Staff shortages slowing down Wellington building consents

Wellington City Council is struggling to meet statutory timeframe requirements for building consents amidst a staff shortage and increasing construction projects.

It's finding it difficult to attract and retain technical experts going up against the Government's new National Building Consent Authority, the council's Quarter 1 Report 2019/20 claims.

The situation has become so desperate WCC has applied a market premium rate to remuneration packages for several roles to secure staff in a fiercely competitive market.

This will result in an overspend during the 2019/20 financial year before it looks to increase service fees from July 1, 2020.

Council officers have reported that meeting their 20 working day statutory requirement for building consents is becoming increasingly difficult with the current workload and staffing shortage.

In an attempt to meet timeframes for resource consents a "heavy reliance" has been placed on external consultants but that was not considered sustainable in terms of cost and reliability.

There are currently three inspectors and four consenting officer vacancies, two of which are new positions in an effort to keep up with demand.

Staff have been working overtime to plug the gap, city consenting and compliance manager Mark Pattemore said.

"Carrying vacancies puts pressure on us being able to meet our statutory timeframes. We currently have high numbers of code of compliance certificate applications at the same time as heavy inspection bookings.

"Our officers have been working additional hours to assist us to meet timeframes.

"For the most part we are meeting our 20 working day statutory timeframe, although we acknowledge in some cases it may take a little longer to get a building consent or schedule an inspection", Pattemore said.

Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities plans to establish its own building consent authority to process most state house building consents.

Read the full article on NZ Herald here

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