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Building site management

It is important to set up your work site well at the beginning of your project. Building sites pose a risk to the environment, as everything that enters a drain goes straight into our streams, waterways and the sea.

Manage the main risks

  • Exposed soil and clay can be washed into waterways by rain leading to harmful sediment build-up.
  • Toxic material like cement and paint can be spilled or washed into waterways from cleaning.

By managing the risks (as outlined below), you can avoid fines and re-work, and protect Auckland's waterways.


You should know

You can be fined $750 as an instant fine if you do not manage the main risks. In extreme cases, $750 per day if the offence continues. Usually we issue an abatement notice (a warning), demanding the activity stops until you install erosion/sediment controls.
If there is deliberate intent to ignore the directions of the Resource Management Act and council, you can be prosecuted. Prosecutions can result in fines of up to $300,000

​Prevent exposed soil and clay from being washed into waterways

  • Cover exposed earth with mulch, straw or tarpaulins, so rain doesn't wash the soil away.
  • Work in stages, so only small areas are exposed at a time.
  • Use cloth to stabilise aggregate around entranceways and stop vehicles tracking mud into the road.
  • Install a silt fence on the downhill slope of your site, to catch water runoff.

Protect drains

As well as managing your building site, you can also install protection where water enters the drain.

  • Install sand socks in the kerb channel.
  • When removing dirty water from your site, pump it:
    • onto a surface where it can soak into the ground
    • into a tank, so the sediment can settle to the bottom
    • through a filtration device.

How to work with toxic material 

Concrete, cement and paint are all highly toxic in the natural environment.

If there is a spill, do not wash the material into the drain. Call our pollution hotline on 09 377 3107 for advice.

How to protect our waterways from concrete, cement and exposing aggregate 

Lime is a major component of cement and is found in concrete products. It causes significant harm to aquatic life.

Take extreme care when cutting and laying concrete and exposing aggregate.

You must set up efficient slurry controls to stop toxins entering our stormwater and waterways.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Remove water from pile holes, footings and foundations before pumping concrete.
  • Check the weather forecast, plan ahead and put controls in place before starting work.
  • Divert or contain any excess slurry or wastewater to an unsealed surface.
  • Do not wash cement dust, cement slurry, acid or chemical wastewater into the drain.
  • Never leave cement dust or slurry onsite where rain could wash it into the stormwater system. 

How to protect our waterways from paint 

Paints and thinners contain a number of harmful substances that severely affect our waterways.

Before you begin work:

  • cover and protect all stormwater drains while you are painting
  • don't paint in the rain
  • keep all paint tins and equipment well away from stormwater drains
  • use water-based paints wherever possible.

More information about how to clean, dispose and store your paint.

Consent conditions for managing pollution on your building site

Your building and resource consent will include conditions for protecting the environment.

Make sure you and your contractors know what these are, and keep a copy of your consents on site so you can check them.

Best practice guidance for site management

Video guidance

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