Build­ing con­sent boom for In­ver­cargill

The Southland Times - - News - Mary-Jo To­hill

In­ver­cargill is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a build­ing con­sent boom.

The In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil build­ing ser­vices man­ager Bren­dan Mon­aghan said there had been a 50 per cent in­crease in build­ing con­sent val­ues com­pared with the same time last year.

Be­tween July 1 and Oc­to­ber 31, the coun­cil re­ceived 584 ap­pli­ca­tions val­ued at $46,056,403, up from 486 ap­pli­ca­tions val­ued at $29,948,165 dur­ing the same pe­riod last year.

The value of the ap­pli­ca­tions for res­i­den­tial build­ing con­sents of about $19 mil­lion was in line with pre­vi­ous years, but the to­tal value of com­mer­cial con­sents of $22m was un­usual, he said.

‘‘Usu­ally we see the to­tal value of com­mer­cial build­ing con­sents is about half the value of res­i­den­tial con­sents ap­plied for.’’

Rus­sell Cun­ning­ham Prop­er­ties gen­eral man­ager Vicki Corkill, whose com­pany is de­vel­op­ing the In­ver­cargill Busi­ness Park, said the tim­ing of con­sents could be a fac­tor, cit­ing the Kmart devel­op­ment as a re­cent ex­am­ple.

‘‘Tim­ing is a fac­tor but I would like to think that In­ver­cargill feels op­ti­mistic and will be con­tin­u­ing with growth.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously con­sents are go­ing to go through the roof when the CBD devel­op­ment starts.’’

There was also an in­crease in ap­pli­ca­tions for build­ing con­sents in re­la­tion to solid fuel heaters, as peo­ple in­stalled heat­ing which com­plied with the Re­gional Air Plan,

‘‘. . . con­sents are go­ing to go through the roof when the CBD devel­op­ment starts.’’ Rus­sell Cun­ning­ham Prop­er­ties gen­eral man­ager Vicki Corkill

Mon­aghan said.

Mean­while, the coun­cil has re­sponded to a na­tion­wide short­age of build­ing con­trol of­fi­cers by com­mis­sion­ing an ex­ter­nal re­view of build­ing ser­vices.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Clare Hadley said it was ac­knowl­edged in­dus­try­wide that there was an is­sue for coun­cils in at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing skilled build­ing con­trol staff in the present labour mar­ket.

‘‘Across the coun­try, build­ing in­spec­tors are leav­ing coun­cil em­ploy­ment and be­com­ing con­trac­tors – see­ing the op­por­tu­nity to earn higher in­comes for a pe­riod.’’

This meant In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil was con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy to as­sist in pro­cess­ing con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions, and look­ing at dif­fer­ent soft­ware to en­able elec­tronic lodge­ment of build­ing con­sents.

The ex­ter­nal re­view should iden­tify op­tions for im­prove­ments to the coun­cil’s ap­proach to pro­cess­ing and in­spec­tions, and pro­vide guid­ance on how to use var­i­ous strate­gies to in­crease re­sources avail­able to build­ing ser­vices, she said.

It is ex­pected the ex­ter­nal re­view will be com­pleted by the end of No­vem­ber.

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