18 Jun 2013

Council pledge to clear 500 building consents

10:38 pm on 18 June 2013

The Christchurch City Council says it will clear nearly 500 stalled building consents in the next three weeks.

Council staff revealed an action plan on Tuesday at an urgent meeting about problems within the consents department. Some consents have taken up to 90 days to process instead of the required 20 days.

International Accreditation New Zealand has warned that the council's consenting powers could be revoked if it does not sort out its processes by 28 June.

The council's acting building relations manager, Steve McCarthy, said four extra building consent officers have been hired and will be able to process a further 20 consents a week.

Another 22 staff are still to be recruited and existing staff are working weekends. A telephone hub has been set up to help process consent-related calls.

More than 1200 building consents are currently being processed and 497 are suspended because they are waiting on information. Mr McCarthy said the backlog will be cleared by early July.

On Monday, the Government announced it was sending a team of technical experts from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help clear the backlog.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said they will have the authority to make changes to the department.