Partnership promotes faster consents turnaround

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In a ground-breaking partnership between the Hamilton City Council and Generation Homes, building consents will be issued within 48 hours and the number of required building inspections reduced considerably.

The first building development from the elite partnership between Generation Homes and the council is the Edgeview subdivision in the Hamilton suburb of Glenview.
The initiative is described as a “win-win” for everyone.
Generation Homes Waikato director Alana Savage says the partnership shifts the emphasis on compliance away from the local authority to the developer, who must meet certain partnership criteria.

Some of these include having a recognised history of excellence in the construction industry, being a member of a recognised organisation that expects superior construction standards of its members, (this includes quality control measures and complaints processes), having sufficient insurances for public liability and professional indemnity, and using local authority-approved subcontractors.

Ms Savage says Generation Homes has been approved for the Gold Card level of partnership, the top level currently on offer.
“The Gold Card means that not only are we able and committed to processing building consents in 48 hours and are authorised to manage the inspection regime, we also offer a range of recognised sustainability options,” she says.

Hamilton City Council building control manager Phil Saunders says  that “without being too cliched, the partnership is a win-win for all parties”.
“Only top-quality companies achieve Gold Card status,” he says. “The process is streamlined for the developers and home owners while, as a local authority, we have the surety that our customers — and home owners are our customers — are going to get a top-notch service and product, and that we are going to get improved compliance with the building code.
“Our time frames will come back, plus we are still getting the best possible quality assurance,” Mr Saunders says.

The lead-in time for consent applications will be dramatically reduced. This process generally takes between seven and 12 weeks for the developer/builder.
The partnership programme will cut the actual time frame for producing a building consent from up to 20 days down to 48 hours.
“With lead-in times reduced and surety of time frames around consents, this effectively means our customers can build more buildings, more quickly and make significant cost savings,” Mr Saunders says.

For example, if the local industry is busy then demand on council resources is high, making it difficult to get early bookings, he says. The programme allows for the successful partner to manage their own inspection regime, with the council being positioned well ahead of time.
There may be some reduction in processing costs, but Mr Saunders says this is not what the partnership programme is all about.

“It’s about getting a better end product, more quickly, with more certainty of quality.”
He says it particularly suits a developer who is building a large volume of similar homes, because it allows them to build quality homes more quickly.