Find out about any changes to how building consents and inspections are done, and latest processing timeframes.

Go ahead newsletter

In the latest Go ahead newsletter, you can read General Manager Leonie Rae's vision for Consenting and Compliance, plus there are some handy tips for consent applications and doing minor variations on site. You'll also find updates from MBIE.

November 2016 performance report [PDF 700KB]

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General Manager Leonie Rae outlines consenting vision

Process improvements front of mind for new general manager Consenting and Compliance. Leonie Rae is under no illusions about the challenges of her new role of GM Consenting and Compliance.

With oversight for building consents (including inspections and code compliance certificates), resource consents and compliance (food and alcohol licensing, animal management, noise and other compliance), Leonie has a broad portfolio.

Leonie Rae

“One of our success stories has been developing the Partnership Approvals service, where case managers provide a joined-up facilitation service for projects that may touch on different parts of Council. This might be around water or waste, traffic management, licensing, as well as general consents. I am keen to extend the philosophy behind Partnership Approvals so we are working with people so they do what is required and are supported as they work through their projects or issues.

“The challenge for the Council, and industry, is to identify what’s not working well and make the appropriate process improvements to provide clarity for customers and reassurance for the public that their city is safe.”

Since joining Christchurch City Council in 2006, Leonie has had a variety of roles, including Senior Business Analyst, Business Analyst Team Leader, and Service Delivery and Deployment Manager in the Information Management and Communication Unit.

In January 2014, Leonie was appointed Commercial Consents Unit Manager then in January 2016 she was appointed Head of Building Consenting within the Consenting and Compliance Group.

Council Chief Executive Dr Karleen Edwards says Leonie was a standout among the large number of applicants from New Zealand and overseas.

“Throughout her time at the Council, Leonie has shown inspirational leadership, integrity, energy and has keenly applied these qualities to Christchurch’s rebuild. In 2012, Leonie was awarded the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM) Excellence in Leadership Award.”

Key appointments

Council appoints new Head of Building Consenting

Robert WrightRobert Wright has been appointed Head of Building Consenting.

Robert is well known in the industry and has more than 27 years’ experience in building and resource management. Over the past three years, he has led the Operational Policy and Quality Improvement Unit, overseeing many of the improvements to the Council’s consent processing systems.

Head of Operational Policy and Quality Improvement

Steven May is the new Head of Operational Policy and Quality Improvement.

He comes to Christchurch from Grey District Council where he was Environmental Services Manager, and he has previously held roles as South Island Operations Manager for Immigration New Zealand and Regulatory Services Manager at Waitaki District Council.

Eco Design Advisor offers sustainability advice

Julie VillardRight now in Christchurch, we’re building the world’s newest city. This means we’re after the innovative, the fresh, and the new. With this in mind, Christchurch City Council has appointed Julie Villard to the role of Eco Design Advisor to help with environmental sustainability.

The primary purpose of Julie’s role is to provide free, independent expert sustainable design advice to people designing, building or extensively renovating residential dwellings.
She will also be working in partnership with the building industry to encourage and educate around the benefits of eco-design with a focus on sustainable, affordable

Julie has 10 years of architectural experience and is a qualified assessor for the NZ Green Building Council.

Avoid these common application oversights

A quality application will take less time to process. 

For building consents, the Council aims to accept applications within 24 hours of receipt. This means the processing of your application can begin as soon as possible.

In order to achieve this, we require a completed application form, set of plans, specifications and supporting documents — all of a high standard.

On average, around 8 per cent of applications received are not accepted. To help reduce this, we’ve identified some common reasons this occurs:

  • No geotech report
  • Lack of proof of ownership
  • No memorandum of design
  • Truss and bracing calculations not provided

If we identify one of these as missing — and if time allows i.e. still within 24 hours from receiving the application — the vetting officer will call the customer to request it. If the customer can’t supply the information or cannot be contacted, the application will not be accepted, resulting in a charge for time spent on the application. A new application is then required, including all documentation.

We’d rather not be chasing people up or charging them for applications that aren‘t being processed, so please make sure you have everything required prior to submitting your

Council requirements for a minor variation on site

If you are making any change from the consented design (including products), there are some things the Council needs.

Two copies of the details are required from the designer noting the changes, along with supporting documentation showing how code compliance will be achieved.

Written acceptance from the owner is also required.

These should be presented on site and discussed with the inspector to see if they can be accepted as a minor variation or if an amendment is required.

Pool fence changes come into force

A law change governing rules on the fencing of pools came into force on 1 January 2017.

The Building (Pools) Amendment Bill repeals the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987. It introduces new pool safety provisions into the Building Act 2004.

Key changes:

  • a new requirement for mandatory three-yearly inspections of swimming pools
  • allowing safety covers to be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs
  • additional enforcement tools for territorial authorities, including notices to fix.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is creating a new Building Code clause, F9, which relates to residential pool barriers. 

You can find out more on the Ministry website