Jones call for fewer building permits

November 18th, 2013 at 6:06 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former minister of building and housing wants to simplify renovation compliance measures and cut costs.

Jones, Labour’s building and construction spokesman, said much could be done to improve the system.

“Where a builder is a registered, certified builder, like a plumber or sparkie, where they are working on odd jobs or renovations that don’t require a great deal of attention from compliance because it’s low risk, you shouldn’t need to get a building permit, just like you don’t need to get a building permit for a plumber or sparkie to fix your place.

“So if the remedial job has a level of risk not in orbit, why tie up building inspectors where a competent builder – who can be sued because he’s registered – can just get on and do it.”

Once again I tend to agree with Jones. But does his caucus? Will this idea become Labour policy?

Someone should keep a running tally of all the stuff Jones announces as Labour spokesperson and see if any of it actually ends up backed by his caucus.

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15 Responses to “Jones call for fewer building permits”

  1. lolitasbrother (479 comments) says:

    Yes, why can’t Government just run with this idea and do it.
    You are up too early Mr. Farrar its only six thirty am there.

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  2. JeffW (320 comments) says:

    We should be asking ourselves how to redesign the whole building inspection morass.
    It seems to me the role of the government including local government should be severely curtailed. Govt could require insurance to be in place, perhaps by requiring an insurance certificate to be part of any house sale & purchase agreement. Insurers would then be the ones with the interest in building certification; it is the insurance sector would should be deciding building standards, to protect their risk. They should be the ones to engage private sector building inspection companies. In other words, the whole exercise could be conducted by the private sector. Faster, cheaper, better, no political hot potatoes. Only problem that I can see is that rates would have to drop, and the shrieking that would cause would not be pleasant.

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  3. Colville (2,081 comments) says:

    Jones is asking for what already exists?
    Minor (remedial) alterations not requiring cutting into a bearing wall or moving a sanitary fixture do not require a consent.

    If Jones (and DPF) what to actually make a difference they should be looking at streamlining (and capping the cost of) small project consents like building a deck or garage, alterations to a bathroom.

    The ability to sue the builder will be small comfort 5 years later when the one man band you hired has given up the insurances , shut down his Ltd liability Co and gone to work for someone else or given up the trade.

    If Councils are to inspect and take fees off us we should have the abilty to sue them!

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  4. Colville (2,081 comments) says:

    JeffW.
    If Councils gave up building consents I think rates would go UP, they rape consent applicants as a cash cow to earn $$.

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  5. Lance (2,451 comments) says:

    @Colville
    Putting a 45kg Solar Hot Water panel on a roof requires a 104 page building consent. I shit you not.

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  6. peterwn (3,163 comments) says:

    Trouble is, people (both those who have houses built and those who later buy them) hold politicians accountable for building issues and so state politicians pass the accountability to local politicians to be underwritten by ratepayers. There is even the ridiculous situation where the Ministry of Education is trying to hold councils accountable for leaky schools, never mind that schools do not pay rates (apart from water and wastewater services).

    In the early 1990′s an attempt was made to open up the building permitting and inspection to competition. Its success depended on the inspection companies properly insuring themselves. Insurance companies would only insure them for effectively the odd ‘here and there’ failure, but not systemic failures. So the whole lot fell over in a heap, and NZ has arguably ended up with an even more costly and draconian system than in past years.

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  7. Nostalgia-NZ (4,911 comments) says:

    A lot of minor work no longer requires a consent, provided that the builder is licenced and the alterations comply, this includes stairs, new walls, plumbing etc. Maybe Jones isn’t up to date with the current changes.

    Consents for solar water panels are out of the water, at least around the Coromandel where it is inconsistent with policies of saving water and power. Additionally there is a ‘charge’ for discharging treated waste water.

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  8. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Jones would be better advised to keep watching porn videos as he has lost the plot politically. He, and his party, are responsible for all the crap around building consents. What about two-minute showers!

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  9. Camryn (550 comments) says:

    Colville – a building I own a unit in *is* suing the local council. Their certifier wasn’t certified to certify and signed off on a non-compliant building.

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  10. WineOh (552 comments) says:

    I don’t think building consents are the real issue, yes they’re annoying and inconvenient- its the resource consents that are the real time waster.

    The building consents are a money spinner for local councils though and that revenue has to be replaced by ratepayers to service the colossal debts they have racked up.

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  11. NK (1,070 comments) says:

    There is no such thing as a building permit. They went out in 1991. That Jones doesn’t know that is a worry. Second, there are pages and pages of exemptions for building consents in the schedule to the Building Act. So a lot of his examples are already exempt from consents (not permits).

    All in all a BS story.

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  12. Archer (170 comments) says:

    Jones: Yeah
    Labour Caucus: Nah

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  13. peterwn (3,163 comments) says:

    Camryn – just why is it a council’s problem that the certifier was not certified or that the building was non compliant. The owners should sue the certifier and the developer and vendor. It is not the long suffering ratepayers’ problem – it is the ratepayer you are expecting to front up to cover a sour deal. This sounds rather like the cradle to grave ‘entitlement’ people expect nowadays.

    This has even more force in the argument that councils (ie ratepayers) should not front up when the units are effectively hotel rooms, managed apartments, etc even though they are unit titled and ‘owned’ by a bunch of ‘investors’. Those buying should have ensured there was proper and effective design and on-site supervision.

    Ratepayers and taxpayers are not expected to front up to reimburse the victims of Ross Asset Management. So why should they have to front up when a property investment turns sour.

    Caveat Emptor.

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  14. Paulus (2,502 comments) says:

    Haven’t Labour realised yet that they made a big mistake in electing Cunliffe ?
    Shane Jones at least says what he thinks, irrespective, and people respect him for that.
    Whilst many in Labour do not like him he would have come out better as a leader to the public.
    Whereas Cunliffe talks with two tongues.

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  15. peterwn (3,163 comments) says:

    Paulus – psst, we do not want Labour to know this until it is too late.

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