Auckland’s strong population growth is contributing to unprecedented demand for Auckland Council's regulatory services.
The latest Auckland Council Performance report, which excludes council-controlled organisations, shows that during the first quarter (July to September 2015) of the 2015/2016 financial year, meeting targets for delivering consents and inspections services is being challenged by increasing work volumes driven by population growth and an increase in building activity.
It follows the release of Statistics New Zealand’s latest population estimates for the year to June showing Auckland's population added 43,000 people last year, rising to almost 1.57 million residents.
Building inspections and consenting rises
Overall, building inspection volumes rose 10 per cent and building consent volumes increased 15 per cent in the three months compared to the first quarter of the previous financial year. This equates to an average increase of approximately 1000 consents every quarter.
Resource consents received during the first three months of the 2015/2016 financial year increased by 12 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Ian McCormick, the council's General Manager Building Control, says the increases in the number of building inspections are disproportionately larger than the increase in building consents over the same period. This is because residential new build activity is increasing; this type of work requires more building inspections than other types of development and increases workloads.
"To meet the challenge of increasing and fluctuating demand we’re implementing a number of key initiatives to increase our efficiency and productivity. This includes enabling technology, staff development and partnerships with industry.
Online consenting coming
"Mobile technology has already been rolled out to the central and south regions, with the north and west regions to follow shortly. We are expanding and refining our digital online consenting service availability to wider parts of the industry and developing a building inspection booking and allocation service that will make it easier to book inspections and enable us to use our resources more efficiently.
"We have also implemented an ongoing training programme with the development of a six-week training school to fast track the development of staff appointed to technical roles.
"We currently have eight inspectors in our current school with a further 14 beginning to come into service," says Mr McCormick.
The committee also heard of a number of other performance highlights and achievements from the report, including the completion of $88 million in capital investment, which is part of the council parent’s investment programme of $572 million this year.
Also, council debt remained in line with the Long-term Plan 2015/2025 forecast and there was a 100 per cent response rate to urgent animal management complaints within one hour.
Read the full Auckland Council Performance Report for 1 July 2015 to 30 September 2015 online.