Boom in building consents

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013

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With the rebuild ramping up, the Christchurch City Council is struggling to find enough qualified people to process the hundreds of building consent applications it receives each month.

Building activity in the city has jumped markedly in the past four months, with the number of consent applications now at levels unseen since the peak of the 2007 building boom.

Many applications then were for minor building work that is now exempt from building consent requirements.

The council is dealing with a similar volume of applications, but the work is complex residential earthquake repairs and rebuilds.

Council building operations manager Ethan Stetson said recruiting enough building consent officers to handle the workload was proving difficult.

"Time after time we have been to the market seeking good-quality, experienced building consent officers, and we find very few suitably qualified candidates," he said.

The council was looking to recruit cadets and to identify staff who were familiar with the Building Act and the building code.

The council has set itself the target of processing all building consent applications in less than 20 days, but figures due to be considered by its planning committee today show it is struggling to meet that goal.

Only 93 to 95 per cent of the applications received over the past three months have been processed within that time frame.

Planning committee chairwoman Sue Wells said the committee was keen to discuss with management ways to lift performance.

In the past three months, the council granted consent to more than $375 million of building work.

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- The Press

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