Sweetener for rebuild staff

Last updated 05:00 12/05/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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It pays to be a building inspector in quake-hit Christchurch.

The city council has sprung more than $400,000 for an across-the-board 15 per cent pay rise in a bid to hold on to its staff.

The pay rise is revealed in a damning report on the council's consenting processes.

The December 2011 report by the Department of Building and Housing says the council had been "experiencing staff retention issues" in the building area.

"Headhunting" of building officials by the private sector was cited as the main problem, with Fletchers and Hawkins singled out by the council.

"A staff retention package has been implemented and has helped stem the flow of staff being attracted to major construction firms," the report states. "A key feature of this package was a permanent 15 per cent remuneration increase for building consent officers, building inspectors and building engineers."

The council was at the time looking to recruit and train up to 15 new inspectors to deal with increased workloads once the rebuild began in earnest.

This week, the council's general manager of human resources, Chris Till, said that after last February's quake the council had introduced a retention and recruitment policy for "critical positions".

"The intention was to support managers experiencing significant difficulty retaining or attracting staff into key earthquake recovery roles that are subject to significant headcount buildup and are challenging to recruit and retain," Till said.

Only permanent council employees in key areas for earthquake recovery were eligible for the package.

"This supports the pressing need to significantly increase sufficient numbers of qualified staff within a tight time frame," he said.

The 15 per cent pay rise on basic pay had so far only been applied for building consent officers, building inspectors and associated team leaders and managers. The total amount paid to date for the retention allowance was $404,087.

"The bottom line is to ensure that the consents flow for the central city rebuild without compromising quality," Till said.

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