Council might increase consent fees 3%

Last updated 11:06 12/12/2013

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The Marlborough District Council will consider increasing building consent fees by 3 per cent a year.

The council environment committee accepted a recommendation from building control group leader Bill East that the fees be stepped up 3 per cent a year for three years from July 2014, depending on results of community consultation.

The council was struggling to process consent applications in the required 17-18 days, Mr East said. Some building control tasks had accumulated to the point where the council might fail accreditation in May next year.

"You will be well aware of what happened to Christchurch when they couldn't maintain consent processing," he said at a council environment committee meeting late last month.

International Accreditation New Zealand revoked accreditation of consenting by the Christchurch council in July, resulting in the appointment of a Crown manager to run the department.

The council received 1189 building consent applications in 2012-13 and a similar number was expected this year.

The group had employed two extra staff to address a backlog and had to recoup this cost, Mr East said. Also, monitoring of swimming pool fencing, building warrants of fitness and compliance for public buildings was being contracted out.

Mr East also recommended that the council create new bands of consent fees for work costing $20,001-$50,9000 and $50,001-100,000.

A flat fee system introduced in July was working well but the jump between $20,001 and $100,000 had proved too big, prompting applicants to lower the value of projects to sneak into the lower band, he said.

Mr East told the Express that the number of consent applications had fallen but work required by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment on each continued to grow. New dam rules and regulations and assessing buildings' earthquake risk could also lift the workload.

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- The Marlborough Express


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