Christchurch building consents point to growth

More than $500 million in new commercial building projects have been consented in Christchurch over the past 12 months - the highest amount in the last six years.

Major commercial projects are classed by the Christchurch City Council as those where the value of consented building work is more than $1m.

In the 12 months from March 2012 and the end of February 2013 it has granted building consents for 169 major projects worth a combined $528.8m. That is $98m more than in the same period in 2009-2010 when the redevelopment of Christchurch International Airport pushed the total value of works over that timeframe to $430.7m.

The projects consented over the past 12 months were spread out across the city, with 40 of them sited within the four avenues.

Council planning committee chairwoman Cr Sue Wells said the spike in commercial building activity was positive news for the business sector and the local economy.

"The combination of a confident, determined private sector and hard work from the council on processing consents can only be good for the local economy," Wells said.

Council consenting staff were now processing 92 per cent of all commercial consents within the 20-day statutory timeframe and staff were committed to reaching the 100 per cent target set by councillors.

Wells said closer examination of processing times for major commercial projects showed that when no further information was required from the applicant, which meant they had submitted a complete and technically accurate application, the council was processing applications in an average of 15 days, five days ahead of the required timeframe.

"Major commercial projects tend to be rebuilds with complex technical requirements," Wells said.

"I really recommend a pre-application meeting as one of the best ways to find out what to include in an application and to get the council staff and applicants around the table early on in the project."