Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Chch council consents: Second sample finds no safety issues

Christchurch City viewed from the Port Hills. Photo / File / Geoff Sloan
Christchurch City viewed from the Port Hills. Photo / File / Geoff Sloan

A second sample audit of building consents issued by Christchurch City Council have found no safety problems, the Government said today.

International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) revoked the council's building consent accreditation a week ago following its inability to bring its processes up to the required standard.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has reviewed 24 consents issued from the past six months - a sample representing a cross-section of building projects, building types and project values, from $7000 to $5.5 million.

"MBIE found while there were administrative processing errors, it concluded the consents are technically sound,'' Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said.

"This news restores some confidence to the Christchurch rebuild and to the Christchurch City Council.''

Last week, an MBIE audit of 17 consents identified by IANZ in September 2012 as not demonstrating full compliance with the Building Code or Act found incomplete or incorrect administrative processes, but no safety issues.

A wider audit of recently issued building consents will be conducted by Crown manager Doug Martin, who started his role this week to improve the building consent function at the council, Mr Williamson confirmed.

The Crown manager will set the parameters for the audit.

Chief executive Tony Marryatt has been stood down on indefinite leave over the building consents crisis.

Former Local Government New Zealand head Peter Winder was yesterday appointed to conduct the independent investigation into the building consents crisis and see how much Mr Marryatt knew about its struggles.

Crown Manager Doug Martin said it was reassuring that no safety problems had been found.

"This review follows similar findings of last week's audit of 17 consents identified by IANZ in September last year as not demonstrating full compliance with the Building Code or Act, which also found there were no safety issues,'' he said.

"As the minister says, I will be initiating a wider audit of recently issued building consents. Given the scale of the rebuild in Christchurch, it is important that public confidence is restored in the council's consent processes.''

Mr Martin, who started in his role this week as Crown Manager, said he had started his review of the council's building consent processes.

He expected to provide an initial action plan to address problems with the council's building consent processes to the Minister of Local Government and the Minister of Building and Construction by August 15.

- APNZ

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