Antarctica NZ

Antarctica NZ

Building on ice: complex consent leaves Antarctica project hanging in the balance

Antarctica NZ

Timaru District Council, New Zealand


Building Consent Approval Strategy


The approval process was a fraction of the cost it might have been. But much more than that, they made it work for all of us, which seemed almost impossible at the start. Magic!

- Antarctica NZ

It was the first time official approval had been sought to build a completely new base in Antarctica and there wasn’t a clear path to get the consent approved.

The Challenge:
Consent to redevelop a building in Antarctica was a first for all involved; Antarctica NZ, Timaru DC and MBIE. Initial consent guidelines suggested significant work and potential delays for the project team. Not to mention exuberant building consent fees.

The relationships between all parties were positive but trying to find a suitable consent process put pressure on everyone. Antarctica NZ were committed to the project but were anxious that without a definitive compliance pathway, it might not go ahead. The council were also enthusiastic however, approval of such an unusual project put stress on them that they didn’t need. In the meantime, the design team were frustrated because they wanted to know what was required.

How Farsight Helped:
The Farsight NZ team met with all project parties – the client, the council, and the design team – to clarify the issues, barriers, concerns and exact needs from each of them. Farsight NZ applied their extensive knowledge of the relevant legislation and proposed a way for the project to get approved that would work for everyone. They documented the process that gave everyone confidence and certainty on process, design, timing and fees.

The Outcome:
Within a few months the consent process was agreed, and the confirmed documentation process was underway. Everyone was happy and the working relationships between all parties were strengthened. In the end, Scott Base redevelopment consent costs were a fraction of what was originally anticipated. Plus, the Health and Safety standards of the building exceeded the minimum standards. In other words, a great outcome for the developers, the council and those who will live and work at the base.


Contact Farsight today to help you with your project!