Who would bother trying to build anything these days?

And I don't just mean major construction companies.

I mean the smaller scale Mum and Dad builds, the alterations, the back deck, the garage, the retaining wall. Ahhhhh the retaining wall.


A simple retaining wall, as desired by a Chch couple recently, ended up with them not having a wall at all. Instead, they became the latest victims of our mad consent process.

The plan was for a simple concrete block retaining wall along a bank, so that machinery could get around their garage during earthquake rebuild work.

The retaining wall was budgeted to cost $20,000 to construct.
Guess how much consent was going to cost? $20,000.
The same amount as the wall itself. Laughable if it wasn't so depressing.

And therein lies everything that is wrong with consents and bureaucracy and council red tape.

Just to get permission to build something costs as much as the build itself. And we wonder why construction companies are going belly up.

So much cost and bureaucracy that guess what? They're not bothering to build the wall anymore.

How many other families would be in the same boat? I'd say many more than we hear about.

How stressful to have the process become so gallingly cost prohibitive, you just have to give up.

It's one thing to budget for the actual work, it's quite another to have to double it for consents. And that's just for small time builds and alterations.

What about medium size professional builders? Those waiting on worksites, tradies who can't get jobs going, developers who are stalled, houses unable to be sold because they're still waiting for CCCs.

I understand the rationale and reasoning behind consents, but are they not so draconian now that they're actually hampering progress?

No we can't just have open season on alterations and builds, but can't we try to reduce some of the bureaucratic headache and process? Reduce some of the red tape - and make it slightly more reasonable?

It'd be nice to think we could trim at least some of the unnecessary waffle and box ticking, before too many more people have to abandon their retaining walls.