A series of measures to try to speed up the processing of
building consents has been outlined by Dunedin City Council
senior management, but they warn the problem not will be fixed
Dunedin builders last week publicly expressed frustration
about the present situation where the council is taking more
than the statutory timeframe of 20 working days to process
about a third of consent applications and up to 39 working
days in some cases.
Building services staff said the delays were caused by a
combination of a shortage of trained staff - also being
experienced nationally and made worse by the Christchurch
demands - and other building consent authorities (BCAs) being
unavailable, due to their own workloads, to help process
The latter is usual practice for BCAs when they have more
applications on hand than they can deal with within the
Late last week, chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said council
senior management appreciated the issues the building
services department faced and were endeavouring to supply
more resources to speed up processing times.
Several measures were in hand, acting services and
development general manager Nicola Pinfold said. Auckland BCA
company Professional Building Consultants, had been
commissioned to process 20 DCC consents.
The company was unable to process any more at this stage, but
if that changed, the DCC would send as many consents to the
authority as it could process, she said.
The council also heard on Friday from another BCA that now
had some spare capacity and staff were discussing how many
DCC consents it might take on.
Also, a staff member was being reallocated and trained
specifically to process the Project Information Memorandum
part of the consents, to speed up the processing.
And the council was looking at bringing in a person to do a
more rigorous scrutiny of applications before consents were
lodged, so missing information could be identified and acted
In the longer term, it was considering establishing a cadet
scheme, under which it would train appropriate people, such
as graduates from appropriate Otago Polytechnic or University
of Otago courses, on the job.
''It will take longer to see the benefits of that, but this
is not a problem we are going to solve overnight,'' Ms
Both she and Dr Bidrose had spoken to various people in the
building industry about the situation, she said.
Asked about possible reimbursements to people who faced extra
costs due to delays in consents being issued, she said that
was not something the council was considering.
Staff had asked other authorities which issued consents if
they did that, and found none did.