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Details to include in your property plan

Property plans expand on organisation-level strategic planning to provide details at a functional level. They should be structured for individual agencies, but include certain components.

Components of a good property plan

A property plan should provide:

  • a future view of property requirements – the timeline covered will depend on your investments, programmes and projects, but it should be at least five years, or aligned with your agency's longest lease term
  • an explanation of how the agency’s outcomes, workforce requirements and service delivery strategies are informing and shaping the property requirements
  • a list of proposed actions over the short to medium-term that will support and contribute to the long-term changes required.

The content of your property plan will also depend on other strategic planning – for example, asset management, procurement and workforce planning.

Asset management

We can provide guiding examples of ideal property plans. To request these email the Government Property Group team.

The details of a property plan

Property plans should include:

  • a thorough description of the portfolio and plan, so people reading it can clearly understand what you are planning to deliver
  • how the property plan will support the workforce and service delivery
  • how property planning is informed by workplace strategy or principles
  • how the property portfolio’s budgeted capital and operating costs are integrated with organisational budget and resource planning, and represent value for money
  • the property plan’s high level actions and key milestones along the plan timeline
  • the risks, constraints, dependencies and assumptions your agency has applied during the planning and modelling (including procurement and market assumptions) as well as how these will be managed within its risk management framework
  • the specialist capabilities identified by your agency that can't be resourced internally, and how the property team (with or without the internal procurement team) plans on procuring these
  • the governance arrangements your agency has in place for its property planning and management
  • an overview of the required workplace change, including how the change will be managed across the organisation and how it integrates with workforce and technology change
  • anywhere your agency is collaborating with other agencies – Government Property Group (GPG) and government are promoting more co-locations, integrated property requirements and collaborative projects.

Strategic and operational content

Property plans usually consist of a strategic element and an operational element. These can either be combined into a single property plan – usually for smaller agencies with less complex portfolios – or published as separate strategic and operational property plans for larger, more complex agencies.

Strategic content

The strategic content of the property plan:

  • summarises your agency’s strategic thinking, intentions, goals and target outcomes
  • encompasses All-of-Government (AoG) initiatives, including those led by GPG
  • provides summaries of other strategic plans that interface with property, such as workforce, service delivery and ICT
  • outlines how property will support and align with these related strategies, and details the resulting property requirements over the medium to long-term.

Strategic content should provide a medium to long-term view.

For smaller or less complex agencies with small property requirements, this might be a two to five-year view that aligns with the medium-term planning. In the case of larger or more complex agencies with more property requirements, take a longer-term view and align it with lease periods.

For investment-intensive agencies, include property and lease investments with at least a 10-year view across agencies in your sector.

Strategic content planning could include implementation of benefits management to aid in the identification, tracking and realisation of positive project outcomes. Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury has guidance that can be used by practitioners, decision makers and those implementing benefits management in their organisation.

Benefits guidance – Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury

Operational content

The operational content translates the requirements in the strategic content into an action plan for the short to medium term (usually four or five years).

Actions should be specific and measurable – use the Government Property Portal (GPP) to provide the data for your operational plan.

For example, your agency could be based in the Manawatū region, with your strategy being to expand to take on people from Wellington. In this case, your operational plan might be to work with GPG to identify new opportunities to create or join a co-location hub in the Wellington region when your lease finishes in 2025.

Government Property Portal

Cost modelling and affordability

Any property plans should be informed by appropriate business planning. This ensures the requirements for property and any actions to be undertaken are properly resourced, affordable, and integrated with your agency's budget plans.

Bear in mind that financial commitments which cross a certain threshold may require approval from Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury. Email the Government Property Group team to get further assistance.

It should be clear how you have calculated the costs and affordability of the intentions in the property plan for the next two to five years, and how these costs have been applied within medium-term planning.

Costs should include:

  • rental
  • operating expenses
  • consulting expenses
  • repairs and maintenance
  • cost of change – for example, costs to exit one site and establish a new site, including planning, lease, design and fit-out, make-good and relocation.

Procurement principles and energy efficiency targets

The Government Procurement Rules include principles for agencies to leverage their procurements to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits. Supporting the transition to a net zero emissions economy (including particular focus on reducing emissions from stationary heat) is one of four key initiatives the Government has asked agencies to help achieve.

Property managers can support the government in delivering this priority by monitoring their energy use, and taking steps to improve energy efficiency. Emissions and other sustainability concerns may provide potential reasoning in your plan for leaving or joining a site; it's important to consider how you might handle such issues as you move from planning to implementation.

Energy efficiency standards

The three other priority areas look to improving access for New Zealand business, improving worker conditions, construction skills development and training.

If your plan includes the use of existing buildings, you should use the principles set out in the Government Procurement Rules as your guide. For buildings that don't yet exist, agencies are asked to follow the rules.

Government Procurement Rules – New Zealand Government Procurement

Dealing with uncertainty and change

Change is constant for any agency; property requirements can change, and uncertainty in planning increases with time.

  • The next two to four years are expected to be a well-defined journey.
  • The medium-term view of four to five years should focus on allocating and managing resources to deliver specific outputs. Property requirements in this timeframe will be mostly well defined, and assumptions understood.
  • After year five, plans will be subject to more uncertainty, and this will be reflected in the planning. Detail may not be available to project level, and planning will likely be based on programme level information. The amount of assumptions applied in planning will increase, although the agency should still explain the assumptions used.

Property plans should recognise key agency processes, dependencies or milestones that could significantly impact on property requirements (for example, workforce, operating model or technology changes). Plans should explain how property planning will factor in these dependencies and how planning will be updated in the event of change.

Planning is never a one-off process. As you update your plans over the years, consider what circumstances and requirements have changed over time, as well as thinking about how to plan for the future. Regular reviews can help to remove a lot of uncertainty, including through the added security of knowing your next review is on the horizon.

Wellington City Council have a good example of how agencies can document their assumptions in future planning – see volume 2 of their Long-term Plan 2021-31.

Long-term Plan 2021-31(external link) – Wellington City Council