DESIGN AND BUILDING - REASONS FOR CONSENT DELAYS
As part of its broader monitoring role, MBIE recently undertook a case study that focused on the reasons why some building consent applications experience delays once they have entered a building consent authority's (BCAs) processing system. MBIE was hoping to determine if there were any particular areas that could be readily addressed through sector guidance, regulatory intervention or training, thereby minimising the impact of requests for further information (RFIs). While BCAs have a statutory obligation to complete the consent process within 20 working days of lodgement, the issuing of an RFI effectively stops the clock, which in turn affects project timeframes and overall sector productivity.
Key findings from the analysis and other work-streams underway in MBIE are as follows:
- The two most common reasons for issuing RFIs were the need for clarification and missing information
- The majority of the RFIs did not provide any details identifying whether the consent was related to an acceptable or alternative solution. The means of compliance was not always clear and/ or there were numerous occasions where consent documentation was ambiguous or non-specific (particularly where generic specifications had been utilised)
- Three building code areas accounted for over 77% of the total codes counted, these were B (structural), G (services and facilities) and E (moisture)
- Three technical clauses accounted for over 54% of the total code clauses counted, these were B1, E2, and G1
- In both B1 and E2, a large portion of RFIs required further sign off or calculations from engineers. In the case of B1, this was over 30% of the RFIs issued.
From LBP perspective two of the Building Code clauses mentioned above related to restricted building work (RBW), being the primary structure (clause B1) and external moisture management system (clause E2). This highlights the need for designers to ensure their means of compliance is clear and unambiguous as lack of clarity can have a direct effect on the flow of applications through the consent process, which has a knock on through to the design documentation that is later interpreted by practitioners on site. In essence, BCAs and others should not have to search through the consent documents for Building Code compliance, rather the compliance pathway selected should be clearly illustrated in the design itself.
MBIE is keen to work alongside BCAs and the wider sector to better understand the reasons for delays in the consent-cycle. For this reason an approach has been made to the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand (BOINZ) to discuss how this information might be shared with practitioners through Codewords on an on-going basis.
RE-published from MBIE Codewords http://www.dbh.govt.nz/codewords-064#productivity