Building consent delays frustrate builders

by Roxanne Libatique12 Sep 2019

It seems a lot of builders are frustrated at councils for building consent delays – with some commenting that it’s now easier and quicker to build a house than it is to get building consent.

Since the leaky home scandal and the Christchurch earthquake, some builders noticed that building consents have become so burdensome to the point of being “encyclopaedic” in the amount of information and details they’re required to submit.

Marc Hunter, managing director at Latitude Homes, said that the statutory time frame for the completion of consents may be 20 days but they still waited an excruciating eight to 12 weeks due to councils frequently asking for more information at the last minute – also known as Request for Information (RFI).

"The issue is that on the 19th day, 98 per cent of the time we will receive an RFI letter from the council," Hunter said.

RFIs stop the clock on the 20-day consent process then resume once the information is received.

Read more: Consent figures skyrocket in July 2019

Bruce Martin, director at A1 Homes for the Lower North Island, said consent application used to have only eight pages with maybe 50 pages of documentation compared to “thousands of pieces of paper” nowadays.

"15 years ago it was a piece of cake but now it's easier to build a house than it is to get building consent," Martin said.

Peter Laurenson, manager project assessment south at Auckland Council, said it currently takes an average of 15 working days to process building consents. However, when the clock stops for an RFI, it would usually take the customer 19 days to respond – taking the average number of days for consent to 34.

He added that 77% of all applications required them to request further information, which might be “one of the largest contributing factors to delays with the overall process.”

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