Building consent fees hike mooted

Non-compliant building inspections and poor quality building consent applications may hit offenders in the pocket under a Waitaki District Council proposal.

The council will consider hiking department fees and charges, potentially from the start of the 2020-21 financial year.

A statement said the proposed bump was driven by an increased number of failed inspections and applications that did not meet council standards.

If the move is approved by councillors, offenders may pay more as a result, the statement said.

One group paying more would be those who are non-compliant or those who present poor quality applications.

Council building services manager Roger Cook stressed not all applications were poor.

He said the most common issues the council encountered were incomplete applications missing required information; missing design detail; inconsistent detail and the use of "cut and paste" from other designs; an oversupply of specification documentation — such as the inclusion of the whole catalogue of supplier specifications rather the appropriate information specific to the consent — and the design not meeting building code requirements.

"Poor quality and incomplete applications take longer to process, so they impact the progress of good quality applications," he said.

"Failure of site inspections is a result of the builder not following the consented plans. We acknowledge that nationwide the industry is stretched and this can result in trades rushing to meet deadlines and therefore not being ready for inspection to changing or missing detail during the build."

Asked if the proposed fee increase might deter some people from applying for consents, Mr Cook said it was possible some "may choose to take the route of undertaking illegal building work".

However, fees would be kept affordable to counter that and would be in line with those charged by other territorial authorities, he said.

The council issued 654 building consents in the 2018-19 financial year.

During the first six months of this financial year 280 were lodged, a drop of 12% during the same period last year.

The proposal will be considered next week.

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