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Council retains accreditation as Building Consent Authority

Council retains accreditation as Building Consent Authority

Queenstown Lakes District Council has retained full accreditation as a Building Consent Authority after a year of continuous improvement.

Tony Avery, the Council’s General Manager of Planning and Development, said that IANZ had confirmed that both the minor corrective actions requested after the most recent audit were completed satisfactorily. One was to ensure that amendments to building consent applications were not issued with separate code compliance certificates. The other required a review and revision of the way specified systems were described.

“Our team has worked extremely hard to improve systems and processes in the last year and make sure that we meet the high standards required to maintain accreditation as a Building Consent Authority,” Mr Avery said.

Constant growth means that QLDC’s building control team remains one of the busiest in the country, with applications for building consents rising year on year. Last year the Council received 1793 applications compared with 1623 received in 2015, and 1408 in 2014.

The Council has hired extra staff, brought in contractors and streamlined its internal processes in response to the demand.

Mr Avery said that in spite of those efforts and staff working overtime, the Council was still struggling to keep up with the flow of applications and was not always able to meet the 20-day processing time for building consents.

“We recognise the disruption this causes to the building industry and we are doing everything we can to process applications within the statutory deadlines.”

Average processing times were close to the required 20-day turnaround time at the end of last year, but an influx of applications before Christmas meant that staff were not currently able to keep up with demand. There is now a backlog and Mr Avery said that unfortunately processing times were increasing. “That means there will inevitably be a delay in some people getting their consent applications approved.

People could help themselves by checking that all applications for building consents were fully completed and supported by the right documentation before they submitted them, and by lodging their applications well in advance of when they were intending to build.

The increased number of applications would also flow on to higher demand for building inspections, and Mr Avery said that builders were being advised to plan ahead and book inspections as early as possible to minimise delays.

Mr Avery said QLDC was recruiting more qualified and experienced building control staff, in a highly competitive national market.

ENDS

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