An independent survey of councils around the country has New Plymouth District Council at the top for its building services.
The four-month survey, which started in November last year, asked people who had gained a building consent or had a building inspection to give their feedback on the service they received.
The results show that NPDC’s services are significantly better than those of its peers, which Manager Customer and Regulatory Services Simon Pickford says is heartening.
“We’ve put in a lot of effort in recent years to improve our building services, and we’re seeing the results of that work in this survey,” he says.
“It’s great to see we’re on the right track, but we’ll continue to review and refine our processes as much as possible for the benefit of customers.
“At the end of the day the work we do isn’t about stamping official building documents but about helping people achieve their goals – and our staff work with that in mind.”
The survey sought feedback from building inspection customers of councils in Auckland, North Shore, New Plymouth, South Taranaki, Wanganui, Wellington and Christchurch. For building consents, customers from 24 councils were surveyed.
Overall, customers gave NPDC nearly 87 per cent approval of building inspection services compared to the survey’s average of 74 per cent. NPDC’s building consent service was also highly rated, with a score of 71 per cent approval against the survey’s average of 60 per cent.
In 18 key areas – ranging from information provided online to the helpfulness of building inspectors – NPDC either bettered or equalled the average score across all the councils in the survey for both building inspections and building consents.
Customers particularly noted the helpfulness and people skills of staff.
As well as benchmarking the councils against each other, the survey identified areas where customers would like to see improvements.
For NPDC, these included the booking system for inspections, consistency between inspectors, the amount of information that has to be provided for consent applications, and the complexity of the process.
“That information is invaluable as we prioritise where to focus our efforts to make our building services even better,” says Mr Pickford.