News, Events and Culture

PNCC working to reduce red tape around building consents

Friday January 22 2016

Palmerston North City Council is one of 21 councils around central New Zealand signed up to a programme to standardise and simplify the building consenting process.

Photo shows closeup of timber framing on a building site against a blue sky.

GoShift is a partnership between central and local government to improve performance, consistency and service delivery across the building consent system.

The programme is led by Wellington City Council with the support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Nearby councils involved are Horowhenua, Manawatu, Rangitikei, Ruapehu, Tararua and Whanganui District Councils.

The first obvious sign that GoShift is up and running will be the introduction over the next few months of simplified and standardised consent application forms across all 21 councils. Other parts of the consent process such as approvals and inspections will be standardised over the next six to 12 months.

"We are really supportive of this initiative," says Peter Eathorne, PNCC general manager customer services. "The key message we have received from the city's developers' forum is to reduce red tape. Standardising the forms and simplifying the process is a cost effective way of doing business.

"This initiative should be particularly useful for builders and developers who are working across council boundaries. It will mean they won't need to completely rewrite each consent application to meet the criteria of individual councils."

MBIE general manager building system performance Derek Baxter says MBIE is supporting the councils' joint efforts because they've taken a solid leadership position on something they have the ability and mandate to change for the better.

"GoShift councils have committed to making it easier for their building customers to do business with them, by reducing the complexity of their processes and sharing them with other councils, he says. "Customers will have consistent building consent experiences, no matter which council they are dealing with.

"One participating council has had, up to now, 26 different kinds of consent application forms. GoShift will reduce that to just two."

The GoShift project is being resourced from within existing budgets in the participating councils and with in-kind contribution of expertise from MBIE, so it does not add further cost to the system it is trying to improve.

Key GoShift benefits

  • standardised and aligned processes (eg. forms, templates, checklists) across participating councils
  • shared online services, data and resources
  • a single, best practice quality management system
  • cost savings from sharing resources