Along with other councils across the country, Nelson City Council’s resource consent and building consent teams are facing a higher demand for services while at the same time dealing with a nationwide shortage of experienced and qualified planning staff.

Although Council is generally able to complete the processing of consents within statutory timeframes, workloads for the planning team and an increase in demand for consents in the lead-up to the Christmas holiday break are creating delays with consents processing.

This means we are seeing an increase in the number of consents that are not granted within the 20 working day timeframe compared with previous years.

Inspections are generally able to be booked within 72 hours, however the demand for Final Inspections and Code Compliance Certificates is also currently very high.

Council is undertaking a number of measures to help ease delays and to reduce the impacts on customers:

• Maximising staff workload and redeploying resources from elsewhere where possible.

• Investigating the training of new building officers after recent recruitment for experienced building officers proved unsuccessful due to a nationwide shortage.

• Using contractors to process applications and undertake building inspections, but this is limited as those resources are also at capacity.

Acting Group Manager Environmental Management, Jo Martin, says it’s important to provide clarity and transparency around current timeframes so people can plan for, and understand, potential delays.

“We appreciate the public’s patience while we are short-staffed and trust we can work together to ensure you have a consent that is fit for purpose, albeit it may take longer than we would like.

“In this climate, it is more vital than ever that applicants ensure they provide all the information required at the start of the application process and identify their deadlines so the team can work to that as much as possible, streamlining procedures while still meeting the requirements under the Resource Management Act.”

There are things you can do to help streamline your building consent application:

• Council asks that people please plan ahead; you may need to allow more time than normal to complete your build, particularly if product substitution is required. Please discuss ahead of time with the inspector or processor to see if a Minor Variation or Formal Amendment is required.

• When completing Building Consent and Code Compliance Certificate applications, please ensure you complete all fields and supply all relevant supporting documentation, removing any unnecessary items.

• Provide prompt responses to any request for information letters (RFI) you receive.

• Please use the simpli portal on the Nelson City Council website to make your applications and accept collaboration invites from the portal to ensure you receive notifications and updates on your project.

• Familiarise yourself with the shutdown periods for building consents and inspections. Go to nelson.govt/apply-for-building-consent for more information.

“Council appreciates and understands that people need certainty to move forward with their plans and we apologise for the inconvenience and potential impact this might have on your projects. Thank you for your patience while we work through these delays.”