Hillside Properties

Structural Design for Residential Hillside Properties

Eliot Sinclair have a long history of working on hillside properties on the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula, so we understand the issues faced by clients undertaking a building project on hill properties. As well as structural engineers, we have geotechnical engineers, CAD draughting teams,  soil technicians, planners, and surveyors to make your project a reality.

Feasibility and Concept Development

Typically our involvement starts during the early stages of a project, working in conjunction with your architect to incorporate the structure into the architectural framework of the house. This achieves our client’s desired look, whilst still incorporating a robust structural system to handle earthquakes, as well as high winds and snow which can be encountered in hillside locations.

At this stage, together with our in-house geotechnical engineers, we can also advise on retaining walls both integral to the house and to support driveways or other site requirements.

Our planners and surveyors can be involved to advise on property and planning issues if required. These are best identified in the early stages as later rectification can result in significant redesign.

Design Through To Building Consent

Following the development of a feasible concept, we work with your architect to provide a structural design. Depending on the extent of the structural drawings required, we will either use our in-house CAD draughting capability to produce a stand-alone set of structural drawings, or work with your architect to incorporate the structure into their drawings.

Attention to detail during this stage of the project will generally ensure a smooth path through the building consent process, resulting in lower consenting fees and faster issue of consent.

Construction Monitoring

Due to the complexity of the structural requirements of hillside properties, there is usually a requirement in the Building Consent for the structural engineer to inspect the building during construction.

With the high level of experience in our team, this phase represents a further opportunity for avoiding potential cost overruns. We not only inspect the work which we have designed, but identify other potential construction issues. By looking ahead at each stage of the construction process, we can identify and mitigate problems at an early stage, avoiding expensive re-work.


Eliot Sinclair have the experience and expertise to make your hill property dream a reality.


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Bulletin 150303:Structural Design for Residential Hillside Properties, written by Brendan O’Connor 

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