22 Apr 2015

Inspection failure rate deceptive - officials

3:32 pm on 22 April 2015

Almost half of Auckland's commercial buildings are failing final building inspections.

Construction worker

Photo: 123rf

The Auckland Council said 45 percent have failed since July last year.

The figure is higher than in Christchurch, where developers have accused inspectors of being pedantic, with 40 percent of newly-completed commercial buildings failing final inspections last month.

But Auckland Council manager of compliance and building control Barry Smedts said the figures were not surprising given the size and complexity of the buildings.

He said the failure rate also took into account partial passes when the whole building was not yet competed.

Similar data is unavailable for Wellington as commercial data is not kept separately from residential figures.

However, Wellington Council manager of building consents and compliance Mike Scott said he thought Wellington's failure rate would be similar.

"It would be fairly representative of Wellington's figures; it doesn't really vary much nationally."

He also said failure rates for building inspections were not as bad as they appeared.

"There's quite a bit of analysis that needs to be looked at when you're talking about a final inspection," he said.

"Technically it can be failed if all the paperwork isn't in order or there might be minor things. So it's not necessarily a fundamental flaw in the actual building; it's just they haven't covered off every single thing that needs to be dealt with."

Mr Scott said it was unusual to get a major issue at the time of the final inspection.

He said failures such as missing an emergency exit sign could lead to a fail.

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