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Last modified: 19 Nov 2021 5:24pm

A Council staff member in a high-viz jacket shows a man and woman something on a tablet as they look round a building site

The Council’s building consent team has been assessed as one of the top-performing building consent authorities in the country.

The latest independent accreditation assessment of Selwyn District Council as a building consent authority (BCA) was completed this month by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) which conducts the review on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. A review is required by legislation every two years to ensure the BCA is performing its functions appropriately.

The IANZ assessors praised the Council’s building team for maintaining its systems and processes at such a high level, especially given the unprecedented growth pressures Selwyn district has been under over the last year.

They also commended the team for its continuous improvement.

The IANZ assessment identified eight general non-compliance issues, three of which were fully addressed, and four partially addressed, during the assessment.

As expected, one of the identified non-compliances relates to building consent processing timeframes exceeding the statutory timeframe of 20 working days. This has been an issue for a number of councils across the country as they deal with a high volumes of consent applications and a national shortage of trained building control officers.

Selwyn has put a number of proactive measures in place which have seen the average consent processing time reducing from an average of 34 working days in July to 24 days in October.

This comes despite an increasing number of consent applications. Since March 2021 the Council’s consent team has been processing between 210 and 305 building consents a month, compared to 150 – 270 a month in 2020.

These proactive measures have included developing an innovative professional partnership programme that allows industry partners to fast-track applications through the consent process for low-risk work. The Council has also hired additional staff and developed an on-the-job training programme.

The low number of non-compliance issues, together with a strong management team that has a real focus on continuous improvement, means that IANZ considers the Council to pose a ‘low risk’.

Council building manager Vanessa Mitchell says the latest reaccreditation assessment results can reassure people building or renovating homes in Selwyn that the Council has good systems and processes in place.

“Our building consent staff have put a lot of effort into continuously improving the way we process and issue building consents, and it is a credit to the team that the reaccreditation process has gone so smoothly,” she says.