News, Events and Culture

Online building consenting service gets easier

Friday April 7 2017

A group of leading building industry representatives has been formed to help Palmerston North City Council deliver a new online system for building consents.

Photo shows Shane McEldowney.

Shane McEldowney of Presidential Homes will chair the new group

PNCC Customer Services General Manager Peter Eathorne says the Council is working closely with local firm Alpha One to implement the electronic system, which will lower the cost of building consents applied for online and make processing them faster and easier.

“Industry engagement is vital for the success of the project. That’s why we’re delighted to have Shane McEldowney of Presidential Homes chairing the project’s industry liaison group.”

Presidential Homes builds pre-fabricated houses from its factory in Jasper Place, which are transported to sites throughout the lower North Island. “We apply for dozens of consents each year and have a number of houses on the go at our factory at any one time,” says Shane McEldowney. “We’re working to tight timeframes for delivery so anything we can do to speed up the process is good for us and good for the whole industry.”

Mr McEldowney says another important role for the liaison group is keeping the local building industry well informed about the rollout of the new online system. “This will mean less paperwork for all of us and it will also make it simpler and faster to schedule onsite inspections by Building Officers during different stages of a build, because the whole process can be managed online.”

Mr Eathorne says the new system will be rolled out in June. An electronic system will allow Council to remove the current charges for scanning, printing and file management, saving up to $548 per application for new commercial buildings or a reduction of up to $273 per application for commercial alterations or additions. The cost of residential consents for new houses could typically fall by up to $191 and by up to $98 for alterations and additions. The cost of online consents for minor work like installing a woodburner will remain the same.

For customers who don’t have the ability to lodge consents electronically, a customer hub will be set up in the Council’s Customer Service Centre in The Square. For people continuing to file manually, their overall costs could rise between $23 and $234 depending on the type of consent.

“This is a big shift for the way we do things,” says Mr Eathorne. “It demonstrates PNCC’s commitment to improving customer service and being open for business.”