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Working Smarter To Aid Our Growing District

Tuesday 7 August 2018

A new approach to managing building consents has reaped rewards for the construction sector in Central Hawke’s Bay, and more changes are to come.

mediareleaseMED201833 Consents Team

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Consents team

The number of residential building consents in 2017 totalled $20.5 million, a staggering 44% increase on the previous three-year average.

Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker said the changes to the approach taken by the Council’s regulatory team that handled building consents strengthened Council’s role as a facilitator of social and economic development.

“We have created a high-performing and passionate team that is committed to providing the right infrastructure and regulatory frameworks to help people realise their dreams and meet their deadlines,” she said.

Marcus Schaw said "SBL (Schaw Building Ltd) is enjoying the relationship we are continuing to build with the Council Consents team. Their willingness to help us solve problems that arise and the way they communicate makes the building process easier & more enjoyable for everyone involved".

Chair of Finance and Planning Committee Cr Ian Sharp said when it came to construction, time often means money, and Council’s new approach to managing consents had proven itself, speeding up the process and minimising delays.

“We are very happy with the improvements. In June alone, 32 consents were issued with an average turnaround of five working days, and 15 Code of Compliance Certificates were issued with an average turnaround of one day.”

Cr Sharp said to date this calendar year; all but one consent application was completed within the 20-working day period that Council is legislatively tasked with achieving.

“I’m impressed and very pleased with the improvement we have seen to date and am looking forward to continued improvements next year as we bring in the online system,” said Cr Sharp.

 

What’s changed?

 

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Chief Executive Officer Monique Davidson said Council realised if they were to up their game and meet the requirements of the increasingly busy building sector, they would need a more customer-focused and empowered team.

Council has moved from an across-the-board regulatory team to a dedicated building consent team made up of five Officers, many of whom were builders earlier in their careers, and a Building Consent Team Leader who also provides quality assurance. Contractors are used in periods of high demand and when consent applications require specialised technical input.

Building Consent Officer Duncan Renner said the change in resources has been pivotal to coping with the ever-changing supply and demand of the Consents team. Having access to an external processing facility on a "as and when required" basis coupled with the investment in the GoGet software has given us the opportunity to take stock and pitch the processing and inspection criteria to best meet industry best practice. The unique functionality about GoGet, is that we can tailor this system into a quality assurance process to meet a "risk based" framework. Every effort has been made to ensure that this has been appropriately pitched looking toward a thriving future.

“Empowering our experienced Officers to make decisions when they need to – sometimes on-site – has helped speed up the process,” said Mrs Davidson.

“This in no way diminishes our commitment to fulfilling our regulatory role under the Building Act and ensuring codes are complied with, so safe, warm and dry homes are built.”

“Instead,” Mrs Davidson said, “It is about being proactive and identifying issues early, so they can be resolved in a more timely manner.”

 

What’s next?

 

Mrs Davidson said the consents team was preparing for the International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) audit which, all going well, would lead to Council retaining its accreditation as a Building Control Authority.

Next year, Council will introduce GoShift – an online platform that will allow builders and others to see how their consent application is being processed in real time and allow them to interact and answer any questions that may arise.

“GoShift is currently being used by nine councils around New Zealand. It is proving to be a consistent, easy-to-use application process that makes getting a building consent simpler and faster,” said Mrs Davidson. “The local construction sector is not slowing down, and I believe this new initiative will help keep us up with the play and deliver timely consents to help create a thriving Central Hawke’s Bay.”

Dave Baldwin said “Baldwin & Co Building have a good relationship with the Consents team. They’ve improved their systems with the Go Build App and this has saved a lot of our time, and makes the process of booking inspections easier.  They are always obliging with any questions or queries our team have. Communication has been great and we look forward to continuing to build our relationship with the Consents team for the benefit of our business and our clients”.

7 September 2018

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