Christchurch City Council has come under further criticism from developers for pedantic consenting processes slowing the pace of the rebuild (see Radio NZ article here). This brings to light the inherent conflict that exists between consent departments and builders/developers – being the need to ensure compliance without unnecessarily increasing costs of development.
There is rarely a black and white answer in consenting decisions and they often revolve around individual judgment. This is where the conflict arises.
The end of a project is generally the most expensive for developers who will generally have used up a significant portion of their finance and will be keen to generate some revenue from the investment. Notwithstanding this, building consent authorities need to ensure the buildings they certify comply with the code any other regulations, as they almost inevitably find themselves in the gun when legal proceedings are issued.
Over the last month 40% of new commercial projects in Christchurch failed their final sign-off (down from 50% the month before). While this number appears high it is on par with the rate in Auckland. Having recently had their accreditation to issue building consents re-instated it is understandable that the Christchurch City Council will not want to be seen as being relaxed on compliance (click here).
As final sign off can often be a (temporary) stalling point in project timeline it is important to consider how to mitigate the effects should this occur. Possible steps involved could include early engagement with consenting officials and early discussions with financiers.