Mains cable underneath Berm or register Easement?

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Mains cable underneath Berm or register Easement?

Post by Tiger »

Hi guys,

We are doing kind of the All-in-One services for one project in Auckland. The client requires all the mains cable for 9 x dwellings go to to Pit on the street. There are two dwellings on each side of the drive way in the front facing the street while the newly built vector Power pit are in the corner of the street outside the dwelling Lot 1.

If the mains cable from the rear units, the cable have to be
A) buried under berm through driveway and then get into the pit, or,
B) through dwelling Lot 1 and directly get into the pit.

So my question is,

If we go with option A, is the auckland council ok with this? the trench will be on the edge of the berm and the boundary of the site. But I was told only Vector or watercare or Chorus can dig and trench in the berm.

If we go with option B, then there are going to be a lot of easement to be registered which the client does not want to. As all the mains have to go through dwelling Lot 1 .

This also applies to the water mains to each dwelling.

Thanks for your help in advance.

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Re: Mains cable underneath Berm or register Easement?

Post by AlecK »

Assuming teach dwelling is to be a separate installation:

The supply for each (which only becomes "mains" when it crosses the boundary into the property that installation is on) has to be not just a separate cable; but can't share a wiring enclosure (such as conduit or duct).

Every Council will have it's own list, but yes permission to work in the road reserve is generally restricted to a limited number of contractors / organisations.

Whether easements are required when avoiding the road reserve will depend on how the developer has set up the property title(s).
Nothing to do with Electicity Act or ESRs or installation Standards.
This is property law; and as I'm not a lawyer I can only give a general overview.
Basically the supply to any installation can't pass through - under / over the land that another installation occupies, unless either:
a) they are both on same property (ie bit of land / title); or
b) an easement is in place permitting the trespass.

Being separate titles, or unit titles, or whatever, doesn't affect this principle; but may affect the detail that arises from it.
When the land was subdivided, this easements for services (electricity / water / sewerage / stormwater) could (should?) have been made.

For a cluster of houses often the driveway is shared. What matters now is how this sharing has been done.
With unit titles, the driveway may be common ground, with all houses having equal rights to use it as a driveway.
A bit like common areas in an apartment block - everyone can use the lift / corridors / carpark; subject to whatever rules have been put in place.
And in that case, the rules may (or may not) allow u/g services to be run in a single, common trench with tee-offs to each house.

But if separate titles; often instead of being a common area the driveway is actually not a single driveway at all.
Instead a narrow strip of it belongs to / is part of each of the properties.
In which case there will almost certainly already be an easement in place allowing shared use of each others' strips as a driveway for access;
but there may not be an easement allowing one property to run underground services in another property's strip.
Without an appropriate easement; the services for each unit have to be trenched into that unit's strip of driveway.

Whatever form of land ownership is adopted has consequences; -and associated costs.
But such problems are for the developer to sort out.
Your only problem is finding out the relevant facts before you quote, rather than after.
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