Welcome to another newsletter from the Carterton District Council regulatory team. We would love to hear your feedback, if you find this useful or what other topics you may find useful. You can email buildingadmin@cdc.govt.nz with your comments and feedback. 

What’s happening in the regulatory team

The Christmas period was approaching at a somewhat reduce speed compared to last year but in the last couple of weeks we have seen a sharp increase in the number of consents coming in the door.

Council will be closing over the Christmas period. The statutory shut down period (when clocks are off) is from the 20 December 23 to 10 January 24. The office will be closing at 12pm on the 22 December 23 and opening again on the 8th of January 24.

The building team would like to take the opportunity to pass on our best wishes for the Christmas period and hope you all have a safe and happy break.

Between 1 July 23 and 23 November 23 we have received:

  • 98 consents valued at $17.5m, of which 42 applications have been received since 1 October valued at $10.1m.
  • 139 applications valued at $23.8m.

So far we have processed all consents within 20 day time frames.

Over the last few months, we have completed nearly all of our swimming pool audits with the remaining ones to be followed up in 2024.

We welcome the return of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment before Christmas, who are checking to ensure we are continuing to manage our obligations regarding Building Warrant of Fitness checks and pool inspections.


Building Warrant of Fitness

If you have a commercial building with specified systems, the owner is responsible for ensuring they meet the requirements of the compliance schedule and issue the Building Warrants of Fitness on time.

Of the 83 active compliance schedules in our district, our audits found 31 buildings where the Building warrants of fitness were out of date. We appreciate those building owners who have been happy to engage with us and get any matters resolved.

Unfortunately we may need to take further enforcement action against others which could include issuing infringement fines (instant fines) of between $250 and $1000.

Our preference is that we get the outstanding matters resolved and on track and avoid the need for infringement fines or notices to fix.

An Independent Qualified Person [IQP] is authorised by us to carry out inspections, maintenance and reporting on a building’s specified systems. ‘Independent’ means they have no financial interest in the building.

Wellington City Council has a tool to help find an IQP in the region. Visit the WCC website for more information [https://wellington.govt.nz/property-rates-and-building/building-and-resource-consents/buildings-with-specified-systems/find-an-iqp]

We have also spent a large amount of time working through Building Warrant of Fitness and compliance schedule issues.

Pool inspections

The Building Act imposes on Councils an obligation to undertake pool inspections. This is typically a three yearly cycle.

We have had a number of situations where we have inspected and found a pool has been removed.

If you remove your pool please let us know.

Over the last few months, we have completed nearly all of our swimming pool audits with the remaining ones to be followed up in 2024.

Drainage work close to building foundations

We are coming across an increasing number of situations where drains are being laid too close to the building foundations and potentially undermining the foundations. This seems to be particularly the case where drains go around corners.

With section sizes becoming smaller, designers need to consider the placement of drains where the house is spread from boundary to boundary. This is particularly the case where raft type foundations are being used.

We suggest at design time, designers discuss their plans with a drainlayer before submitting them to council.


Land prone to flooding

Where designers are considering foundation designs and finished floor heights, they should check the aerial maps system to see if the site is subject to flooding.

Where the site is subject to flooding you need to demonstrate that the floor height is set above the flood level, including freeboard, for the purposes of complying with Code clause E1.

For the purposes of section 71-74 of the Building Act, you may need to demonstrate that the work will not create a situation where the flooding could be made worse on an adjoining property. This is particularly the case of small sections.

If the work will make the situation worse for the neighbouring properties Council is required to refuse the building consent.


Further information

Fire and structural engineering reports

We have been receiving questions regarding when peer reviews of fire reports and structural engineering designs might be required.

Although one size does not fit every situation, typically, complexity of the work, the risks associated with the building use, the credentials of the author, whether they are chartered engineers or not will influence our decisions.

We tend to rely more on chartered professional fire engineers because we know they have completed recognised training and that they are assessed regularly by their peers.  In addition, they must comply with a Code of Ethics and can be held to account by their professional organisation.

Councils struggle to find structural engineers who will assist Councils with peer reviews, so generally we ask the applicant to provide the peer review. If we arrange the peer review, then additional charges apply.

If you have a large or unusual job, arrange to come and see us and we can discuss peer review requirements.

Changes to building consent applications

In the new year we will be upgrading our application portal to the objective build portal from Simpli.

We are doing this so that there is a consistent approach across all three Wairarapa Councils.


Recent MBIE changes

MBIE recently made a number of changes to various acceptable solutions. This means that with some Code clauses you have two options to choose from in the context of acceptable solutions.


