7 Jul 2013

Minister doubts unsafe buildings given consent

2:27 pm on 7 July 2013

Building and Housing Minister Maurice Williamson says he's reasonably confident no consents have been issued in Christchurch for unsafe buildings.

Christchurch City Council is losing its building consents accreditation on 8 July, and a Crown manager will be appointed to run its consents department until the problems are sorted out.

Maurice Williamson.

Maurice Williamson. Photo: NZ GOVERNMENT

Some consents will be audited to ensure buildings erected in Christchurch are safe.

Mr Williamson told TVNZ's Q+A programme managers have failed to take the issue seriously despite warnings from IANZ last September and again in May.

"There was actually a culture of denial at the senior management level."

He said the problem does not reside with the council's grass-roots workers, and he has told them so.

Mr Williamson admits he does not know whether any new buildings that have received consents could be unsafe, but he doubts it.

He said officials have told him the problems are mainly technical and minor, such as documentation not being correct, rather than an issue of structural integrity.

Mr Williamson said he can't give an absolute assurance until every building consented by the council has been checked.