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The Evolution of Land Development – Skills, Disciplines and Demographics

Like most industries around the world, Land Development and its disciplines have evolved over time. Across the various planning, legal, regulatory, design and construction requirements, the best consultancies have been able to adapt to industry changes.

In a country like Aotearoa New Zealand, we have experienced many of the same global developments in technology and methodologies, while also experiencing our own unique changes, like the demographic shifts in the skilled workforce and local client base.

Now it’s all about good design

In times gone by, consultants would look at a greenfield development and decide how it could be subdivided into lots. Since the adoption of the Unitary Plan in Auckland, we at Terra approach Land Development projects differently. Consultancies have needed to be more comprehensive in their service offering, to deliver value in a more complex environment.

Now it is all about integration of living environments whilst providing quality, yield and good design from the land. This requires looking at the built form and what can be achieved on the land rather than just looking at the empty land itself.

Once the Unitary Plan came into being, Terra’s leadership team realised that the company needed to have in-house architectural, urban design and structural skills. Through good design, the business could generate an attractive yield from the land for our clients or a developer. This could not have been possible if we had not had the architectural designers on board. The architectural design component in developed projects today is extremely important, especially in Auckland. Good consultancies can now look at a piece of private land and answer their client’s question, “what can I do with it?” We look at the land from an end product perspective and work backwards from there.

Aotearoa New Zealand has a changing persona

In the past 20 years, New Zealand has enjoyed relatively favourable economic and labour market conditions compared to the rest of the world. Couple that with an immigration policy that has allowed New Zealand to enjoy the benefits of having skilled professionals from all over the world come to NZ. Conversely, there has always been the appeal of Australia for many Kiwis and so the pool of local engineering professionals has been limited. The industry has benefited from the international experience and the complementary skillsets of foreign-born professionals. With borders being closed over the past two and half years, we have been reminded of the value of our foreign-based colleagues. Despite the local kiwi talent, one has only to look at the difficulty that most consultancies are experiencing in finding talented individuals to join their teams.

At Terra Consultants we enjoy a strong relationship with the Asian development community and that relationship is reflected in our projects and workforce. We have numerous subdivisions in progress at any given time with our partners. Our own website has a Mandarin translation to allow our Chinese client base to navigate our website and services more comfortably.

As a business, we get a real kick out of utilizing the talent and tools available in Aotearoa. The multidisciplinary, multicultural makeup of our teams and client base, has allowed us to be successful to grow from strength to strength as a business. At Terra Consultants we love and respect the land, we respect and appreciate the people and we are passionate about building better environments for a better future.

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