Moves to speed up building, resource consent processing

The city council has been dealing with a record number of consent applications. Photo: File image
The city council has been dealing with a record number of consent applications. Photo: File image
New initiatives are being introduced to help speed up the processing of building and resource consents at Christchurch City Council.

With a record number of consent applications flooding in, council's head of building consenting, Robert Wright, said the new methods will help them improve the processing timeframes for consents.

Wright said consent applications were up across the country, with 50,858 new homes consented across New Zealand in the year ended March 2022. That's an increase of 24 per cent from the previous year.

Wright said building consent applications rose by 43 per cent compared to the same period last year. Applications for resource consents were also up 30 per cent compared to last year.

The increase in resource consents has been largely driven by multi-residential developments, Wright said.

There has also been heavy demand for inspections services, which has seen new technology introduced to allow remote inspections to be carried out.

Wright said this means less complex building work and re-inspections can be carried out faster.

“We also have brought on board additional inspection contractors and other Building Consents Authority staff to help," he said.

"While a softening in consent applications is forecast in the near future, I’m anticipating a surge in October before changes to building code requirements for energy efficiency are introduced in November."

Council head of planning and consents John Higgins said it is also taking steps to improve processing timeframes for resource consents, including recruitment, outsourcing and streamlining processes.

“We understand the frustration that delays in consents can cause and are doing everything we can to improve processing timeframes, which are proving to be a challenge nationally," Higgins said.

"Communicating with applicants is a priority for us, so they are aware of expected timeframes and alerted to any particular issues promptly if needed.

“Recruitment has been challenging because of the buoyant job market and consultants also have limited capacity to help.

"However, we have been successful in getting a contractor on board to help for the next 12 weeks to process 20 resource consents per week.

"Having this bulk load of 240 consents processed will speed up timeframes."

Higgins said processing timeframes are expected to improve over the second half of the year, as application numbers slow and the capacity of consultants increases.

“However, there are a lot of factors at play that make it challenging to know exactly what will happen, from market conditions to new planning legislation and regulations," he said.

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