Robert Wright - Head of Building ConsentingRobert Wright

Welcome to the first Go ahead for 2017

2017 should be a year of consolidation, particularly in respect to construction activity in Canterbury. This will allow the sector to concentrate on the quality of delivery and opportunities to change and improve services.

With that in mind, I am excited to take the position as the new Head of Building Consenting, tackling the challenge of getting it “right first time”.

This edition has some good advice for consent applications and inspections, and includes a quick interactive quiz so see if you’re as smart as an inspector!

How staged building consents are managed

The Christchurch City Council is currently working on a project that is reviewing how staged building consents for the construction or alteration of a building are managed. Staging in the context of this article does not apply to a project for constructing a group of buildings where each separate building is seen as a stage.

The staging of building work can be beneficial for the owner and the Council. For the owner it means they can start building while completing design work for later stages, while for the Council, processing a large-scale project in stages will assist with application processing times.

Proposed changes

  1. Staging proposals must be discussed with Council officers before an application for the first stage is lodged.
  2. Staged building consents will be seen as cumulative so the plans and specifications at each stage will be required to include the building work approved in earlier stages.
  3. Any proposed design changes that affect stages which have had consents issued will be addressed as either:
    • an amendment to the most recently issued stage, or
    • additional work to be consented through the application for a further stage.
  4. A code compliance certificate will only be issued covering all the stages when all the stages are completed to the satisfaction of the building consent authority.

Potential benefits to applicants

  1. Faster - By engaging in a pre-application discussion, the applicant and the Council can discuss their expectations, potentially improving the quality of such applications and reducing the processing time
  2. Simpler - Seeing each stage as cumulative to the previous stages ensures the approved plans and specifications for the project are complete and current as the project progresses. Any proposed amendments to earlier stages can be addressed more simply at the most recent stage
  3. One code compliance - Only one code compliance certificate application needs to be made. This can be done when the building is completed for its intended use. The list of construction documentation required for code compliance certificate will be updated at each stage to confirm what is required. 

Please note that the above proposed process and benefits are still to be confirmed and may change.

It is expected that if these proposed changes are confirmed the staged building work consenting process will come into effect from June 2017.

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Building consenting statistics

Take a look at the comparison of building consents issued and inspections completed over January, February and March for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Building consents issued (excluding amendments)

  2015 2016 2017
January 496 311 319
February 560 487 343
March 738 565 426

Inspections

  2015 2016 2017
January 3,482 2,825 2,700
February 4,546 4,996 4,345
March 5,555 5,100 4,981

Council provides tips to avoid most common RFIs

The Christchurch City Council has set up a new page on our website to provide tips to customers on how to avoid the most common reasons for building consent requests for information (RFIs).

In the process of getting your building consent granted, it is quite common to receive a request for information due to missing information. RFIs are the main source of delays during the building consent process, the project is put on hold until the information requested is provided. This is costing time and money, to the designer, the homeowner and to the Council staff too.

Our new Avoiding requests for information page combines all the most commons RFI questions for residential and commercial buildings and provides tips and solutions to avoid them. And the main result? The quality of your building consent application will be better and it will be processed more quickly.

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IDS and wastewater pressurised sewerage systems

Christchurch City Council has further developed the Infrastructure Design Standards to include digital data capture. The CCC web site now has web pages dedicated to accessing the digital data standards required. As part of this programme the standards have been generated for wastewater pressure sewerage systems.

[PDF, 1.1 MB]

Click on the image above to read more details.

You can find more information on assets and data that is required on the As-Built Survey and Data Requirements page.

For waste water pressure sewerage systems see pages 62 through to 73 in Appendix D - As-built Requirements for Gravity Wastewater [PDF, 4.3 MB]. This is where the data requirements are documented. Each asset has a data standard (an example is included below).

There is also a link to the data templates required to provide the required As Built information detailed on this web page. 

IDS As-Built Template Spreadsheet – Reticulation [XLS 94KB]

The sample of the template structure is detailed below:

If you need assistance in the completion of these new requirements, please contact the CCC Asset Systems team by calling (03) 941 8999.

The Asset Management Team look forward to receiving the first of these new asset in the digital formats included on the website.

Schedule of estimated specified inspections

The schedule of estimated inspections that forms part of your building consent is an estimate and additional inspections may be necessary, depending on the nature of the building work and the manner of construction, or as a result of non-complying or incomplete work.

If you believe you may need an inspection that is not on the schedule of estimated inspections, please enquire with our scheduling team on 941 8222. 

It is easier to resolve an inspection that may be required and is not on the list throughout the construction than it is at the final inspection.

If an inspection is missed throughout the build the Council may require documentation such as a detailed construction methodology statement, photographs and other appropriate documentation. This can cause delays with your code compliance application so if there is any question in your mind if an inspection is not on the list and may be required please enquire early with the scheduling team.

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