Growing Places e-newsletter

Here’s the latest information about building consents and resource consents from Waikato District Council.

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Team update

Building Consents team:

Over the past six months we’ve been working hard to update our systems so that you can submit building consents through email, dropbox, a disc or a USB stick. We’re encouraging as many of you as we can to submit your consents online – it’s much easier and quicker for you and for us! We’ve taken your feedback on board and we’ll continue to look at ways to improve our systems and processes, such as getting an online portal. Stay tuned for more info!  

The Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 introduced major changes to the way earthquake-prone buildings are identified and managed. It’s a consistent approach across the country and focuses on the most vulnerable buildings in terms of people's safety. We’ll be contacting customers that have buildings we’ve identified as being potentially earthquake prone. You’ll find more information here.

Resource Consents team:

For those of you that have worked with Wayne Harden (Land Development Engineering Team Leader) and Josef Holland (Planning and Engineering Officer), you’ll be disappointed to hear that they’ll be leaving us in February. We’re sad to see them go but wish them well in their new roles. Wayne is moving up to Auckland and Josef is taking up a planner role at Hamilton City Council.

Last year there were a number changes to the Resource Management Act as a result of changes to the legislation. This included new process such as the Permitted Boundary Activities and Fast Track consents and also made changes to how natural hazards are assessed and to our resource consent notification assessment.

For us, this meant that a number of staff had to update internal processes, update all our forms and the information on our website, and do our best to make sure you were aware of the changes in advance.

Our goal was to make these changes as simple and easy as possible for you.

We’re thrilled that a large number of you acknowledged our work on this. Our staff worked really hard over this period and it’s great to get the positive feedback.

We have ongoing work regarding risk assessments for Natural Hazards but it is a challenging area given national direction and guidance is limited at this stage.  We will keep you informed as and when we progress and complete aspects of this work.    

Staff Profile: Janene KoppersJanene Koppers

Meet our superstar Team Leader Building Administrator, Janene Koppers. Janene has been working for Waikato District Council for almost 22 years and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to anything to do with building consents.

During that time she’s held various roles, including Building Administrator, Regulatory Administration Team Leader, Building Administration Supervisor, Customer Delivery Officer and Building Accreditation Officer. She became the Team Leader Building Administrator four years ago. Before joining Waikato District Council, she worked for Franklin District Council in Pukekohe as a Building Clerk.

She really enjoys looking at ways to improve systems, updating processes and the auditing side of her position. 

“The Building Unit is a great bunch to work with and we have some great laughs together.  I have a great team of three administrators and often hear great feedback from customers regarding their customer service and professionalism.  My position has a variety of duties which keeps me very busy.”

“Last year was a very challenging year with a number of big changes, including moving from paper applications to electronic applications, but it’s great to make things easier for our customers.”

Janene lives in Ngaruawahia. She has a teenager at home who keeps her and her husband on their toes. As a family they love going to Whangamata for their holidays where she can catch up on some reading and recharging her batteries. 

 

Processing statistics: the latest numbers from our district

Here are the latest numbers for LIMs, property enquiries, building consent and resource consent applications.

 

Te Kauwhata development

What's happening: Development Contributions Policy review – we want your feedback

Under the Local Government Act 2002 and its amendments Councils development contributions policy must be reviewed every 3 years. Any revision to the Development Contributions Policy will take effect from 01 July 2018.

  • There have been no legislative changes since we adopted our 2015 DC Policy.
  • The proposed wording changes are for clarity only and there are no proposed changes to the methodology.

Since July 2015 Council has received one formal objection and 43 requests for Reconsideration which is a small percentage of our overall consenting activities. The wording changes and clarification in the draft policy have come from assessment of these requests and cover tiny houses, aged persons facilities, existing credits, special assessments, and travellers accommodation

*Note; This review is of the Policy wording only so no appendices have been included at this stage. The new Development Contributions Levies and related appendices will be consulted on as part of the fees and charges under the Long Term Plan so look out for these in April/May 2018.

Here is a link to the Draft 2018 Development Contributions Policy for your consideration, please share with your clients.

Here’s how to provide feedback on the wording of our draft policy:

We would appreciate receiving your feedback by the 23 February 2018.

Process focus: The ins and outs of written approvals for RMA consents

When is written approval required?

As part of the resource consent process, it is Council’s role to determine whether or not there are people ‘affected’ by the proposal.

When we’re making a decision on limited notification, we look to see whether someone is an “affected person” - the test for this is whether the proposal has adverse effects on them that are ‘minor or more than minor, (but are not less than minor)’.

For a resource consent written approval is not something that is required to be provided with an application – it can make the process cheaper and easier.

For the new Permitted Boundary Activity (PBA) process, written approvals are required from all neighbours on infringed boundaries – remembering that a PBA can’t be issued for an infringement of a public boundary.

Why should I provide written approvals with my land use or subdivision application?

You may wish to provide written approvals up front so that we can disregard the effects on those parties.  If all the affected parties that we have identified provide written approval, this can save you considerable time and money through avoiding the need for the consent to be limited notified and the risks of a hearing and the possibility of appeals. It is therefore be worthwhile to approach each affected party to explain your proposals and to seek their approval. 

Where do I find the written approval forms?

Click here to find the forms for Land use and subdivision applications.

Click here to find the forms for  Permitted boundary activities – i.e. if a building only fails a boundary setback to a neighbour

Can I provide Council with conditional approval?

Conditional approval means that you or the other party write on the plans something like: ‘I give my approval on the condition that no trees on the newly created lot will be over 1 metre in height’.

Waikato District Council cannot accept a conditional approval. You will need to either approach the person for a new written approval which does not contain conditions, or council will need to ignore that written approval.

