Nothing has changed Part 2

What is more frustrating than a business in a position of power who make the same mistake twice.
This blog started off with a Council rejecting an Application for Schedule 1 K because it is a Commercial Building. The decision Council have to make are
a) Will the building be built in accordance with the Building Code.
b) Will the building if not constructed in accordance with the Building Code harm property or people.
A determination was sought because Council rejected the application for reasons outside the two given in the Act. They said it was a commercial buildign and needed a consent. Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment ruled that the decision given was incorrect.
In the space of 18 months the Councils Building Unit has had an 80% turnover of technical staff. They appoint a Residential 2 Consent Checker with a neighbouring Council as the New coordinator and a career bureaucrat as Consents Leader.
A dairy farmer applied to demolish a 350m2 cow shed and erect a 400m2 automatic cowshed in its place under Exemption 2 (b). The building was designed by a CPEng, built by a fabricating company well respected in the South island and well as a SIPS construction form experienced in up to 6000m2 SIPS building. The building is in the middle of a paddock with over 800m to the nearest boundary and 300m to the farmers own house. The application was rejected because, and I quote
“Our reasons are that we consider that this is a commercial building containing work outside the insurance scope of a structural engineer, such as the sanitary and storm water drainage. It is beyond the simple scope of a farm shed or garage.”
Why a Chartered Professional Engineer should be responsible for the existing effluent and surface water system is beyond me. How an automatic cowshed can be commercial is a complete joke and how the government does not force Councils to adhere to their guidance is an injustice.
Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment guidance document does not limit TA exemptions to “simple Farm shed or garage” They state that if the TA cannot offer value by being inspecting, then they should exempt it. The construction is being inspected by the CPEng, the contractors are bound under a site specific quality assurance program well spelled out in the documents.
There has to be an ombudsman who can field complaints against the bureaucracy that is council and in particular they need to be held responsible when they fail to perform their functions, WITHOUT IT COSTING THE BUILDING OWNER . Council were told that if it were a commercial building, that is not reason to reject the application, But they either do not understand or do not care.
If you complain about the police, you do not have to pay for the complaint to be heard. It has to be the same for the Council when they decide they are above the Building Act 2004.
Council took 3 months to grant the building consent asking for among other things, a certain style of Section Marker to be used,  a Section they thought was wrong to be redrawn, they wanted the standard Concrete specification removed because a CPEng specification was included. (The CPEng was not covering all the foundations) The Council certainly did not add any value to the process of granting a farm shed consent, and cost the owner dearly by not having a cow shed at the start of the milking season. Serious financial hardship of a dropping milk price was added to by the Council treating the shed differently to any other intermittently occupied farm shed.
This is another reason the BCA functions needs ot be penned up to private competition, not just the token competition we have now, but the only mandatory function the Council has is Record keeper. if they want to compete against the private sector, they are welcome, but form my dealings with a number of Council throughout NZ, they all suffer from a mindset of not wanting to be in the construction industry.
Let me know you experiences with Council. Leave a comment and I will get back to you. Confidence will never be divulged.


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