Concerns over the Quality of Building in Auckland

Ian McCormick, who oversees building consent for Auckland Council, recently warned a parliamentary select committee that the industry is struggling with significant quality issues, as evidenced by the fact that between 25 and 40 per cent of all building inspections have continued to fail (see an earlier post on the high level of final inspection failures in Christchurch).

While building consents have risen under the mandate of Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith, Auckland has been suffering from a shortage of skilled workers. Often, Mr McCormick said, the issue is with good builders failing to properly supervise subcontractors.

Dean Kimpton, Auckland Council’s chief operating officer, has made clear his view that the 1000 building consents a month target set by Dr Smith is not viable: “You only have a certain number of developers … it is not just about land supply and ability to process consents.”

Even Dr Smith admitted to the New Zealand Herald that the increased number of building consents brought a risk of poor workmanship. However, he suggested that the problem could be alleviated through increasing the number of building inspectors. Labour’s Housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the Government needed to have increased polytech enrolments and to have implemented a Government-backed building programme years ago, but had instead “sat on its hands”.

The New Zealand Herald article can be found here.

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