Building consent values jump
Southerners are building less but building bigger.
Figures obtained by The Southland Times from three Southland councils reveal fewer building consents were granted in 2013-14 than the previous year but consent values are well up.
Consent values have jumped the highest in Southland district, where overall values rose almost $25 million.
In Gore, values jumped more than $12m despite the council recording a small reduction in the number of consents granted.
However, the Invercargill City Council has bucked the trend, with the number of consents granted and total value of those consents down.
Venture Southland group manager enterprise and strategic projects Steve Canny said the value and type of consents granted gave a snapshot of what was coming up for the Southland economy.
Consents were granted before money was spent, Canny said.
Southland Chamber of Commerce president Sean Woodward said he expected the consent values increase related to dairy farming, with new conversions probably resulting in new farm buildings and homes.
He said the commercial building market in Invercargill was still flat, with a lot of empty buildings in the town, so he understood why the Invercargill City Council consent numbers and values were down.
"I think the economy is still buoyant . . . [but] the recent dairy payout decision shows we do need diversification."
Southland could not rely on dairying and the Tiwai smelter to keep the economy afloat, Woodward said.
Gore District Council building control manager Russell Paterson said granted consents were a mix of residential alterations, farm buildings, and commercial alterations, including earthquake strengthening of existing buildings.
"The value has increased dramatically due to the more-advanced designs commonly submitted now and also the one-off substantial developments that attract a higher price tag to construct," he said.
Henderson Construction Ltd owner operator Brent Henderson said his business catered for mostly commercial development in Invercargill.
While the year had been slow to start, some bigger contracts were coming up for tender now, he said.
Henderson said he also did a lot of earthquake strengthening work.
Ajax Building Contractors Ltd owner-operator Greg McIntosh said most of the Gore company's work was in the dairy and farming industry.
Work during the past year had been steady with many wintering sheds, worth about $1m, being built.
Larger houses were being built in the area, perhaps for retired farmers, that would cost about $800,000 or more, he said.
Building costs had increased, and might have contributed to the consent values jumping, Henderson said.
Gore District Council
Building consents granted: 454
Value of consents: $21,029,361
Building consents granted: 373
Value of consents:$33,274,618
Southland District Council
Building consents granted: 1144
Value of consents: About $73 million
Number of building consents granted: 1120
Value of consents: about $97.5 million
Invercargill City Council
Building consents granted: 1408
Value of consents: $102,143,382
Building consents granted: 1225
Value of consents: $96,078,200
The Southland Times