Christchurch City Council loses consent accreditation

The Press reports:

The has been stripped of its accreditation to issue building consents.

In a huge blow to the organisation International Accreditation New Zealand (Ianz) has followed through on its threat to revoke the council’s accreditation.

Christchurch City Council will be stripped of its right to issue consents from Monday.

Council’s general manager regulation and democracy services Peter Mitchell said in the last 14 days the council issued 632 consents with a combined value of $160 million.

Of the original backlog of 500 consents, 25 remained and these were expected to be cleared today.

He said the council could still lawfully receive, process and grant building consents and would continue with other aspects of the building consent process, including inspections and processing code compliance certificates.

Mitchell said he was confident the city council would regain its accreditation.

He explained the Ianz letter indicated that while the agency was satisfied progress was being made, it did not yet have confidence the council was operating in full compliance with its standards.

It had raised a number of issues that it had not raised in the May 30 letter which it now wanted more information on. …

Ianz chief executive Dr Llew Richards said stripping a council of its consenting powers was a “hugely unprecedented” move.

He said the organisation told the Christchurch City Council of its decision about 9am today.  “They have not been able to satisfy us,” Richards said.

He was unable to comment specifically on the problems but outlined the process for when issues arose.

”A core responsibility of a BCAs (Building Consent Authorities) is to ensure a sound audit process is in place and to provide Ianz with records of such technical reviews. Without such evidence, Ianz could not continue accreditation,” Richards said.

”A lot of publicity is given to the statutory deadline for issuing consents. Ianz uses this information as only one of the indicators of adequate resourcing.

“An improvement in the rate of consents issued still requires an assurance they comply with the Code and Act requirements.”

Note that IANZ is independent of the Government.

I’d say this delivers the mayoral election to . Who wants to vote for incumbency, when the status quo is that you fail at your core functions?

Not that this is the fault of Bob Parker. The CEO Tony Maryatt needs to be held responsible for this outcome. Parker hasn’t helped though by denying there is a problem, and comparing the letter from IANZ to a parking ticket.

A spokesman for Brownlee said the council’s consenting crisis was scheduled to be discussed by Cabinet today. The Minister would make a comment after that.

City council planning committee chairwoman Cr Sue Wells said staff were gutted by the decision.

A consenting authority had never been stripped off its accreditation before so the council was now in uncharted waters, she said.

“We’re going to take a deep breath and sort this out,” she said.

Last November Ianz identified 17 areas of concern with the council’s processes and in May gave it formal notice of its intention to remove its consenting ability.

It is worth remembering that Lianne has spent three years claiming that the major problem in Christchurch was that the Government took away too much power from the Council. Considering the CCC has proven incompetent at even a core function such as consenting, imagine how much chaos there would have been if Labour had been in charge, and had CERA powers mainly resting with the Council?

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