Building consents soar for housing

The number and value of building consents for houses in Central Otago have soared over the past two years.

The total number of building consents processed by the Central Otago District Council had grown significantly since the July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 year, when 770 consents worth $84.9million were issued, council planning and environment manager Louise van der Voort said.

For the 2015-16 year 843 building consents worth $117million were issued, and from July 1, 2016 to March 29 this year 738 building consents worth $141.9million have been issued.

Ms van der Voort said one of the main contributors to the increase was building consents for dwellings.

In 2014-15 building consents for 149 dwellings worth $51.6million were issued. This went up to 222 consents worth $78.5million in 2015-16. So far this year, from July 1 2016 to March 29 2017, 282 dwelling consents worth $101.4million have been issued.

The increased number of consents had impacted on council staff workloads and more staff had been employed in both the building and planning departments, Ms van der Voort said.

Another building control officer had been employed, taking the number of building control officers at the council to eight, and an additional planning officer had been employed.

There were now four in the planning team, a planning team leader, two planning officers and a consents officer.

Ms van der Voort said the building and planning departments were ''really busy'', but staff were managing to process most consents within statutory timeframes. 100% of building consents for 2014-15 were processed within statutory timeframes, 99.64% of building consents for 2015-16, and 99.32% of building consents for the 2016-17 year so far.

For resource consents, 95.32% were processed within statutory timeframes in 2014-15, 99.07% in 2015-16 and 97.83% for the 2016-17 year so far.

Council planning and environment committee chairman and hearings panel member Neil Gillespie said the building consents were ''telling us what we already know''.

''Those in the building industry are going flat out, they've increased the numbers of staff they've taken on and it's as busy in the construction sector as it's ever been. It's all go; you've only got to go for a drive and see the new houses going up, staff being taken on and businesses expanding.''

He said it was a testament to council planning and building staff that they were keeping up with consents.

''Hats off to them.''

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