• Building news

03 Nov 2023

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Christmas processing dates

If you have a builder available to commence your building work before the Christmas/New Year period please make sure you phone or email us and let us know! We are still experiencing a high volume of work coming through the door and we are not processing all consents to the required 20 day timeframe. Our priority is keeping building work going as fast as possible, so please let us know with some advanced warning if you have a hard deadline for your building consent to be issued by and we will do all we can to accommodate your needs.

Please note that the period from 20 December 2023 to the close of 10 January 2024 is excluded from the 20-workingday period for all Councils that process under a Statutory Clock. For the BCA, this relates to both Building Consents and Code Compliance Certificates. While Council continue working during these dates, Council does have a specified close down period over Christmas. This means that any applications submitted on or after Wednesday 20 December may not begin to be processed until 11 January 2024.

Our team processes applications as quickly as possible. However, an influx in the lead up to the summer break is expected. Please remember that it’s important your application has all the necessary information to ensure there are no delays to
processing. If you need to chat about the timing of your consent please give us a call on 0800 732 732 or email us at building.cs@southlanddc.govt.nz.

Inspection timeframes

Due to a change in our process and the upcoming Christmas close down, we are implementing a 5 working day request for inspection timeframe. This is a change from the 72 hour timeframe that we have been operating under.

You will need to be planning out when you will require inspections and giving us at least 5 working days notice to request these so we can accommodate you.

As always, if you have any concerns around the timeframe due to impacts around weather etc, please call us on 027 375 4067 or email us at building.cs@southlanddc.govt.nz. Also, a reminder that the best way to book your inspection is by using our online booking form: https://www.southlanddc.govt.nz/home-and-property/building-services/book-an-inspection/

Building on land subject to natural hazards

When you apply for consent for a new building, or a major alteration to an existing building, consider how the building could be affected by natural hazards, or how the work could accelerate or worsen a natural hazard.

Natural hazard dangers

The Building Act requires us to decline a building consent for work or major alterations to a building if:

  • the land is subject to one or more natural hazards
  • the work will accelerate or worsen the adverse effects of the natural hazard on that land or other property.
  • This would not apply if we are satisfied that adequate provisions have been made to protect land, building and
    other property or restore any damage to that land or other property.

If Council is satisfied that provisions have been made to protect the building and not the land and the building consent is approved, a condition would be added to the building consent which requires a notice to be registered on the property title to ensure future owners of the land know about the potential hazard. For this reason, property owners are keen to ensure that their developers and designers demonstrate how protection of the land as well as the building has been achieved.

What is a natural hazard - according to the Building Act

The Building Act defines a natural hazard as land subjected to:

  • erosion (including coastal erosion, bank erosion, and sheet erosion)
  • falling debris (including soil, rock, snow, and ice)
  • subsidence
  • inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects and ponding)
  • slippage.

Hazards such as tsunamis or earthquakes are not regarded as natural hazards under the Building Act. Occasionally natural hazards may not be identified in Project Information Memorandums (PIMs) associated with your building consents, and there may be a need for the BCA to determine whether or not natural hazard provisions apply.

MBIE have recently put out some guidelines on Natural Hazards and the application of the legislation in regards to these. The following link is their guidance Natural hazard guidance.


Due to competing priorities we have a number of amendments that are still waiting to be processed. Amendments fall under the statutory 20 day timeframe just as a building consent does. This means that you could be waiting for these to be issued.

To help us ensure that we are not holding up building work, please put in an amendment application as soon as you are aware that there are changes to the issued building consent. We have found a number of times where we have advised via a site notice several weeks earlier that an amendment is required but this is not being applied for at that time.

Focus group plans

It has been a difficult year for the industry and Council alike. Now that Council is in a position where our capacity is slowly growing, we want to ensure that we use it effectively. Council reporting shows that an increased amount of technical staff effort is going into re-inspections or re-processing. From February 2024 we want to work with you as a focus group to understand the reasons for this change and create a set of recommendations for both industry and Council to follow that will reduce rework and ensure we are all operating as efficiently as possible. Together we can make it better.

We are looking for a variety of industry roles to participate in our focus group including designers, architects, plumbers, builders, engineers and more. Each role plays a different part in the construction industry and is equally impacted by rework.

If you are interested in participating in 10 focus group sessions during the year and can commit to a 2 hour meeting once per month to be held at locations in either Te Anau or Invercargill, please send through your expressions of interest now to building.cs@southlanddc.govt.nz.

Who do we invoice?

We have had a number of applications coming through with the incorrect person to invoice. Please take care when completing the Simpli application forms that you are putting the correct payee for us to invoice. This is creating a lot of re-work for us and takes us away from the more important work we need to do for you.

Simpli updates

Simpli have released new updates this month. A summary of these can be found at the following link:https://simpli.govt.nz/bca-news-article/article-172/0-release-24-1-into-production

Staff changes

We would like to congratulate Scott Belesky and Mike Cairns for their promotions to Building Control Team Leaders. We’ve grown the team and have brought on a number of junior positions to train and develop into fully competent BCOs.

This growth has meant that we needed to split the team and create a second Team Leader position. Congratulations also goes to Mandi Jamieson who has stepped into the role of Technical Assessor Support Officer. This role is working alongside Angus McIntyre who is our Technical Lead to help ensure that the training requirements of staff are met and competencies retained and applied.

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