Thursday, 27 November 2008


We have a big shed - 120sqm that was built to house specs that may one day become a house on a ten acre block in rural NZ - We camp in it from time to time.

We want to put a toilet and shower and a washbasin in - You would think that would be simple.
The council told us it would be pretty simple - an amendment to the original building consent.

Anyway - we have submitted all the paper work and this particular council says it takes at least 20 working days to process applications. so on day 24 we get this response -

Building Consent Authorities need to be satisfied that compliance with the building code will be met when issuing a Building Consent.
Please forward the following information to prove compliance with the requirements of the NZ building code.

  • The submitted documents lack detailed specifications. Would you please provide the written specifications as underpin the already submitted documents as detail the proposed work thereby demonstrating how compliance with the Building code will be achieved for the proposed works.
Please reference the building consent application number when responding to the above request. Approval of this applications has been suspended until your plans and or specifications have been amended to conform with the above comments.

It doesn't even make sense.
We submitted about 30 pages of docs - with all the F***king details. God only knows what you would need to do to build a bloody house!

So it looks like we will have a port loo and solar shower over xmas -

Pissed off doesn't begin to describe how we feel. but I wont name the council because we all know what happens when you piss off the council building inspector - they are more powerful and vindictive than the last Labour Government !


Blondini Gang said...

Same here/diff council! Now family will camp in lounge over xmas, rather than new bedrooms.

Go Rodney!

Anonymous said...

There is a way to do this.
Reply asking for specifics that are needed. Ask for a template that can be filled out and thus satisfy the requirements.
Most importantly ask for assistance in how to comply.
These people do not like signing anything that could bite them on the bum, so you need to tie them down. They are very helpful if you play the game.

If that can't be provided ask why.
Keep documents and copies and cc to whoever you feel necessary. I suggest that anyone with QC or JP after the name will do.
If it is the council that I think it is the ex plumber from Taihape who is there is usually ok. named after a king in the bible

Anonymous said...

You will usually find the inspectors are really practicle helpful people, if you can get to them, it's the desk jockeys that are the problem.

Anonymous said...

As a registered architect I deal with this crap all the time- but without wanting to be seen as an apologist for the council, you do normally need to supply a copy of the specification with the application. They will have a pre application checklist.

HOWEVER they have 20 working days to either grant, refuse, or ask for further information for the consent. If its more than 20 working days, and/or the information they are asking for is not in the checklist, the trick is to say you will lodge a complaint with the ombudsman- they dont like that. Serve a copy of your complaint on the council (as you are obliged to), that is normally enough to get an apologetic personal call from the council ceo, and your consent processed next day.

Under the current building act however the council carries liability for ten years after they sign off your work- and unfortunately the building industry attracts plenty of scumbag bottom dwelling arsehole shark lawyers who will happily sue them (and you and the builder)on behalf of a subsequent owner if work doesnt comply with the building code. Hence their paranoia.

Dont blame the poor old inspector for needing to cover his backside, he is just acting under instructions from the councils insurance group- and is probably well aware that some ex council inspectors are currently being sued as individuals for not follwing procedure in cases where councils have been successfuly sued..

wino said...

That must be their standard "oops run out of time to have a look at this better send out a letter that gives us more time" delaying tactic. Friends father was really brave or foolish and gave the council a ring saying he wanted to see the inspector in the morning as he was pouring the foundations. Within half an hour he got a call back demanding he come and pay for his building consent.