Frustrated builders say the
Christchurch City Council is still taking far too long to
issue consents, more than two months after Crown manager Doug
Martin was appointed to fix the crisis.
Mr Martin took over on July 15 after the city council's
accreditation to issue building consents was revoked by
International Accreditation New Zealand.
A city council newsletter on August 1 headed "Full Steam
Ahead for Crown Manager and Council"stated that the city
could expect "fast effective change to all aspects"of
building consent functions.
But builders contacted by The Star this week said they had
noticed little change and were still waiting far too long for
consents to be approved.
Canterbury Registered Master Builders' Association president
Clive Barrington said business was "cranking up"amid the
city's rebuild but consenting was holding things back.
"They're still very slow to be processed," he said.
Mr Barrington said his company, Barrington Construction Ltd,
had a large number of residential consents waiting for
"Some have been waiting an unacceptably long time - three to
four months - and we've been waiting for one for over four
months," he said.
"It puts pressure on our staff."
Mr Barrington said building activity now was similar to a
boom period in 2004 "but consenting is slower than it was
"Nothing's really changed. It's still too slow. I guess the
council is working through the issues and that will take a
while, but it's not good enough," he said.
The Star asked the city council how many consents were
waiting to be processed, how long building companies could
expect to wait and the average time it was taking from
lodging a consent to it being granted. But they couldn't give
A spokeswoman said the city council was "still developing its
reporting capabilities to ensure its systems and processes
"We therefore cannot collate this information at this time."
Several builders contacted this week were reluctant to speak
on the record, fearing a city council backlash could further
delay their consent applications.
But they confirmed consents for both commercial and
residential buildings were taking much longer than expected.
One company director said he'd been waiting 2-1/2 months for
a consent for a central city building his company was wanting
to construct for itself.
Another company director who asked not to be named said said
consents were taking close to 70 days to be processed.
He acknowledged the city council was being up front with
companies by keeping them informed, but he said the situation
was "still not good".
Other builders said they were frustrated by the city council
seeking the answers to pedantic questions at the last minute.
Paul Southorn, of Southbuild 1996 Ltd, said delays were
"Overall, there's been no improvement really," he said.
"Wading through the whole layer of bureaucracy is
frustrating. Banging in the nails is the easy part. It used
to be the hard part."
- By Cullen Smith of
The Christchurch Star