Council Consents Process Causes Anger

Posted by on Mar 02, 2011 | 2 Comments

For some people, the consents process is important to ensure their natural incompetence remains invisible

For some people, the consents process is important to ensure their natural incompetence remains invisible

The Devonport –Takapuna Board (DTB) is under pressure to investigate the building and resource consents processes, after complaints were lodged last night that the fees were “inconsistent,” “excessive,” and tantamount to “profiteering.”

Gaynor Revill, a local urban design professional, last night complained during the public forum session of the DTB meeting that the fees were not only becoming excessive, but the amounts charged varied significantly between similar applications, depending upon whether the council processed the application itself or outsourced the application to external consultants.

Ms Revill quoted an example of a consent required to site a new double garage costing $4751, while what was another relatively minor consent had cost $3233. The only difference she could ascertain was that the garage application had been half-processed by council and then outsourced to an external consultant, while the other had been fully handled by the council.

She believed the consultant had then re-charged on an hourly basis for all the work the council had conducted up to that point in addition to the rest of the application processing procedure.

Ms Revill claimed the fees were “excessive” with the $4751 figure “a new high” for an application of that nature. She quoted one example where a breakdown of administration fees revealed she had been charged $10 per page for photocopying.

While the DTB were sympathetic, there is little they can do other than to ask the council to investigate the claims. Christine Watson, Council Relationship Manager for the DTB said “The Board can advocate a view reflected from the community and can be incorporated into policy but it has no regulatory delegation and therefore no regulatory powers.”

Let us know about your experiences in obtaining building and resource consents from the council.

2 comments

  1. robert says:

    After 30 years dealing with council the most effective way to deal with the faceless ones is to go straight to the overall consents manager.Once we all go straight there with all our complaints he/she will get sick of it and start making changes or will dig their toes in. When that happens go up to the next level. and so forth.The last resort is the CEO of the city and if you are persistant you get some action.Document the discussions at each level and then expose the whole debacle in the media and to the full council.I am usually sucessful at lower levels but on occasion I have had to go right to the top.The whole process is completely out of control and until we start pressuring the management ( not the box tickers ) nothing will change.
    Robert.

  2. Keith says:

    Without doubt the current situation for Building Consent processing is chaotic.
    The North Shore Area office has inadequate staff to process Consent applications and consequently they are subcontracted to other area offices, notably Manukau or to private consultants.
    Sometimes the other area offices in turn subcontract to private consultants and the chain of communications is thoroughly screwed.
    Also, sometimes North Shore appear to do a partial job of processing before shopping the consent out and the applicant finds themselves answering the same questions twice.
    All this is incredibly inefficient and with no fixed fees, its like an open cheque book for the Council and consultants with no incentive to be efficient other than the back-log of work.
    Yes fees have increased and processing time extended considerably at the owner’s expense!
    So much for the efficiencies of the Super City!!!
    Further, the box tickers with apparently no practical knowledge and no discretion , will not approve an application unless all the boxes have been ticked, often including totally irrelevant ones!

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