10 May 2016

Review finds local authorities lacking on building checks

From Nine To Noon, 9:09 am on 10 May 2016

A review of local councils finds nearly half are ignoring their legal requirement to check that buildings are safe and to issue infringement notices. The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment has looked into the performance of 13 councils around the country, including Auckland, Kapiti Coast and Taranaki. Under the Building Act 2012 , local councils and regional councils are required to carry out on-site audits of non-residential buildings. But of the 13 councils reviewed, six were not carrying out any on-site audits to check that their Building Warrants of Fitness are being complied with. This covers systems like fire alarms, sprinklers, automatic doors and lifts, to make sure they work as they should in case of fire or power outages. Of those that were doing on-site audits, there were long time lags between audits. The review has also found that some of the councils were overly "customer-friendly" and not pulling building owners up enough. To discuss this, Dave Gittings is the Team Leader of the Consent System at MBIE and Kevin Collins from Timaru. Mr Collins - who retired last month after 45 years as a fire fighter and 27 as a fire investigator and risk management officer.