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More consents processed quicker

More consents processed quicker

Consents for building, land use and subdivisions are being processed more efficiently now in North Shore City.

The council has made good progress since a review last year which led to changes in the way it operates and the level of staff.

Regulatory and hearings committee chairperson, Gary Holmes, says the improvement is a credit to a team which rose to the challenges of processing a record number of applications and the weathertightness issue.

"It's been tough over the last year with the leaky building problem, real estate boom, rising costs and new legislation, but we're getting on top of it," he says.

"Since we addressed resourcing and put new processes in place, we've seen a substantial improvement."

North Shore City environmental services general manager, Alison Geddes, says the council is working extremely hard to process often complex environmental consent applications under challenging market conditions.

"Our review identified that we needed 22 more staff to consistently meet the statutory timeframes for processing consents," she says.

"Like other local authorities in the Auckland region, we have found it difficult to recruit staff such as building inspectors, engineers and planners."

Ms Geddes says it is a classic case of demand and supply.

"The demands on us to process consents remain high. The professional skills of the experts we employ are also in great demand. There is limited supply of these resources but our talented staff are working hard and smart to do the business," she says.

The resourcing issue is being addressed and the results show improved performance.

>From February to June this year the number of land use consents that were processed on time went up by 25 per cent.

For building consents the success rate was up by nine per cent, and for subdivisions, which take the most time and resources, it increased by 20 per cent.

In total North Shore City Council processed 5019 building consents between July 2003 and June 2004, 11 per cent more than for the previous 12-month period.

The number of building inspections also jumped up by 10 per cent in that timeframe, from 18,569 to 20,476.

Alison Geddes says it is pleasing to see that the changes made have had a positive effect and people are now getting improved service as a result.

"We have set our performance targets and will continue our efforts to achieve these. With the tight labour market and growth in consents, it makes our job all the more challenging," she says.

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