The Waipawa couple at the centre of a dispute between the CHB District Council building department and former councillor Andy Watts say they are hopeful that the new council, and actions taken as a result of a review of the department, will lead to better outcomes for people seeking building resource consents in the district.

In September the council was forced to issue an apology to Mr Watts after falsely claiming he had supplied non-compliant wood to Artmosphere Gallery owners Helmut Hirler and Sally Maguire who were building a lean-to shed on their property.

At the time, Mr Hirler and Ms Maguire denied this had happened and said it had taken almost a year to get the shed signed off, but this week they were just waiting on the final letter.

Mr Hirler said they received a letter of apology from the council this week over the matter, and that he was optimistic about any future dealings with the department.
"It's better now already - we have been dealing with an inspector who is filling in for another job we want done, and so far they are very good."

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The Central Hawke's Bay District Council is advertising three positions in its building department, but they are replacements for staff, rather than additional recruitments, said chief executive John Freeman.

A Building Consent Authority manager vacancy opened up when team leader Jock Hyde resigned after the Morrison Low review of the BCA, and the role has been adapted as a result of the review, he said.

"The changing of the role from team leader to manager came from the Morrison Low report and encompasses more responsibility."

In addition there was a vacancy for a senior building control officer to replace the existing staff member who had dropped to part-time and was working on historic Code Compliance Certificates.

"This had always been budgeted for as part of this financial year - it happens to coincide with the Morrison Low report that said there was resource issues."

Another vacancy for a Building Consent Authority administration officer would be seeking a fulltime applicant to replace the current part-time person, Mr Freeman said.

The report on the council's BCA, which cost $115,000, was commissioned in response to criticism of the department, particularly its customer relations.

Although some customer training had already got underway, Mr Freeman said it would now be up to the new council to decide on how work progressed.

"They are keen to go back through the report to understand the recommendations and what we are doing at the three different levels - councillors, management and staff."