Christchurch's building consent surge creates national high

Level four, biology teaching space of the planned University of Canterbury regional science and innovation centre.
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Level four, biology teaching space of the planned University of Canterbury regional science and innovation centre.

The national value of building consents has hit an all-time high as Christchurch gets set for a string of rich projects.

The city's non residential consents were worth just under $385 million in August, Statistics New Zealand says.

More than $240m of this was from projects linked to central Government. Local government had a share of about $30m and "private or foreign control" just under $110m.

North face of the planned University of Canterbury regional science and innovation centre.

North face of the planned University of Canterbury regional science and innovation centre.

The total value represented 62 per cent of all non-residential consents in New Zealand for the month.

Statistics New Zealand business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said the national value of building consents hit a record high, boosted by a "big chunk" of non residential work in Christchurch.

More than $1.5 billion of building work was consented across New Zealand. A quarter of that value was from from non-residential buildings in Christchurch.

South face of the planned University of Canterbury regional science and innovation centre.

South face of the planned University of Canterbury regional science and innovation centre.

The city's last comparable high was $228m in April 2009 as Christchurch International Airport started a major upgrade.

Official figures show Auckland and Christchurch well ahead of the rest of the country for building consents.

Kelly said consents in Christchurch in August related to offices, hospitals, and university projects.

The single largest consent was the University of Canterbury's Regional Science and Innovation Centre valued of $134m.

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Fletcher Construction, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, is building stage one of the centre. Two buildings are planned in the $216m redevelopment.

A university spokeswoman said the first of the buildings - consented for the $134m - was a 20,000sqm facility housing research laboratories, teaching and support facilities. It would serve five science departments and schools and was due to be ready by March 2017.

The second building, still to be consented, would replace the current Von Haast building and mostly house offices for the College of Science. Planning was under way

In March University Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr said its funding for the science centre was coming from up to $260m in resources and support from the Government.

Statistics New Zealand started recording non-residential consents monthly in 1965. Nationally, the value of non-residential building work consented in August 2015 was $671 million. This was up $229 million (52 percent) compared with the same month in 2014. The regions that consented the most non-residential building work in August 2015 were:

  • Canterbury $419 million (62 percent of the national total)
  • Auckland $77 million (12 percent)
  • Waikato $56 million (8.3 percent).

So far this year, Christchurch had consented $1.2 billion of non-residential building work. This was slightly more than the $1.1 billion of residential work consented over the same period, Kelly said.

Across New Zealand, 2,291 new dwellings were consented in August 2015 - up 11 percent from August 2014.

The regions that consented the most new dwellings in August were:Auckland 741; Canterbury 596 and Waikato 233. The seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented was down 4.9 percent. However, this followed a 20 percent increase in July and the trend was increasing, Statistics New Zealand said.

The landowner types for the consent figures were based on either land owner or building owner. The statistics included both new buildings and building additions.

 - Stuff

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