Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Council's consents put people at risk - IANZ

The Christchurch City Council was granting building consents that could potentially put people and property at risk. Photo / Christchurch Star
The Christchurch City Council was granting building consents that could potentially put people and property at risk. Photo / Christchurch Star

Christchurch City Council had its building consents accreditation removed because it was granting consents that could potentially put people and property at risk, International Accreditation New Zealand says.

The organisation revoked the council's accreditation on Monday, after it failed to improve its consenting process over the last month.

However, the council will continue to issue consents even though they will no longer be approved by the independent authority International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) from next Monday onwards.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the move was unlikely to make any difference to the council, and it would be "business as usual".

IANZ last month warned the council that they had to speed up the flow of consent approvals, or they faced losing accreditation.

The Government had also threatened to step in due to the local body's "repeated inability" to meet statutory timeframes for processing building consents.

A meeting was planned this afternoon between Mr Parker and his chief executive Tony Marriott, and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Local Government Minister Chris Tremain, to discuss what it would take to keep the rebuilding going.

Mr Brownlee told Radio New Zealand a halt would not be put on issuing consents.

"That would be utterly, utterly disastrous because there's a lot of people who want to get on with things, and we can not have any slower process than we're having to deal with at the moment."

IANZ chief executive Lou Richards told RNZ his staff had found consents granted to a number of buildings where there was no evidence they met the building code.

"In other words consents granted that there was no evidence that those consents for buildings built to them would comply with the building code or the Building Act."

However, that did not necessarily mean those buildings were dangerous, he said.

The practice had been going on for "quite some time".

Mr Richards also questioned the competence of the workers granting the consents for buildings that did not comply with the building code.

"We would have expected a significant review of the competence assessments that have been carried out, and again we have no evidence that such a review had taken place or the outcome of that review."

- NZ Herald

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