In August last year, we outlined the Christchurch City Council’s efforts to regain its accreditation as a building consent authority following the revocation of its accreditation in July 2013. International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) had been concerned that the CCC’s building consent processes failed to meet the required standard, in part due to large delays.
The CCC remained on the register of building consent authorities administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and accordingly was able to continue to issue consents throughout this period. However, Crown Manager Doug Martin was appointed to assist the CCC in improving its processes.
Accreditation was reinstated in December, at which stage the Crown Manager’s appointment came to an end. His final report was released today by Local Government Minister Paula Bennett and Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith, running through the substantial progress made by the CCC. (To read the report in full, click here.)The rate of new house consenting is three times that of the normal rate last year. Building Control and City Rebuild Director Peter Sparrow points to further processing figures illustrating that the changes have had the desired impact – last month 99% of the 917 consents processed were completed within the required 20 days.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel states that the report makes clear that there is ‘no requirement or justification for further intervention by the Minister. It is an endorsement of our plan for further improvement’. The report does make some recommendations to the Council and the Government. In respect of the Council, the report recommends quarterly reporting to relevant ministers throughout 2015, and a further review of building inspection operations, with a view to creating a more effective and efficient inspection function.
Recommendations to the Government are:
- Consider further developing the CCC’s streamline consenting system, initially focused on building consents for low risk residential builders
- Develop and implement a plan to raise the quality of consent applications
- Engaging with selected councils to pilot or trial new initiatives or innovations to inform further policy, training and guidance development.
While complimentary of the CCC’s progress, the report notes that the post-quake environment remains challenging and that the rebuild will continue to put pressure on local authorities. It will be interesting to see what traction, if any, the recommendations to the Government regarding the trialling of new initiatives to promote efficient consenting processes get.
To read more about the above, see the following articles: ‘CCC consent processing back on track’, ‘Council projects address Crown Manager recommendations’.