What services does Establish provide?

Establish provides a complete resource consent, building consent and feasibility solution for all sizes and types of early childcare education (ECE) centres across New Zealand. You get the advantage of a full team of professionals (project managers, town planners, acoustic engineers, traffic engineers, structural and civil engineers, fire engineers etc) experienced in the ECE development sector working for you to obtain consent or help you make an informed decision in the most time and cost-effective way possible.


Do I need a Resource Consent?

Almost every childcare centre in New Zealand requires a resource consent. The problem is that applying for and obtaining these consents can be a very difficult, costly and a time consuming process. There are so many things to consider ranging from noise and traffic effects through to whether the ground is potentially contaminated and therefore a risk to children’s health. That’s why it is important to have the right team around you when you are developing a new ECE centre.


Do I need a building Consent?

Yes. Anyone planning on designing, consenting, constructing or undertaking additions/alterations to an Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre needs to ensure they meet the requirements of both the Building Act 2004 and the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

The Building Act requires that new building work meet the Building Code’s current requirements. The Act also requires upgrading to existing parts of the building when a building is altered (alteration of an existing centre) or has a change of use (for example, from a house to a new centre).

In other respects the building must comply with the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the alteration.


How much does a Resource and Building Consent Cost?

Establish quote each project on a case by case basis with pricing varying depending on the number of specialists involved and the complexity of the project. In addition to the Establish price to prepare and lodge your consent you will also have architectural costs and council costs. Architectural costs vary on the complexity of design. Council costs include a lodgement deposit with the balance of fees being charged on a time and cost basis.


Do I need to notify my neighbor that I am proposing a childcare centre?

Under the Resource Management Act 1991, Council are required to consider who is adversely affected by a proposal. In this regard Council look at environmental effects, such as overshadowing, loss of amenity, loss of privacy, noise, traffic etc. Should the adverse effects of a proposal be considered minor then Council are more than likely to ask for your neighbors’s written approval. The Establish specialists (planners, acoustic engineers, traffic engineers, civil engineers etc) are familiar with the activity of childcare, the MOE regulations and the relevant District Plan requirements giving your proposed childcare centre the best chance of avoiding neighbours approvals.


Can I establish a childcare centre on land that is zoned residential?

Yes, more than half of the childcare centres we consent across New Zealand each year are on land zoned residential.


How long will Council take to assess my application?

You need to keep in mind that Council may reject your entire application on receipt if basic lodgement information has not been provided or if it is inadequate.

When Establish submit your consent it will include all necessary forms, assessments and information. This means that your application will be assessed more quickly, saving you processing time and costs and preventing you from having to cancel the builder you booked a year ago.

Once the consent has been lodged, further information can still be requested later in the consent process. This will put the application on hold in terms of the time that Council legally has to process your resource consent application.

Under the Resource Management Act 1991 Council has a statutory timeframe of 20 working days to assess your resource consent application.


Do Establish build ECE centres?

We don’t physically build childcare centres as this is not our area of specialty; we are however more than happy to suggest contractors that have a proven record in childcare construction.


Should I convert an existing building or build new?

We work with clients who convert buildings and clients who build new purpose-built centres. From our observation those clients who convert a house for example for their first centre generally build new the next time around. The reason for this is that building new allows a site to be optimised, the construction time is often shorter and the end asset is often valued higher.  


How many staff do I need?

The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 sets out the minimum staffing requirements in Schedule 2. For early childhood education and care centres a minimum of 1 staff member per 5 children aged under the age of 2 years is required. For children aged 2 years and over a minimum requirement of 1 staff member per 10 children is required. Many of our centre owners operate their centres on better ratios to increase the quality of care within their centres. In addition to child staffing most centres also require support staff (eg. administration, cook, cleaner etc).


Can I increase the number of children and change the hours of operation at my existing centre?

Changes to regulations and District Plans often provide opportunities for existing centres to optimise their services. For example, the Auckland Unitary Plan now allows for higher noise limits from childcare centres and requires fewer car parks. Your centre may be able to cater to more families than you are currently licenced for. At Establish, we love unlocking potential.


Is there a demand for new childcare centres?

If you build it, will they come? This is the fundamental question facing all new ECE owners and operators. Selecting the right site and location for your centre will ensure that you are setting yourself up for success from day one. 

When undertaking a location demand study our specialist team looks into and assesses a number of things which includes: the location of existing childcare centres in the nearby vicinity, the licence size and wait times of those centres and the current roll of those nearby childcare centres. We also identify the location of primary schools within an area, their intake and projected future intake and the latest census data available. Finally we investigate and assess the local planning controls and the expected zone outcomes of a site if you have already identified a specific site that you want to pursue for your ECE centre.


What is an early childhood education and care centre?

An early childhood education and care centre is defined in the Education Act 1989 as “premises used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being children of the persons providing the education or care, or children enrolled at a school being provided with education and care before or after school) under the age of 6 — by the day or part of a day; but not for any continuous period of more than 7 days.


Can you open a centre in a high rise building?

Yes you can but it may be more difficult. One of the key considerations is how to evacuate children from centres that are not at ground level in the event of a fire. Your fire evacuation scheme will need to identify ways to mitigate this. We recommend you read the Ministry's ‘Guidance for ECE Services – Evacuation Plans for ECE Services in High Rise Buildings’.


Do you have examples of projects that you have worked on?

Our team has had the pleasure of being involved in over 100 childcare centre developments across NZ from Kerikeri in the north to Christchurch in the south and everywhere in-between. These centres have ranged from converted houses to accommodate 20 children through to purpose-built, architecturally designed centres accommodating 150+ children with the development including a café, gym, retail and medical facilities.


To explore some of our most recent projects click here:


Can I use my own architect/specialists?

We have one of the largest networks of specialists in the country to work with who are familiar with MoE standards, Council requirements and how childcare centres work and function. In cities across New Zealand, we have architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, acoustic engineers, traffic engineers, contamination experts, service specialists, infrastructure engineers and town planners to guide your resource and building consent applications through Council. While we can work in with your specialists our dedicated team has systems and processes in place which ensures that your consent has been fully considered before being lodged to avoid any unnecessary delays and costs.


what is the Licensing criteria for ECE services?

The regulatory framework for ECE consists of:

The Ministry of Education uses licensing criteria to determine if a service meets the requirements set out in the Education Act and corresponding regulations.

There are different criteria for the different service types.

Establish are the industry leaders in providing comprehensive development services for the childcare sector, including site finding, due-diligence, resource consenting and complete childcare developments.

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