South Taranaki: Increase in new homes delays consent process

by Roxanne Libatique22 Jun 2021

South Taranaki is facing a dramatic increase in new homes, leaving builders to wait up to twice as long as usual for consent approval as South Taranaki District Council (STDC) remains flooded with demand.

Hāwera building company owner Roger Prestidge said the council was supposed to have completed processing consents in 21 working days. However, he waited for 41 days for his last consent process.

“It has been a handbrake on our process,” Prestidge said, as reported by Stuff. “I have four or five builds on at once and can carry on through, but if I were a one-man band, I’d really be screaming at them.”

“They are trying hard with what they’ve got, but there’s definitely not enough staff there,” he added.

STDC group manager of environmental services Liam Dagg confirmed that all three councils are already employing contractors to help process the consents. However, more complicated consents and a rise in the total number of consent requests has caused delays.

“There’s been a spike in the number of new houses. That’s what’s affecting time frames,” Dagg said, as reported by Stuff. “The amount of complexity that comes with a house is very different to a pole shed or a fireplace.”

Dagg explained that the nationwide demand made it more difficult to recruit new staff to help with the consent process as they often needed ongoing training.

“The days of a builder coming off the tools and becoming a building inspector are long gone. If you are under the age of 60, you’ll have to go through national qualifications, which impacts on our work when they have to go off on a block course every couple of months to get their papers,” he added.

“We have had to resort to engaging external contractors to process consents. Given the national upsurge of consents, external contractors are turning away us away.”

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