Building industry says consent processes prohibit growth

Despite council attempts to streamline processes, developers say building consents are the bane of building growth, according to a new survey from CTMA World.

During 2008, overall customer satisfaction with the building consent process fell20% from 2007.

Developers, architects, builders and home owners responded to the survey. Results show overall satisfaction with building consents has fallen to 35.6% in 2008 from 55.9% in 2007.

The most common complaints people in the building industry have about consents are the complexity of processes, the cost of consent to applicants and turnaround time.

CTMA World managing director Paul Linnell surveyed customers of 33 different councils, and says problems with building consents are impacting regional growth.

“These factors appear to be having an increasing influence on builders and developers when making regional investment decisions. Some respondents stating that they plan to never again develop in some cities,” Mr Linnell says.

A survey of building industry executives by eBoss shows that 50% of its respondents believe further streamlining of building consent processes should be a priority for government, and 43.4% believe costs should be reduced.

Architectural Designers of New Zealand board chair Fraser Gillies says current processes are overly bureaucratic.

“The RMA and consent process is culling 15 to 20% of residential projects before they start because of restraints on developers and oppressive costs of compliance,” Mr Gillies says.

“If you took the global recession out of the picture and just looked at the New Zealand situation with our top-heavy bureaucracy, I am convinced that in itself is creating its own micro-recession in the building industry.”

The CTMA World survey shows that 66.8% of respondents experienced problems with building consent processes.

Only 5% of those surveyed would recommend the region where they had experienced a problematic consent process to others.

A dismal 2% say they believe the council helped improve the outcome the project consent related to.


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The dissapointing thing about the current focus on these issues (which are absolutely correct) is that they ignore the real cause - the staff job protection and creation in Territorial Authorities. These people have persuasive reasons for the way the frustrate the process - including the risk averse nature of Councils - but underlying it all is an explosion in staff and job functions. This is unrestrained, unnaccountable and charged on a cost plus basis.
We have checkers checking the checkers - and professionals giving signed Producer Statements that still have to be checked (often by peple with lesser qualifications).
So changing the laws is all very well - but we need some clear Govt leadership and defined expectations on performance and accountability for local government.

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These people appear to be unhappy that developing buildings that are permitted within the District Plans still have a lot of expense and delays to prove that they are permitted.

This is the cost that is seen.

But what about the buildings, especially residential subdivisions and new housing, that is not build, not because the consenting process is expensive, but because it isn't allowed, where otherwise this would be the most viable land use? This is the cost that is unseen, and why vacant sections on the city fringes are going for $200k when they should be more like 30k, which in turn is why housing is not affordable. There is heaps of available raw land at $5k/section, but the problem is it isn't allowed to be developed into what brings the most benefit to the community.

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Is it any wonder the "consents" are down and my input not canvassed? Unfortunately I wasn't ever consulted.
I have 3 redevolopments "within the system " 2 with A City and the other with W City all stalled by petty bureaucracy stupidly. All have been "within the system" now for ~ 3 years. My original architect ended up ~ 2 years ago washing his hands of all this crap and went back south where the Councils there still had some brain matter still active.
1st "problem". 12 sq M of concrete - with natural runoff onto "natural" drainage, so no imposition onto the already congested "storm water" collection within our area.
Did this make a difference? ABSOLUTELY NO WAY. It now required a "Resource Consent" but that was at about 2'ce the cost of the bloody concreting required to complete the task in the first place.
Does this make sense, NO. BUT I had to PAY to COMPLY.
Then, the "consultants" employed by A City were now "given" the ""task"" of evaluating the "impact" upon our environment.
End result? No problem for them, it was all OK BUT, Heh, here we are "now" on the bloody gravy train, lets stick our snouts deeper into the "public trough" and so they did.
We suddenly found we had to have a "turning circle" for vehicles that "acces" our property, and "lo-n-behold, now we need another 55 sq M of bloody concreting to accommodate our "erstwhile" advisors whim.
On top of all that, now being "over" our "limits" we are now "required" to get the "consent" of all our neighbours - who can't even ""SEE"" the bloody concrete from their properties.
Is this beaucracy gone made? SURE IS.
I don't have the time now - nor the inclination - to go into the other 2 "applications" that are still "stalled" by the idiot brigade, BUT will do so in subsequent exposures.

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I wonder if the councils are taking any notice of these study findings.

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