Consents Up 50%, Council Commissions External Review Of Building Services

Nov 09, 2018

The Invercargill City Council has seen a 50 per cent increase in building
consent values compared to the same time last year.

Building Services Manager Brendan Monaghan said between July 1 and
October 31, Council received 584 applications valued at $46,056,403, up from
486 applications valued at $29,948,165 during the same period in 2017.

Mr Monaghan said the value of the applications for residential building
consents was in line with previous years, but the total value of the consent
applications was increased by major commercial developments.

The value of residential building consents applied for was about $19 million,
while the value of commercial building consents was $22m, which was
unusual, he said.

“Usually we see the total value of commercial building consents is about half
the value of residential consents applied for.”

There was also an increase in applications for building consents in relation to
solid fuel heaters, as people install heating which complies with the Regional
Air Plan, Mr Monaghan said.

Meanwhile, Council has commissioned an external review of Building
Services, as councils throughout the country experience a shortage in building
control officers.

Council Chief Executive Clare Hadley said it was acknowledged industry-wide
there was an issue for councils to attract and retain skilled building control
staff in the present labour market.

“Across the country, building inspectors are leaving council employment and
becoming contractors – seeing the opportunity to earn higher incomes for a
period,” Mrs Hadley said.

This meant Invercargill City Council was considering investing in technology to
assist in processing consent applications, and looking at different software to
enable electronic lodgement of building consents.

Mrs Hadley said the external review should identify options for improvements
to Council’s approach to processing and inspections, and that it will provide
guidance on how to use various strategies to increase resources available to
Building Services.

It is expected the external review will be completed by the end of November.
Mrs Hadley said Council was committed to a strong customer focus, and to
investing in training and technology for staff to ensure the best experience
possible for those customers.

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