Friday, 27 May 2005

Councils to builders "More red tape please."

It's a truism that when the papers catch up with something it's often no longer news -- and ironically the people involved in the news don 't really believe it's happening until they see it in print, or watch it on TV.

So it is with a story in the 'Central Leader' sent to me by a client this morning that bemoans the long waits in getting a building consent. [Hat-tip to Aaron Bhatnagar for seeing the story online]. "Have you seen this?" said my client. I hadn't, but it wasn't news.

"Builders are frustrated at being forced to wait while red tape holds back construction," says the story. I know how they feel; I have a number of consents being processed at the moment by various councils, all held up by red tape and stupidity. It continues, "A lot of spec home builders who buy sites and develop them are sitting at home unemployed, waiting for permits. It can take two weeks to get a building inspector out. I have friends," says one builder in the story, "who took six months to get a consent to build a carport." Six months - luxury!

The problem is both the new Building Act and the old, and the notion that councils must take responsibility for every piece of paper that passes their desk -- indeed, the problem is the notion that councils need to be involved at all, and that they even need all those pieces of paper passing across their desk.

Ninety percent of New Zealand's homes were built with at the most a sheet or two of drawings on A1 paper, and a sheet or two of specifications on A4 paper. Not any more. A consent application for a bedroom extension I recently submitted to Franklin District Council had fifteen A1 pages, and a whole book of Specs to accompany those. Before granting consent, Council want at least two more A1 pages of drawings and answers to questions like 'Please describe the method of fixing stair balusters.'

The situation is insane, and home-owners and prospective home-owners are paying the price. As I've said here before, who'd be a builder?


  1. ...or an architect....oops careful now....might get a criminal conviction for using this word in our freeland

  2. If we could pass a small addendum to the RMA:

    Any person working in or for a council , or any government department, must not commence any building or alterations until they have waited for twice the average period of consent issues for the previous years permit process.

    If the change or alteration is not completed by the permitted date, they must then reapply subject to the same process.

  3. Zen, you said, "If we could pass a small addendum to the RMA..."

    Many of these delays are just waiting for building consents, Zen. This is ~without~ subjecting themselves to Resource Consent applications under the RMA!

    Anonymous, you said, "[M]ight get a criminal conviction for using this word [architect] in our freeland."

    And a $10,000 fine. This is a measure of how desperate the Architets Institute is to protect their members from competition, and from being exposed for plagiarism and incompetence.

    Free country, huh?


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