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Consent Delays Add to Affordability Problem

20 February 2008


Consent Delays Add to the Housing Affordability Problem


“Certified Builders Association of New Zealand (CBANZ) welcomes all initiatives to improve the delays in the building consent and compliance processes” says CBANZ CEO Derek Baxter.

“It is frustrating for builders that the numbers of consents are in decline yet the time taken to process them is getting longer”.

“CBANZ has quite a number of builders with staff unable to commence work while they wait for approvals. A builder’s staff still need to be paid and those costs eventually get passed on to the consumers” he says.

“What is making builders angry is that all of those consent applications had a big cheque attached for payment in advance, yet the building control managers are not given the flexibility to employ the extra staff to cover the workload, or pay appropriate salaries to attract quality staff”.

“An additional frustration is the 4-5 days delay in some parts of the country for getting on-site inspections; again staff still need to be paid while they wait for officials to turn up” he says.

Relationships between the guys on the site is generally very good with both builders and inspectors quick to discuss new technologies and processes as they emerge in the industry.

All of these issues combine to create a stop-start inefficient workflow, adding costs to the very complex housing affordability problem.

CBANZ has raised this with Shane Jones (Minister for Building and Construction) and he seems to acknowledge the problem and is now consulting widely to seek out solutions.

CBANZ members are committed to improving relationships between builders and building officials and regularly schedule meetings at a local level to discuss changes and improvements.

“For some years now all parties have been working to try and improve the quality and level of detail in plans and documentation, this will be an ongoing process” he says “but while many councils are facing massive liability for past issues, they have to balance the demands of the formal legislation and the requirements of their insurance underwriters” he says.

“An idea CBANZ would like to see further explored is the centralising of what is a largely mechanical process of plan checking, freeing up local government to focus on district and regional plan considerations” Baxter says.


ENDS


Background.

Certified Builders Association of New Zealand (CBANZ) is an association of trade qualified builders. All members must have completed a formal qualification in construction.

CBANZ has over 1500 companies that operate mostly in the residential and light commercial parts of the construction industry.

It is estimated that CBANZ members have a combined turnover of over $2billion.

All CBANZ members are required to offer the Homefirst Builders Guarantee on new residential construction. This 10 year guarantee covers loss of deposit, guaranteed completion and structural warranties. Other guarantees are available for additions and alterations, and labour only construction.

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