Council given five months to fix building department


Queenstown’s council has convinced the Crown auditor to allow it to continue issuing building consents for now.

International Accreditation New Zealand threatened to strip the council of its powers after finding “significant concerns” during an audit of its building consents department.

The authority was given until today to create an action plan to get its house in order.

IANZ has now accepted that plan – but council has to prove its made progress in July before a full assessment in October.

Council planning and development boss Tony Avery says the department has begun making changes to address 10 concerns IANZ identified.

But the department remains under constant pressure he says with high numbers of consent applications and site inspection requests.

He asks builders and developers to book inspections as early as possible.

Avery says: “The team is continuing to deal with a large number of applications which has also meant that the average processing time is now at around 21 days with more complex applications taking longer, so it is important that applications are made well in advance of when the work is scheduled to begin.”

There’s currently a three or four-day wait.

Council has also tasked a building control officer to review all applications for consents and code compliance certificates again government national guidelines before they are accepted for processing, checking they have all the necessary documents filled out properly.

“We are quickly building a picture of the common faults so that we can provide better guidance for applicants.”

Other actions underway include improving internal audit processes and developing a formal training plan for staff.

Council needs to prove that it has made good progress on all the corrective actions by July 15 and will be fully reassessed in October.