Consent exemption proposed

Lichelle Guyan
Lichelle Guyan
With building consent activity at a five-year high, Waitaki District Council officers could save up to 440 hours a year by a proposed ''discretionary exemption'' for building consents for pole sheds, council heritage, environment and regulatory group manager Lichelle Guyan says.

On Monday, the heritage, environment and regulatory committee recommended the council approve the exemption of single-storey pole sheds, to be used for storage, from the consenting process.

Council building services manager Roger Cook's proposal would allow pole shed construction in rural zones to proceed without inspections during building, and no code of compliance certificate issued at the end, with all the risk managed through a ''detailed application process''.

Mr Cook's report shows a building consent for a pole shed averaged $1000 in fees, and, with the proposed $300 fee for an exemption, would average $38,500 in lost revenue a year for the council. However, he told the Otago Daily Times the revenue would not be ''lost'' as the 0.2 full-time equivalent hours that council officers were now spending on processing pole sheds could be put to better use, generating revenue, in other areas.

''The lost revenue is almost irrelevant

because we have a lot of work on and we can fill that easily with more important, more valuable, more meaningful work.

''So, instead of processing your neighbour's pole shed and inspecting it, I'll be able to process your neighbour's house and get that through the system faster - because I am not running off down country to look at a pole shed.''

His report notes 703 building consents were granted last year, up 12%.

Mrs Guyan said the level of activity and the changing nature of consents was stretching council resources.

''This year has seen new home consents increase by 51%, commercial alterations by 50%, and there has been a reduction in less complex work such as residential alterations,'' she said in a statement.

''New commercial builds are on par with the previous year. Much of the growth in new housing has been in the Ahuriri area, increasing travel time for inspectors.''

Mrs Guyan said the council continued to engage external contractors to manage service levels, and the planning department had also experienced an increase in the number of land-use and subdivision consents and certificates, ''including those of a complex or high-profile nature''.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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