As it tackles an unprecedented building boom, Auckland Council is already looking at new ways to improve building consent processes with aims of speeding approvals, reducing costs and ensuring consistency.
“A near 12 per cent increase in building consent applications and over 130,000 building inspections is the present reality as we review the demands on our regulatory services,” said regulatory director Penny Pirrit.
Already underway are plans to tailor processes according to the complexity of the consent with simple applications, such as carports and garaging being turned around in five days to a set fee, subject to a quality application.
“We’re looking at a service from a perspective of a customer experience. It’s not just about speed and costs but the quality of service and consistency of decisions,” said Penny Pirrit.
Online trials happening now
Online consent applications are already being trialled with some customers as the programme develops, speeding up approvals and reducing costs for both the customer and the council.
Additionally, the council is training staff and professional groups in better practices.
Quality applications the key
“The quality of the application is a primary requirement to achieving speed and reduced costs,” said Penny Pirrit. “One of the big challenges we face is the poor quality of some applications, causing delays as we seek further information.
“Having all the information required at the start is key to a successful and timely outcome and that’s where pre-application meetings with council staff can assist applicants.”