News, Events and Culture

Extra Building Inspection shift created to clear backlog

Monday March 30 2015

Palmerston North City Council's Building Service's inspection team has introduced Saturday shifts for the foreseeable future to help clear a backlog of inspections.

Head of Building Services, Leigh Sage says along with the extra shifts, the first of which began on Saturday 28 March, we've also adjusted our scheduling process to enable more inspections to be done on any given work day. 

Staff from other areas in the building team have been brought in to meet demand where possible, and we've also employed contractors to assist in meeting demand. 

Mr Sage says the backlog affects both residential and commercial inspections:

  • For residential inspections, there is an 8 working day delay
  • For commercial inspections, there is a 9 working day delay.

Mr Sage says there are a number of reasons behind the delays, including an increased demand for inspections and, for an increased number of inspections that require specialist inspectors - particularly in the commercial area. 

In part, it is also due to the clearing of the backlog of building consents in the processing area and code compliance certificate decisions (to meet accreditation audit needs) over the last few months. 

Alongside this, we have ongoing staff leave commitments, and we operate in a sector that is bereft of skilled inspectors coming through. Many are being pulled into the overheated Auckland and Christchurch building markets, and the associated fallout effect on the industry. 

"We have several new recruits. However, they require another 3-5 months of training before they can undertake inspections in the field," Mr Sage says. 

"All possible steps are being taken to address the inspection delays. However, it could take 1-2 more months before the problem is reduced. We've advised the industry, and we appeal for their understanding and help in reducing the backlog. They can do this by being more flexible around times for when inspections can be carried out. And, by not cancelling inspections at short notice - as this prevents us from organising another inspection." 

Mr Sage says April is a particularly difficult month for Building Services. Statutory holidays mean three weeks in the month are shorter than normal and the team is busy preparing for the IANZ audit to meet re-accreditation requirements. 

For more information: 

Leigh Sage
Head of Building Services
Palmerston North City Council
355 8199