Council signed off for consents


Queenstown’s council has been given the green light to continue issuing building consents.

The council announced in May it had been issued with 10 “corrective action requests” and four “strong recommendations” by Crown entity by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) following an audit.

IANZ found a variety of problems around internal record-keeping, including issuing code compliance certificates without receiving enough information, inadequate staff training and sending inexperienced staff to carry out inspections without supervision.

IANZ’s latest “routine assessment” was done last month.

Two corrective action requests were identified but overall the council was performing its duties well, the IANZ review report said.

In the past six months, a significant amount of work had been done by the building team, which showed “strong commitment” to addressing the problems, it said.

The quality of building consent applications had improved, as had timeframes for consents, code compliance certificate monitoring and the overall Building Consent Authority (BCA) system, including procedures, checklists, registers and supervision.

Once two corrective actions related to issuing code compliance certificates and compliance schedules were corrected, continued accreditation was recommended.

Council’s planning and development boss Tony Avery says the two concerns were addressed “immediately”.

That the council had retained accreditation reflected the huge amount of work the building control team had carried out since the beginning of the year, when accreditation was in doubt, he says.

“We are not complacent about the results of the latest assessment because we have to maintain these standards all the time.”

Avery says the building industry has responded well to the more stringent requirements for complete documentation.

“We are very close to meeting the 20-day processing time for applications now, with about 89 per cent of applications processed on time.”

However, the council was issued with 15 recommendations by IANZ — six of those “strong”, which had “the potential to become non-conformances” and would be followed up in the next assessment.

The recommendations are largely about better recording and staff and recruitment plans.

It is strongly recommended” the council ensure staff training requirements are identified and addressed “in a reasonable timeframe” and the effectiveness of the training recorded.

The report says unless the council undergoes any “critical changes” that requires earlier assessment of its accreditation, the next assessment would be carried out next October.

Otago Daily Times