It’s possible to have a side agreement, outside of the resource consent process, between an applicant and affected party to cover agreed matters, but this would not form part of the resource consent application and is not part of the Council process.

Completing the Affected Person’s Written Approval Form

  • Approval provided must be obtained from all owners and occupiers of a property
  • The persons providing written approval are required to sight, sign and date any relevant plans, such as site and elevation plans or the subdivision plan
  • Check you have used the correct Affected Person’s Written Approval Form

How do I know who is an affected person?

It won’t be until the consent goes through its formal process that we will do a thorough assessment of who is affected. Therefore, it’s up to you to get approvals from all parties you think are affected – sometimes it’s obvious, other times it’s a bit trickier to determine. Give us a call and we can give you some direction but please be aware we can’t promise that in the fullness of the notification assessment other affected parties won’t be identified. Don’t worry if you miss some, when we process the application and come to a decision on notification we will usually call you prior to signing the decision. We do this when there are people that we consider to be affected but we haven’t got unconditional written approvals from them. The purpose of our call is to give you the opportunity to seek the written approvals of those affected parties before proceeding to notification.

 

Changes for you to be aware of

Changes to be aware of

Cash free council offices

Waikato District Council offices and libraries will be cash free from 17 February 2018.

Once cash-free, sites will be able to take credit card and paywave over the counter. Credit cards will incur a 2% surcharge.

Otherwise, Council offers a full range of non-cash payment options including eftpos to online banking options. Banks are also able to assist customers to set up payment options.

For customers still wanting to pay their rates in cash, they can use a number of other places throughout the district. 

Click here to find out more.

Exemptions for Marginal/Temporary District Plan infringements

As advised in our last Growing Places, we can now provide further details on Marginal and/or Temporary Permitted Activities.

You may have heard there is a new process where Councils may choose to exempt activities from needing a resource consent for ‘marginal or temporary’ rule breaches.  This process is entirely over to Council’s discretion.  We have determined that these need to be looked at on a case by case basis with all of the relevant information present. 

When you lodge your Building or Resource Consent we will check whether we can issue an exemption at that stage.  There is no ability to apply to Waikato District Council for these as a standalone request or application.   

Update on District plan review process

Our District Plan review has been three years in the drafting and is coming to its closing stages.  The review integrates the Franklin and Waikato sections into a single district plan with a consistent approach to development and growth for the first time since the district’s boundary changed in 2010.

Late last year we released a draft for pre-notification consultation and undertook a road show around the district. We’re now working through the feedback and preparing the plan for notification.

To keep up to date with the District Plan review process, keep an eye on this webpage and subscribe to the e-newsletter at the bottom of that webpage.

Case Management for large and complex subdivisions

Our Technical Planners have a responsibility for what we’re calling “case management” of subdivisions. For small-scale subdivisions this is as simple as certifying the 223 and 224. For large-scale or complex projects, however, this means taking a more active role in coordinating internal clearance of condition compliance. For these large-scale and complex subdivisions, our Technical Planners will be proactively contacting you (the surveyor) at the time of subdivision conditions clearance. The purpose of this will be two-fold;

  1. to establish a point of contact in council for all those questions you have that seem to bounce around the council office, and
  2. to offer the opportunity for your project team to meet with the council team for a round-table to ensure we’re all on the same page about progress towards condition compliance.
Ideally, when you are applying for condition clearance, all of the conditions will have been complied with but we’ve noticed an increase in going back-and-forth following the receipt of a condition clearance application that we’d like to help reduce.

Need help getting your building consents in electronically?

We’re now receiving almost half of our building consents electronically but we’d really love to see more of you getting rid of your paper applications. This is the first step towards streamlining the process and making things much more customer-friendly, so watch this space! If you need help or you don’t know how to do this, please contact us

Swimming pool

Helpful tips and reminders

Each quarter we'll include some tips that we hope will be helpful for you when you are compiling an application or when interacting with us.

Getting site level information up front for a building consent

Council may request that ground levels are certified by a registered Surveyor PRIOR to Building Consent approval. This will apply where compliance is marginal, or there is a Resource Consent condition. A benchmark will need to be installed on site so that levels can be certified after earthworks have been undertaken.

For example

  • Height above natural ground level
  • Daylight admission, height in relation to boundary.
  • Minimum floor level requirements, ponding or flood risk areas.

Please note:

Measure the fall to wastewater or stormwater mains from the finished ground level. Where the finished floor level or gully trap is below the nearest upstream invert level (at a manhole), a non-return valve is required. 

CCTV inspection guidance – coming soon

Our Waters team want to make sure there’s consistency with any CCTV inspections that are undertaken with new infrastructure and when there is construction near pipes.

The NZ Pipe Inspection Manual provides the guidelines for ensuring we receive acceptable information. Our Waters  team will be providing you with some guidance on this in the coming months. Watch this space!

Pool inspections compliance

The Building (Pools) Amendment Bill came into effect last January and since that time we’ve been informing swimming pool owners of these changes and booking in their pool inspections. Of the inspections we’ve done to date, approximately 50% have failed. 

Please take time to ensure your pool fencing does comply with the legislation. To assist you we have provided  links to the relevant legislation: BuildWaikato website, MBIE, Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016  

Common Further Information Requests (FIRs) on Building Consent Applications

FIR table October 2018

Common reasons CCC are refused

  1. Lack of the required documentation i.e. Records of Works, Electrical Certificates of Compliance, As laid drainage plans and producer statements etc.
  2. Insulation is not fitted correctly around down lights in the ceiling space
  3. Wet areas not completed i.e. surface finishes, flooring etc.
  4. Incorrect installation of smoke alarms or no smoke alarms fitted at the time of the inspection
  5. Completion of terminal vents and gully traps.

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