Building consent process improves

The Invercargill City Council building on Esk St, Invercargill. Photo: File

MORE building consents are being issued in Invercargill than ever, making the city’s construction industry more efficient.

Data released to the Southland Express shows the Invercargill City Council (ICC) issued 1733 building consents last year, an increase of about 25% from 2016 and 13% up on 2019 figures.

An ICC spokesman said since the council began to accept and process building consents electronically in March last year, staff were able to provide a more efficient service.

“Invercargill City Council’s building team has undergone a period of change over the last three years our processes and service levels and we are pleased to now report close to 100% compliance with statutory timeframes.”

The industry acknowledged ICC had done better, with Southland Registered Masters Builders president Hamish Broomfield noting the improvement helped builders complete jobs in a timely manner.

“The Invercargill City Council is doing well. They really improved to get most things through within 21 days and most of the inspections, you can get booked within a week.”

He said remote inspections had made the difference by speeding the process up.

He highlighted the Southland District Council still struggled.

Two years ago, Mee and Henry Law director Liz Henry conducted a survey to assess whether there were genuine concerns about the operation of the council’s building consents and planning teams.

At the time, it highlighted dissatisfaction as 80% of respondents said it was unsatisfactory.

Mrs Henry had not conducted another survey but believed the council had enhanced its practices, meaning the industry had gained more confidence to develop in Invercargill.

“From the feedback I’ve got, it definitely had been an improvement and council seems to be more effective and better with its relationships.

“It is a better climate for the industry. However, there are still some areas to improve as some groups, some architects who were not still confident enough. But this will happen with the [passing of] time.”