Home News Building and housing Have your say on building consents – the process and the problems!

August 2022

Have your say on building consents – the process and the problems!

01 Aug 2022, Building and housing, Industry Updates, News

As part of the Building System Reforms, The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is asking for feedback on the current building consent system

The reforms are designed to lift the performance of the building regulatory system, improve the efficiency of building work and ensure buildings are safe, healthy and durable – and having a reliable and efficient building consent process is part of the equation.

The review of the building consent system will look at consents as a whole – from the building design phase to the code compliance certificate.

The consultation comes as consent levels continue to climb. For example, March 2022 set three records as it heralded the highest number of consents in one month (5,303), the highest number of homes consented in a 12-month period (50,858) and the first time in a 12-month period that more multi-unit homes were consented than stand-alone houses (3,000 vs 2,303 respectively).

April 2022 was the second time that more multi-unit homes were consented than stand-alone houses in a 12-month period, and the year ended April 2022 also marked the second month in a row to pass 50,000 new homes consented.

Problems with consents

However, it’s the consenting system is not always one that works smoothly, with builders around the country lamenting delays in obtaining consents.

Christchurch-based Home Trends Builders Director Peter de Gouw said the wait for some consents is significantly impacting his business.

“I have some consents that have been with Chirstchurch Council for 57 days and they haven’t been picked up yet! We have buildings sitting idle because we can’t get things like pre-roof, pre-lining and final inspections.”

Scott Siffleet, Director of New Plymouth-based Lifestyle Builders, has had similar issues  in Taranaki, where consents have been sent to other Building Consent Authorities (BCAs) to relieve delays.

“I think it’s really strange that it’s gotten to a point where councils send consents to be reviewed by other councils. I never knew this happened, but now I believe it because a consent we sent to Stratford Council for approval was came back with comments on it for rules that don’t apply in Taranaki!”

Issues and ideal outcomes

As part of the review, MBIE wants feedback from those who work within the building consent system, or have used it to get approval for building work in the past, on issues with the current building consent system.

MBIE said: “[We] seek your feedback on whether we have identified the right outcomes and issues, and whether there are others that should be considered. The issues discussion document identifies four desirable outcomes that an efficient and effective building consent system should have. It also identifies a number of issues that are barriers to achieving this.”

The discussion document is broken into the following three sections:

  1. The role of government and third parties in providing assurance that building are safe, healthy and durable.
  2. Desirable outcomes that good building consent regulation should achieve.
  3. Issues with the current building consenting system.

The four desirable outcomes are:

  1. An efficient, risk-based system that allows for innovation.
  2. Establish clear roles and responsibilities so all participants across the system understand their own responsibilities.
  3. Create a responsive, flexible and agile system that improves and adapts under new circumstances.
  4. Ensure regulatory requirements are clear and decisions are transparent, predictable, robust and understood.

Following the consultation, MBIE will review the submissions and develop options for a new or revised building consent system for public consultation in 2023.

For more information on the review, head to this page on the MBIE website. To make a submission online, click on this link.

You can also email your submission to building@mbie.govt.nz or post it in.

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