Smoke alarms

By this time next year, you will need to be specifying and installing hardwired and/or interconnected smoke alarms and they will need to be installed in all bedrooms and living spaces.

Wireless smoke alarms are available on the market now.  This has changed from the current requirement to be within 3m of bedrooms doors etc. In a single story three-bedroom home this may mean you have to install four or five smoke alarms verses the current requirements which could be met with one smoke alarm.

The new requirements have a transitional provision through until November next year, and cite New Zealand Standard.

This is a free Standard.

More information is available at the Standards NZ website [https://www.standards.govt.nz/shop/nzs-45142021/]

This is what the law states:

This document (F7/AS7) fifth Edition is an acceptable solution issued under section 22(2) of the Building Act 2004 and is effective on 2 November 2023. It does not apply to building consent applications submitted before 2 November 2023. The previous Acceptable Solution F7/AS1 Fourth Edition can be used to show compliance until 1 November 2024 and can be used for building consent applications submitted before 2 November 2024.

There has been some suggestions that people have to retrofit smoke alarms to comply with this new standards – that’s wrong. This doesn’t apply retrospectively.

Lead content in taps and water temperature

In addition, changes are being made to the lead content in taps. You will need to demonstrate that your new taps have the less than the maximum lead consent in the future. Your suppliers should be able to access that information for you.

MBIE proposed to cite the latest manufacturing standards for plumbing and drainage system components. These proposed changes form part of regular maintenance updates to address outdated product manufacturing standard citations. In total, there are twelve new or amended standards proposed for citation in Acceptable Solution E1/AS1, twenty-two for G12/AS1 and G12/AS2, and another twelve for G13/AS1 and G13/AS2.

Different changes have different transitional provisions. We suggest that you keep an eye on MBIEs Building Performance website and keep up to date.

G12 acceptable solutions include reduced water temperatures at sanitary fixtures. This means you may need to install tempering valves on preset water heaters.

Note: none of these changes apply retrospectively and will apply to new consent applications made after the transitional period. We won’t be making homeowners install tempering valves, new smoke alarms and changing taps. The new requirements will apply to new building work only.

Interactions with Council staff

Council front line staff have noticed an increase in people being quite unpleasant in their dealings with staff.

This type of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Our staff are happy to help to resolve issues where we can, however we may not be able to deal with it there and then.

Consent applications

As we are seeing an increase in the consents coming through the door, we are seeing situations where designers re not paying sufficient attention to the documentation they are submitting.

Please before submitting consents, ensure you have read the manufacturers information properly and that their requirements are met within the drawings.

Ensuring that you use appropriate external experts to undertake septic designs, engineering ground assessments, and structural or fire designs will reduce the chances of your consents being held up.

When collating the external expert’s information into the draw set, please ensure that all drawings are consistent. You may have noticed some of the MBIE work where they are referring to “co-ordinating” information.

Please ensure the plans are clear and specific to the project – no options. Delivering 60 pages of drawings and 500 pages of specifications etc holds up your consent and others as well.

Working with South Wairarapa and Masterton District Councils

The managers responsible for building teams for all three Wairarapa Councils have continued our regular meetings now that the new manager at Masterton has started (welcome Shane Taane).

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss common issues and work together to increase consistency across the region.

A word from the Planning Team

Yes, the District Plan is relevant to the building consent process!

Here at CDC, the Planning Team reviews all building consents to ensure that your proposal complies with the District Plan and any resource consents or permitted boundary activities are applied for.

The three Wairarapa councils have been reviewing the District Plan for the past few years.

The Proposed District Plan (PDP) was notified on the 11 October 2023, on which a few rules within the PDP took immediate legal effect.

Visit the plan website, wairarapaplan.co.nz,  to find out more [https://www.wairarapaplan.co.nz/wairarapa-proposed-district-plan]. All rules with legal effect are highlighted with a red gavel.

The most relevant rule relates to the number of dwellings permitted on a property within the General Rural Zone [refer to GRUZ-R8/GRUZ-S4].

Aside from that, the Operative Wairarapa Combined District Plan remains in place – so please make sure to comply with relevant standards listed in the Operative Plan.

It can be difficult to navigate District Plans, let alone two, so if you get stuck the Planning Team are always happy to help.

Please email us at planning@cdc.govt.nz

Although the District Plan and any necessary resource consent doesn’t prevent you from being granted a building consent,  building work cannot commence until appropriate resource consent has been granted (if required).

You will be notified of any required resource consent via a Form 4 notice alongside your building consent.

As always, please remember to note those setbacks and recession planes.

Happy consenting!