Raising the bar in building consent processing

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Building and Construction Minister Clayton Cosgrove has announced the next step in helping local authorities gear up to meet new requirements to raise the standard and efficiency of building consent processing.

From November 30, 2007, territorial and regional authorities must be audited and accredited as Building Consent Authorities before they can undertake any building consent processing, inspections and approvals.

The reforms come in the wake of problems such as the consenting of leaky homes and substandard building work.
In October last year Mr Cosgrove announced a $3 million assistance package to help local authorities prepare to meet the accreditation standards.
“A funding framework has now been developed following extensive consultation with local authorities, the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand and other industry groups,” he said.

The $3 million package includes $2.3 million available in the period to June 30, 2007, with the remaining $700,000 to be spread across the following two years.
Mr Cosgrove said that later this month, each local authority will be offered the services of a Department of Building and Housing advisor to help them prepare for accreditation.

In March and May 2007, two rounds of workshops for local authorities are planned to further clarify and assist with the process.
Councils will also be sent information packs detailing eligibility criteria for project assistance and other funding details. Various funding rounds will be available from next month, with the designated advisors able to assist.

“The Government is committed to helping local authorities raise the bar on their consenting and inspection services, to the benefit of all New Zealanders who undertake building work,” Mr Cosgrove says.

Many local authorities have already been working hard to raise standards, but now all councils had to come up to the mark, he says.
“A home is generally the biggest investment that Kiwis make, so it’s crucial people know the house they buy has been properly inspected and built right the first time.”