Councils help ease consent pressures

Last updated 08:00 30/01/2013
chris english
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
Timaru District Council regulatory services manager Chris English

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Timaru District Council is outsourcing some of its building consent work to other councils because of an increase in consent applications and staffing constraints.

The situation is not unique to Timaru and it is one the council's regulatory services manager, Chris English, says will not be permanent.

The council had opted to outsource some of the work as the number of consent applications received by the council last year was significantly higher than in 2011.

"We also had a BCO [building control officer] resignation late last year which put pressure on the team," Mr English said. That person's replacement starts work next week. Another staff member had also been employed to process building consents. "Once these two staff are familiar with their roles no consents will be outsourced.

"We are also confident that with the additional consent processing resource, clients will notice a significant improvement in service delivery from the building services team and Timaru District Council will be able to process all consents well within the statutory timeframe."

Timaru's residential building consent figures for 2012 were the highest in nearly four years. Statistics New Zealand's housing and building survey for the year ending October 2012, showed 183 consents, with a value of $50.7 million, were issued, the largest number of new home consents since the October 2007-08 period, when there were 198 consents, valued at $51.1m.

Mr English said both Selwyn District and Christchurch City Council were having to outsource consent work at present. He said the pressure on council building services staff was widespread due to both increased activity and a shortage of qualified building control officers.

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- The Timaru Herald

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