structure Plans (AC GIS viewer)

Watercourse Management Plans (WMP) (request from Auckland Council)

Flood hazard mapping (AC GIS viewer)

Long-term Plan (LTP) stormwater directives (AC website)

Annual plan (AC website)

Asset Management Plan (AC website)

NIWA and archive water quality indicators (may be required; protocol is available from NIWA website)

Upper-catchment contributions

Receiving environment sensitivities and values

Spatial planning context

Catchment-wide stormwater objectives

Priority infrastructure

Existing flooding issues


Flood modelling for 2 year, 10 year, and 100 year events (required for detailed design, contact a stormwater engineer or hydrologist)

Attenuation targets (AC website)

Model existing capacity

Classify streams and water bodies

Stormwater discharge targets


Contaminant Load Model (request from AC)

Point source contamination monitoring (may be required for industrial sites; contact an environmental engineer or scientist)

Stream Ecological Valuations (SEVs) (required if modifying watercourses; contact an environmental engineer or scientist)

Identify existing contaminant loads and hot spots ​



Fault lines from GNS Science (GNS active fault viewer​)



Land Environments of New Zealand (LENZ) data (

Auger surveys at recommended distances (Ross, 2007) (may be required for detailed design; contact a geologist or soil scientist)

Soil compaction/permeability testing (may be required for detailed design; contact a geologist or soil scientist)

Landcare S-mapOnline (​)

Geotechnical issues

Soils prone to surficial erosion

Soils as an agricultural resource

Organic soils and peats to harvest as a soil media

Soils with infiltration and recharge capacity

Potential contamination ​



LIDAR data (AC GIS viewer​)

Topographical survey (required for detailed design; contact a surveyor)

Analysis of slope and aspect 

Sub-catchment definition 

Hazards and steep slopes 

Inter-visibility analysis​

Better Design Practice

Rules of Thumb

Provide Feedback Next Page   Previous Page