Got it Nailed - April 2020

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Published: 14 Apr 2020

Issue 34 - April 2020

Stay home, save lives.

Hello all and welcome to the first “Got it Nailed” edition for the year, and with recent events it’s been a year like no other in recent memory.

Prior to this the building unit, and the sector as a whole, was humming along quite nicely and we were hoping to see some of those subdivisions already with approval start to break ground and get some building action underway.

Then of course COVID-19 came along and put the majority of us on lockdown. Council staff have still been processing applications that come through as far as possible, but the most effect has been calling a halt to all building inspections.

Please be assured if you had an inspection booked during the lockdown period, we’ll be in touch to reschedule as soon as we have an indication of when we’re moving out of Level 4 restrictions.

We have service updates at

Accreditation Audit Changes
In February we had our two-yearly audit by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ). Although generally positive, the audit has identified some changes for us to implement over the next couple of months.

Some of these changes are going to have an impact on designers, builders and plumbing and drain layers. In summary, they are:
  • Anyone that submits an application for building consent (generally designers) will be required to provide a complete application identifying all relevant code clauses and their means of compliance, along with a complete set of designs and specifications. The consequence of an incomplete application will result in refusal of that application. Please spend the time to get this right before you submit your application, if you are unsure about what is required just give us a call.
  • Minor variations and amendments are other areas that need some attention. We know that changes occur and we will always try to work with you as much as we can. However, our discretion is limited and therefore the need to follow a more consistent approach is required. Minor variations can either be resolved on site with the inspector or through the office, but amendments must be processed and approved before that work can be undertaken. This is something that we will be managing more closely.
  • Another finding from the audit relates to the recording of our decisions, and in particular providing more detail on how we are satisfied compliance has been demonstrated. In other words we need to include more detail in our answers (check lists) which in turn will potentially mean more relevant information being required from the designer. This is an ongoing requirement and is identified at most audits as the auditor should be able to follow the compliance journey from start to finish.
Refusing a building consent
In previous newsletters we advised that we are going to focus on the process of refusing consent applications. The Southern Building Controls Group has also been focusing on this and how we can be more consistent in this area. All 11 BCAs in this group have agreed a consistent approach and have created guidance around adopting and implementing this approach.

As this guidance is for internal use, I have summarised it for you so that you can have an understanding of the key considerations for refusing a consent. The outcomes of this process are to achieve:
  1. Better quality applications received by Council.
  2. The reduction in RFIs for all consent applications.
  3. The reduction in time associated with the technical checking of an application.
  4. Designers having a greater understanding of how compliance is achieved and the consequences of poor quality applications.
  5. Reduced costs to the applicant and or owner.
Sliding Scale Tool
The sliding scale pictured below is a tool for deciding whether it is appropriate or not to refuse an application when working through the technical checking stage.

From the building classification Residential 1-3 and Commercial 1-3, the scale process relates to the number of RFI’s versus the amount or percentage completed, of the technical check. For example:
  • An R1 application may be refused at any stage from 8-9 RFIs through to 20; or
  • A C3 application may be refused at any stage between 15-35 RFIs.
Sliding Scale

Building Classification

Building officers will be using this tool, along with other considerations, to ensure a consistent approach is taken each time. This of course will also be dependent on the scope of each individual project. We will be communicating with the owner at appropriate stages throughout this process to ensure they are aware of the status of their application.

The RFI process can no long be used to act as a peer review of the applicants design or be prolonged unnecessarily. If you have any questions relating to this you can get in touch on or ph 027 434 6053.

Building Platforms & Site Works

Site works and creating building platforms that are in connection with the construction of a building are defined as 'building work' and therefore require a building consent. However there are some situations where a building consent may not be required.

Examples of these could be, but not limited to:

  • Building up a site for landscaping purposes
  • Clearing a site by cutting and filling, making it more presentable for sale
  • Disposing of clean fill onto a site to level it up (hollows or elevated sites etc)
If you want to do any of the above or you have been engaged by the owner to do so, there are some important things to consider:
  1. What is the reason for filling the site, its “intended use”?
  2. If it is intended to erect or locate a building on the site in the future you must engage a suitably qualified design professional (engineer) to ensure the fill is designed and placed (engineered) to suit. Once completed, a copy of the engineers approval is to be provided to council to record on the relevant property file.
  3. If you are contemplating doing any site works, it would be wise to discuss this with the council building team first, so that you can set off in the right direction and ensure your project will be fit for purpose.

