Newsletter No.1 Winter 1999 Page 2 of 2
Profile - Brent & Lyn Trail.
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Combining the outdoors with office work, and an interest in mathematics let Brent Trail into surveying. He gained his NZ Certificate working for a private company in Palmerston North and his career covers both private and government work. Brent started his own business Surveying Services in Tauranga in 1987.
Brent chairs the local branch of the NZ Institute of Surveyors (NZIS) and is a member of Consultant Surveyors of New Zealand. He was recently elected to the NZIS Council, following a period on the Survey Industry Advisory Group developing technician education standards.
As principal, Brent invests in his own education and personal development and his practical background and intimate industry knowledge assist him in managing the business.
Surveying Services employs registered surveyors and other staff who have particular skills and expertise. Brent's wife Lyn is involved in major decision making and she supports Brent in his role of managing a growing company. A highly qualified and experienced teacher, Lyn's skills benefit the company in several ways. Particularly in overall strategic planning, recruitment and continuing staff education.
Lyn also manages the Trail home and family, and remains actively involved in education supporting Emma and Aaron at school and their classroom teachers.
A past trustee of Otumoetai Primary, Lyn is now deputy chair of the Otumoetai Intermediate PTA. With a parent support group she helped set up a visually impaired children's centre attached to Tauranga South Primary School. Lyn chairs the centre's management committee.
"We aim to create added value for our clients"
After setting up the business themselves, then running it successfully for several years, the philosophy Brent and Lyn developed is for Surveying Services to provide an efficient, quality, top value service to all clients. That requires commitment and the ability to understand a client's viewpoint.
Having personally undertaken land development in the past, Brent says they can relate well to issues of maximising value, forward planning, and achieving value added results.
"By being 'up front' with all options we aim to ensure that what clients do with their land gives them added value" says Brent.
As a small specialist firm Brent believes Surveying Services has advantages over larger multi disciplinary businesses. 'Small' allows total control, and it's easier to create a friendly atmosphere. Having the office sited in 'suburbia' rather than the city allows clients to drop in and discuss their projects with ease.
Lyn and Brent enjoy good relationships with the staff who are experienced professionals. We've developed a rapport with outside people from allied professions. When resourcing larger contracts, it is easy for us to bring in specialised outside consultants. We aren't restricted to using just in-house people" says Brent.
Development Impact Fees - Where we stand
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DIF's are not liked, but they're generally accepted as necessary when subdividing. They allow new owners to effectively buy into the established roading, water supplies, sewerage and stormwater infrastructures on which they depend.
However, the level of DIF's and their timing is being legally debated. The Environment Court recently ruled against Tauranga District Council charging DIFs from its proposed District Plan. TDC is now refunding subdividers the difference between the Proposed Plan and Transitional District Plan DIFs. Surveying Services negotiated with TDC, and where appropriate forwarded clients refunds.
The Court's decision raises the question as to whether WBOP District Council can charge higher DIFs before it's plan becomes operative. Making all subdivision applications non complying unless the proposed roading DIFs are volunteered, could be seen by the Environment Court in a similar light to the TDC case. We could yet see another round of refunds. Watch this space!
Rodney District Council is currently defending its DIFs in the Environment Court. This major case should lead to a landmark decision on the legality of charging DIFs. We'll keep you informed.
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Cadastral or land surveying has taken a step further with surveyor accreditation which acknowledges the surveyor's high standard of work and can provide a fast track approval of plans.
Ross Dean says reform is focused towards automating the survey and titles system, starting early next century.
"The reform process dictates foresight and commitment to keep up with the play. Outcome from these advances will be instant access to data, faster approval of plans, and issue of new titles, a huge advantage to land owners and developers" says Ross.
Surveying Services has adopted the accreditation principle. Besides quality work and systems earning respect, more tangible benefits are :-
- Approval of plans within five days
- Titles within ten days
- Reduced LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) fees.
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There are no longer substantial financial advantages to cross-leasing in this district and the Law Commission's current review of shared ownership of land warns of long term problems, particularly as units age or extensions are required. Leases for 999 years are unsuitable or 'inept' and gaining co-owners approval to carry out work is sometimes impossible.
Owners are not always aware the lease only covers the original structure. Many changes require a new survey plan and new lease registration, which is costly.
The Report recommends replacing cross-leases with subdivisions or unit titles that provide separate titles and a body corporate to administer aspects like maintenance and insurance.
Although suggested we do not expect the Government to legislate to remove existing cross-leases, but it is likely to stop future leases. If the Law Commission's recommendation is adopted, a five to 10 year phasing out period could occur.
Surveying Services' recommendation to clients is "don't panic!' It isn't necessary to immediately convert but consider voluntary conversion, particularly if adjoining owners are willing to share cost, or even just give consent. There are benefits when the time comes to sell, as many purchasers are becoming aware of the pitfalls.
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