Council mulling new tech investment

Clare Hadley
Clare Hadley
The Invercargill City Council (ICC) is looking at investing in new technology to help process building consent applications as it undertakes an external review of its building services.

The technology would be used to assist in processing consent applications as well as looking at different software to enable electronic lodgement of building consents in the future.

Chief executive Clare Hadley said the external review should identify improvements when it came to the council’s approach to processing and inspections.  It came as the council continued to struggle to attract and retain skilled building control staff, she said.

"Across the country, building inspectors are leaving council employment and becoming contractors, seeing the opportunity to earn higher incomes for a period."

Meanwhile, major commercial developments have resulted in building consent values rising 50% in Invercargill over the past four months.

According to figures released by the ICC yesterday,  584 applications were received between July 1 and October 31 with a combined value of $46,056,403,  up from 486 applications with  a value of $29,948,165 during the corresponding  period last year.

ICC building services manager Brendan Monaghan said the value of the applications for residential building consents was in line with previous years, but the total value of applications had been boosted by major commercial developments.

The value of residential consents was about $19 million, while the value of commercial consents was $22 million, which  was "unusual", Mr Monaghan said.

"Usually we see the total value of commercial building consents is about half the value of residential consents applied for."

The figures also show an increase in consents for solid fuel heaters, as people install heating which complies with the regional air plan.

ben.waterworth@odt.co.nz

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