PLEASE BE AWARE that carrying out building work without a consent can result in significant penalties, so please ensure you check first before doing anything.

Plumbing & Drainage “As Built Plans”

The use of “As Built” drainage plans has been place for a very long time, providing valuable information to the location of drains for future reference. This is something that will continue into the future, particularly as a requirement for signing off at CCC stage. However a minor change in how we use these plans is about to be implemented.

To make sure we are complying with our legislative requirements we need to ensure that before we grant a building consent the drainage work identified on the plans is compliant with the building code. When we inspect that work, we need to ensure it has been completed in accordance with the approved drainage plan.

Should this not be the case, the building consent will need to be altered to reflect the change. These changes can managed in one of two ways, a minor variation or an amendment to the consent. As mentioned above minor variations can either be resolved on site with the inspector or through the office. Amendments must be submitted, checked for compliance and approved before that work can be undertaken.

To be clear, not all changes can be treated as minor variations. Please ensure you follow the approved drainage plans every time. If changes are required, make sure you check and follow the appropriate procedure first, to avoid any unnecessary delays and costs.


Licenced Building Practitioner Memoranda & Records of Work

Notification of all Licenced Building Practitioners (LBP) must be provided to the council before any restricted building work commences (relating to building consents).

The Act states that the owner is responsible for providing this to council. However as many of you are acting as the owners’ agent, or on their behalf, it is easier if you have all the memoranda available at the time of the first inspection and provide it to the inspector.

This will ensure the legislative requirement is met and council will know who to expect to see on site as the project progresses. Remember the inspector has the power to Fail the inspection if they cannot be satisfied who the LBPs for that project are going to be.

Code Compliance Certificates (CCC)

A similar process is required at the end of the project.

When you submit a code compliance certificate application to council we will be checking that the application form has been completed which includes providing details of all the LBP’s that have carried out or supervised any restricted building work.

This also includes personnel that have carried out work other than restricted work. These options are identified within the form, however if certain trades have not been involved then you can note them as “Not Applicable”.

Please be aware that an incomplete application form will not be accepted until all relevant information is provided, including additional documentation.
A Team of Industry Professionals

Within the TDC building team we very fortunate to have so many qualified staff with qualifications ranging from Local Government Act and trade related level 4 certificates through to level 6 diplomas relating to the Building Act and its regulations, as well as with many years of industry experience.

We also have an ongoing training requirement to ensure we are up to date and remain at the top of our game.

Therefore you can be confident when making a building related enquiry or when you have been asked to provide some additional information.

The entire building team are fully committed to providing you with the most appropriate and professional service possible.

Our team is made up with the following members:

Administration Team
  • Vicki McMillan – Team leader and Quality Assurance Coordinator
  • Nicholle Hills – Building Admin, LIM’s
  • Mikaela Karton - Building Admin, LIM’s
  • Maddison Read - Building Admin, LIM’s
  • Jenna Campbell - Building Admin
  • Kirstie Wilson - Building Admin, LIM’s
Technical Team
  • Mark Stericker – Team leader & Technical leader
  • Murray Winmill - Team leader & Technical leader
  • Marion Finn - Approvals
  • Paul Hansen – Approvals, Inspections, Compliance
  • Paule Crawford - Approvals
  • Kirk Downes – Approvals, Inspections
  • Taare Parekura - Approvals, Inspections
  • Malcolm Lurajud – Inspections
  • Tony Milward – Inspections
  • Dave Laws – Inspections
  • Kerry McDonald – Inspections
  • Pete Gallagher – Inspections
Compliance Team
  • Murray Winmill – Team Leader
  • Mary Gazzard – BWOFs, Compliance Schedules, South Island IQP Secretary
  • Rosanna Shand – BWOFs, COAs, Complaints, EOT’s, UBW, Exempt Building Work.
  • Jonathan Craig – EPBs, Swimming Pools
  • Andrew Feary – Initial checking of applications, Statistics
Building Advisory Office
  • David Williams – Public enquiries, Advice, Approvals
Final Thoughts
Working with council regulation is like family dynamics,
Some you like and some you don’t really care much about.
But after you have thrown you toys out of the cot,
You realise you’re still related!

Jayson Ellis, Building Control Manager
Timaru District Council Facebook
Building Services Website

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021