Sunday, 3 June 2018

Building in NZ - The building consent process



You have decided to get a builder to build your house and take care of the process, rather than project manage it yourself. After learning about all the stuff that can go wrong during and after building I was happy to leave it to Landmark Homes. If you try to do things yourself you will have to:
  • Check quotes, suppliers' quantities and prices
  • get building consent forms (and resource forms if needed)
  • Order materials and create the construction programme
  • Arrange insurance against theft, fire etc
  • Provide necessary health and safety plan for the site
  • Ensure building compliance inspections are completed
  • Order materials and book sub-trades and ensure all is well timed
  • Check materials and return damaged goods, check correct colours
  • Apply for  Code Compliance Certificate on completion
  • Pay all accounts
  • Chase up sub trades for maintenance requirements
  • As the head contractor you will be liable for all building defects for the next 10 years. 
No way did I want that amount of stress, lacking the knowledge to do it anyway.

Your building consent info including detailed working drawings, drainage etc should comply with the council's building requirements otherwise you will need to apply for a resource consent. That will add time and money to your project so make sure space between your house and boundary fences comply, that your garage is the correct distance from the road, that recession plane requirements are met.  Two story homes add complications.

My neighbour is building a garage which is longer than the average and close to the sunny boundary for my house so required a resource consent. As part of that his builder was required to notify me and get my written approval before the consent process could continue. This slowed things down for them. at this stage avoid making any changes to walls or windows or you may need to start, expensively, again.

These days in Selwyn District your builder lodges the building consent electronically directly with the council. You, the owner, do nothing. Below are two links on the AlphaOne process. Your council should complete your lodging within 20 working days so long as you have supplied all necessary information. If council comes back to your builder requesting additional info the clock stops and then restarts once council receives that info. I really hope there will be no delays with my consent. It has already been delayed at the beginning by the engineering requirement for a soak pit more than 5m deep.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4qheUzmwlM
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj7y91_q3VQ

Selwyn are trialling a no deposit fee trial. No, it doesn't mean your consent is free, just that you can get on with the process before being hit with the bill. They say...

No Deposit Fee Trial From 1 January 2018 we will not be asking for a deposit fee at the time of lodging your building consent application. We are taking the opportunity to trial a ‘no deposit’ approach to streamline workflows.
What does this means for you?
  • No upfront cost when lodging the application.
  • Complete applications start the statutory clock straight away and are queued for processing (note – all applications will still be vetted for completeness).
  • One invoice for all associated fees upon issue of your building consent.
This new system should make things easier for my builder, I hope. On a wet Queen's Birthday weekend I am sitting around anxiously twiddling my thumbs, writing, dreaming impatiently for the right to start building 7 months after my first inquiries. As you can see, we're ready to go.