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Christchurch City Council is introducing a raft of new measures to streamline its consent process ahead of an expected increase in earthquake-related applications – predicted to be an additional 10,000 a year for at least three years.
At yesterday’s Council meeting, staff outlined new online services designed for two big groups of customers – group builders, and the project management offices (PMOs) operated by major project management firms. Specific teams have been set up to deal with applications by eligible group builders and also PMOs that engage a range of licensed building practitioners. Furthermore, pre-application meetings would be arranged to identify and resolve likely roadblocks in the consenting process. An additional 69 full time staff will be recruited.
Mayor Bob Parker says, "By moving away from a paper based system and streamlining our processes, we are getting on the front foot to cope with this increase. Our residents have told us they want speed, efficiency and quality around the processing of consents, and providing this will be a critical element of the rebuild.”
PMOs are expected to handle the majority of residential repairs and rebuilds, with professional group builders doing many of the new builds.
Separately from the Council’s new processes, the report also outlined Building Act changes being implemented nationally by the Department of Building and Housing. These Building Act changes mean that ‘restricted’ building work – involving the structural integrity and weathertightness of a building – can only be done by a licensed building practitioner (LBP).
There are different classes of LBPs, including designers, carpenters, foundation specialists, external plasterers and roofers, and from 1 March this year, LBPs must sign-off on their work before a Code Compliance Certificate can be issued.
The Council is holding a seminar with the Department of Building and Housing on 21 February to educate licensed building practitioners about the upcoming changes (for further information contact: email@example.com).