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Consent applications could take up to 50 days

6 July 2005

Consent applications could take up to 50 days

Auckland City Council is advising customers that building consent applications are taking up to 50 working days to process.

Jenny Oxley, group manager of Auckland City Environments, says it is important customers know what the realistic timeframes are so they can plan their development projects accordingly.

“We know the delays in processing consent applications are a source of frustration for many of our customers. While we don’t have a quick fix solution, we want them to know what they can realistically expect,” she says.

Ms Oxley said the delays have been caused by a combination of factors.

“It’s no secret that Auckland’s construction boom and a nationwide shortage of skilled staff have been delaying the processing of consent applications for some time now. However, the situation has been made more complex by the introduction of the Building Act 2004 in March this year.”

The 2004 act requires more detailed information to be submitted with a building consent application. This information ensures that all building code requirements are met, particularly in relation to weathertightness, and to avoid unnecessary risk to ratepayers in the future.

The impact of this on Auckland City Environments has been threefold: firstly, more time is needed to process the additional information supplied secondly, the information that is required to be submitted with a consent application is often not being supplied in full. This means the consent goes on hold while staff wait for and then assess the additional information thirdly, a Project Information Memorandum (PIM) is now also required for every building consent (a PIM is a report generated by Auckland City that identifies site-specific features relevant to the development proposal).

Ms Oxley said a number of measures have been introduced to try to address the situation: an ongoing national and international recruitment drive for skilled staff is continuing. So far, the recruitment process has resulted in six new staff joining the building inspections and consents teams. consultants have been brought in as a temporary additional resource and staff are working weekends internal processes are being examined to try to identify areas where improvements could be made.

Ms Oxley said applicants could help speed up the process by providing all the information required.

“If staff request additional information, the application goes on hold. Information often left off applications include specific details on drainage, stormwater, materials, cladding detailing and fire engineering requirements.

“We also encourage customers to apply for their PIM before the building consent and have a pre-lodgement meeting for complex consents, as this will save unnecessary delays while such things as drainage, planning and redesign are being assessed,” said Ms Oxley.

“We know the delays have been frustrating for many of our customers, but we’re asking for their patience and cooperation while we strive to get our 20 day timeframe back on track.”

ENDS

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