Got It Nailed - August 2020

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Published: 31 Jul 2020

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Issue 35 - August 2020

Getting back to business


Now that the ‘team of five million’ has done a great job at getting through the stages of the pandemic, I’m sure you are all wondering and trying to predict what the next six to 12 months is going to look like.

While we still have some challenges ahead of us I believe that our district, in general terms, will fare better than others around the country. This is evident in the number of consent applications coming through at very similar levels compared to the same stage last year, so fingers crossed this can continue.

 
Electronic Consenting
For some time now we have been working in a digitally when receiving, processing and inspecting building consents. However, the Building Unit is always looking at ways of being more efficient in performing our regulatory functions. 

One of the findings from working during level 4 lockdown was that we can work very successfully and effectively in the digital space, so are now in the process of implementing a number of changes.

Towards the end of the year (the aim is currently November) we will be changing our consenting software to a product called “GoGet” and the application submission portal to “Simpli”. 

These products are specifically designed for managing the end to end building consent process, and will align TDC with many of our neighbouring councils. 

Upgrading to this system will enable all consent applications to be submitted through the portal, and all other documents electronically. There is time in hand from now till November to get yourself set up to manage this change, while some of you will be used to these programs already, we’re here to ensure the change will not be onerous for you as the end user.
NOTE: There is now guidance on our website (under the forms section) on how to edit the forms electronically. 

https://www.timaru.govt.nz/services/building/overview/additional-consent-info/forms-and-checklists
Minor Variations and Amendments
Minor Variations and Amendments are still proving to be challenging for us all. We all know that changes to building consents and the related building work occur for many reasons and we will always try to work with you as much as we can, however our regulatory discretion is limited and therefore a more consistent approach is required.

Minor Variations can either be resolved on site with the inspector or through the office, which will require revised plans or details to be submitted so they can be officially recorded within the consent. However, amendments must be processed and approved (just like the original BC) before that work can be started so it is critical that you allow the necessary time for this process to be completed, otherwise it can cause you significant downstream delays to your build programme.

Code Compliance Certificate (CCC)

Please access the code compliance certificate application form (any other forms) from https://www.timaru.govt.nz/services/building/overview/additional-consent-info/forms-and-checklists , complete in full and submit to council via this email address building@timdc.govt.nz .


There is now a declaration statement on these forms that you must complete as a substitute for an electronic signature. We will be checking that all application forms has been completed in full, this includes providing all documentation as requested on the “Inspection & Documentation Regime” attached to your consent.

This also includes identifying any other persons 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. Please remember to submit these electronically.


Refusing a Building Consent

Refusing to grant a building consent is a very considered process by the building team.
Some of you may consider this to be a bit of a Blunt tool, however it is important that we are not spending any unnecessary time processing an application when there is not enough compliance being demonstrated.

I can appreciate the process of “being satisfied on reasonable grounds” can be seen as subjective, however to ensure your application/s are not refused, please make sure you understand how and what compliance means relating to your project and that you are 100% confident the information you are providing is compliant.

Remember that pre-consent meetings are available on request and I encourage you to use this free service for those more complex projects.


Building Platforms & Site Works

On the last edition I provided some guidance on site works and creating building platforms and the requirement for building consent in certain situations. However, in doing so I have inadvertently created some confusion (apologies for that), so I would like to provide clarity around this area of work with some common examples.
These are only common examples. If in doubt, please get in touch with us for advice.
Some examples of when a building consent is required would be:

  • Any site preparation that involves filling of an area for the purpose of a building to be located in that area at any time in the future.
  • This work shall be designed by a suitably qualified design professional eg structural and or Geotech engineers.
Examples of when a building consent may not be required:
  • Building up a site for landscaping purposes only
  • 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 providing you are not altering a natural water course)
NOTE: (remember to consider if a building could be located on the site in the future)
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 (structural and or Geotech engineer) to ensure the fill is designed and placed (engineered) to suit and apply for a building consent.
  3. If you are contemplating doing any site works, it would be a very good idea to discuss this with the council building team first so that you can set off in the right direction and that your project will be fit for purpose.

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

 

Changes to Exempt Building Work (Schedule One)


Back in May the minister announced a suit of changes to Schedule 1 of the Building Act. Many of the changes will have a direct impact on us all to varying levels and, while the changes do not come into force until the end of August 2020, we are still waiting on MBIE to provide the guidance needed to navigate our way through the details.

Once the guidance has been released we will ensure this gets forwarded onto you all, however in the mean time you can check out the following website
https://www.building.govt.nz/projects-and-consents/planning-a-successful-build/scope-and-design/check-if-you-need-consents/building-consent-exemptions-for-low-risk-work/new-building-consent-exemptions/

Also you can check out my episode of the TDC Councilcast all about these changes:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1069387/4482209

Building Law Reform Submission


Many of you will be aware of the Governments program for changes to the Building Act. The latest change “Building (Building Products and Methods, Modular Components, and Other Matters) Amendment Bill” has gone through its first reading and was put out for submission. I submitted ours on the 10th July and requested to speak to the committee which will be on the 6th August.

In general terms we support the intent of the Bill, however we still believe there are some crucial aspects that need to be addressed to ensure the proposed changes will have the desired effect.

These aspects include reviewing the definition of “Meaning of Building” and the word “Structure”. We believe that once these definitions are updated to be relevant to the industry, subsequent changes will achieve their desired outcome.
you can see more about this by visiting this site:
https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_97710/tab/digest
Final Thoughts

Definition of a Professional:
“A person who carries out a deliberate act to achieve a predictable outcome.”

- Jayson Ellis, Building Control Manager
 
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Last updated: 31 Jul 2020