Faster track for building consents
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.