Faster track for build­ing con­sents

The Northland Age - - Local News -

The Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil ex­pects the is­su­ing of build­ing con­sents to be sim­pler and faster fol­low­ing the coun­cil’s adop­tion of a new elec­tronic ap­pli­ca­tion process.

The coun­cil be­gan tran­si­tion­ing to the new award­win­ning elec­tronic build­ing con­sent sys­tem, Sim­pli, on Tues­day, join­ing more than 20 other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties us­ing pro­gramme, de­signed to im­prove the con­sis­tency and de­liv­ery of build­ing con­sents, sup­ported by the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment.

A ma­jor change for Far North ap­pli­cants is re­plac­ing pa­per forms with Sim­pli elec­tronic ver­sions that can be filled in on­line and emailed di­rectly to the coun­cil.

Plans and other doc­u­ments will also be ac­cepted elec­tron­i­cally as PDFs.

Also as of Tues­day staff no longer have to in­spect build­ing sites be­fore con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions are pro­cessed, pay­ment for fixed-fee projects can be when the build­ing con­sent is is­sued, in­stead of when the ap­pli­ca­tion is lodged, and a checklist to help re­duce ‘re­quests for in­for­ma­tion’ af­ter ap­pli­ca­tions are lodged came into ef­fect.

Cur­rently 25 per cent of ap­pli­ca­tions trig­gered 20 or more re­quests for new in­for­ma­tion, se­ri­ously de­lay­ing pro­cess­ing times, FNDC gen­eral man­ager — dis­trict ser­vices Dean My­burgh said.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties signed up to Sim­pli used the same forms, and asked the same ques­tions about the same types of build­ing work.

“In­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als often work with more than one coun­cil.

With Sim­pli they have greater cer­tainty about what is re­quired for build­ing con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions and in­spec­tions re­gard­less of the lo­ca­tion.

“This means con­sis­tent de­ci­sion-mak­ing across coun­cils,” Dr My­burgh said.

“For us, Sim­pli pro­vides a stan­dard sys­tem for doc­u­ment­ing pro­cesses, pro­ce­dures and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, and po­ten­tially means we can share re­sources be­tween au­thor­i­ties to bet­ter­man­age work­load peaks.”

Far North cus­tomers who were al­ready part way through build­ing con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions would not be dis­ad­van­taged by the tran­si­tion.

“We will ac­cept pa­per-based ap­pli­ca­tions for the rest of 2018.

“How­ever, elec­tronic con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions only will be ac­cepted from Jan­uary 2019,” he added.

The build­ing con­sents page at www.fndc.govt.nz had been re­freshed and in­cluded de­tailed ex­pla­na­tions of Sim­pli, the new build­ing con­sents process and how to lodge ap­pli­ca­tions elec­tron­i­cally.

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