The Surveyor-General is developing a standard that can be used to define the location of utility assets. The use of this standard should reduce the risk of accidents and the costs of locating and reworking utilities.

The Utility Location Standard will help provide a new framework for recording the location of utility assets.  It is intended to provide positions that are sufficiently accurate for future needs. It is no longer acceptable to have the locations of expensive or potentially hazardous assets inaccurately defined.

The utility sector is very diverse, so this standard will be a national standard that can be applied locally. It is intended to provide consistency and confidence in the positional information of assets to assist relocation and design planning.  

The Standard is intended to be used by contractors, surveyors and engineers who undertake the actual survey and measurement of the assets (producing ‘as-builts’). It will enable a utility organisation or asset manager to specify that this standard must be used when recording the location of new or maintained assets (in contracts for example).

The Standard requires positions to be defined in three dimensions, using the NZ Vertical Datum 2016 (NZVD2016).  It defines the position of a utility in terms of the geodetic control network, instead of in terms of property boundaries. This is the same network used to define the position of property boundaries.  Virtually all modern spatial data, including aerial imagery, uses this framework – which ensures it can be accurately integrated and spatially overlaid. The Standard also specifies accuracy classes.

We invited feedback on drafts from interested organisations and individuals working for utility providers, territorial authorities and developers. We have received submissions from the fields of asset management, engineering, survey, GIS and construction.


Once this feedback has been assessed and any necessary changes made, we will post a final version of the Standard on this website by mid-2021.

While its use will not be mandatory, the feedback we received during the development process gives us confidence that it will be readily adopted into future utility location practice.


Draft Utility Location Standard (PDF 378KB)

Last Updated: 26 February 2021