Christchurch Consents Did Not Meet Requirements

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Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
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The Christchurch process for building consents is in crisis after a report shows consents were issued that did not meet building standards and a damning assessment claiming the process is being so badly run that it does not meet the requirements of the Building Act and risks damage to property and injury to people.

A documentary aired on the Campbell Live program 3 News on Tuesday night detailed a report by International Accreditation New Zealand containing an assessment of the  consenting processes of Christchurch City Council based on an audit in May.

That assessment, which followed the discovery of 17 areas of concern during a routine check last September, found problems remained in 11 areas and that there were examples of consents being issued which did not comply with the requirements of the Building Code or Building Act.

“These have the potential to cause damage to property, or other adjoining property or injury to people” the report said.

“IANZ does not have the evidence … the requirements are being met.”

The release of the report’s findings comes days after IANZ – New Zealand’s most prominent accreditation body – announced it had taken the dramatic approach of revoking the Council’s authority to issue consents, a decision which has raised significant uncertainty over development applications within the city.

New Zealand government ministers are meeting with the Council on Wednesday to discuss arrangements to enable a Crown Manger to be appointed to with the authority to direct the Council with regard to consenting issues.

Christchurch City Council General Manager Regulation and Democracy Services Peter Mitchell says the Council is confident in its ability to address the concerns and regain its accreditation.

Mitchell says the Council has received advice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment it can still lawfully process consents notwithstanding INAZs decision.

IANZ Chief Executive Dr Llewellyn Richards told the Campbell Live program its decision had been necessary in light of the risk to public safety.

“We have serious concerns about their processes in not meeting the legal obligations that that have to actually comply with the building consent accreditation regulations” Richards says.

“We are here to provide assurance of technical competence. That is our role.”

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