Happy new Year from the building team. This is the latest of our updates. Hopefully you find these useful and informative. We would love to hear your feedback, let us know if you find these useful and what some of the things are that you would like to hear about. Email email@example.com with thoughts or feedback.
In This Update
- Plumbing and drainage issues
- Building team statistics
- Above ground inspections
- Following up older consents
- IANZ accreditation assessment
- Earthquake Prone Buildings
- Upcoming legislative change: Building Code
- Planning Matters
Plumbing and Drainage issues
Septic Tank/Onsite wastewater disposal
Designers of septic systems will need to review the GWRC rules and provide written confirmation that the design complies with the permitted activity rules. If this is not provided, the consent is likely to be issued under section 37 of the Act, and have a notice attached saying no work can be started until it can be established that the design complies with the GWRC requirements. The discharge of domestic wastewater from an on-site domestic wastewater treatment and discharge system onto or into land must comply with Rules 62, 63 and 64 of the Proposed Natural Resources Plan. Greater Wellington Regional Council have kindly provided us a description of the rules for domestic wastewater systems under its proposed Natural Resources Plan [PNRP] .
PNRP permitted activity Rule R63
Rule R63 provides for new or modified on-site domestic wastewater systems, without the need for resource consent, subject to several conditions. The property owner will need to comply with all conditions of this rule in order to undertake the activity without the need for a resource consent.
PNRP controlled activity Rule R64
Rule R64 provides for new or modified on-site domestic wastewater systems within a community drinking water supply protection area. As a controlled activity, resource consent is required. Visit GWRC’s mapping tool for details of the extent of the various community drinking water supply protection areas.
[Go to the Layer List then look at Natural Resources Plan (Appeals version, 2022) > Schedule M1 and Schedule M].
If the property owner cannot comply with the conditions of PNRP Rule R63, and the system is not within a community drinking water supply protection area (therefore Rule R64 does not apply), they will need to apply for a resource consent under the catch-all PNRP discretionary activity R94. Property owners should fill out GWRC’s Forms 1 and 3c.
When undertaking building work on commercial/industrial properties you should discuss backflow requirements from Water Services Act with our infrastructure team.
This legislation requires additional backflow protection over and above that required by the Building Code. The Water Services Act 2021 provides the following:
Section 27 Duty to protect against risk of backflow
(1) If a drinking water supply includes reticulation, the drinking water supplier must ensure that the supply arrangements protect against the risk of backflow.
(2) If there is a risk of backflow in a reticulated drinking water supply, the drinking water supplier may—
(a) install a backflow prevention device and require the owner of the premises to reimburse the supplier for the cost of installation, maintenance, and ongoing testing of the device; or
(b) require the owner of the premises to install, maintain, and test a backflow prevention device that incorporates a verifiable monitoring system in accordance with any requirements imposed by the supplier.
(3) A person who installs a backflow protection device must take all reasonable steps to ensure it operates in a way that does not compromise the operation of any fire extinguisher system connected to the drinking water supply.
Contact us on 06 379 4030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drainage, stormwater, falls, invert levels and finished floor levels
With climate change and some of the recent rain events, the collection management and disposal of stormwater and wastewater is becoming more important. Some of this means that the Building Control team will be requiring more information than previously to establish Building Code compliance.
Council will soon require that where soakpits are being installed in built up area’s for new housing, major additions, or commercial projects, you will need to provide evidence of testing of the soakage on the site to ensure that stormwater is adequately managed. In rural properties the same requirement may apply where the soakpit is close to any boundaries rivers or streams. ( if you intend to discharge to a stream you should discuss this with the regional Council). This is not a one size fits all, we are happy to discuss these requirements during the design phase of your planned project.
Drains and falls to councils services [Building Code E1 and G13]
Where you are building in town you will need to provide the following information:
- A finished floor level in relation to the crown of the road ( where the land is flatish)
- Details for the invert level for the Council main that foul water is being connected to.
- Details for the height of the lowest ORG in relation to the council service
- Details of the height of the gully traps above the finished/unfinished ground levels.
This is important to ensure that the property is not affected by surcharge during storm event’s and also to stop infiltration of surface water into foul water drains. We note that these heights may affected your finished floor level. Our suggestion is that you provide a schematic drawing that shows the relationship between these different components. It may be in some cases the traditional 225mm between finished floor and ground level may be insufficient. Finished floor levels need to ensure that gully traps are installed at a level that prevents unwanted wastewater discharge. Our infrastructure team suggest a minimum of 150mm above the nearest opening (e.g. manhole) in the wastewater network is recommended.
Building Team Statistics
Although this year is starting quietly, the following Stats provide some interesting information. The stats for the 21-22 period don’t show the improvement to timeframes we made as we progressed through the year. For example in November we granted 32 consents, all within timeframes with an average processing day of 11. In December we granted 41 consents 97.5% on time average processing days 9. We continue with our commitment to get consents out in a timely manner.
In the year January 2021 to January 2022, we:
- Received 371 consent applications;
- These were worth a total value of $54.7m.
- On average, they were processed within 13 days.
- 93 per cent met our threshold for timeliness.
- 66 per cent were suspended.
In the year January 2022 to January 2023, we:
- Received 404 consent applications
- These were worth a total value of $65.4m
- On average, they were processed within 14 days.
- 82 per cent met our threshold for timeliness
- 51 per cent were suspended.
Common reasons for requests for further information [rfi]
A review of rfi letters looking for common reasons for consents being suspended showed some interesting things.
Applications that include so much information its next to impossible to find critical components in a timely manner.
In these cases, rather than wasting time searching through documents we will send requests for additional information asking people to identify where the relevant information is in the consent documentation. This allows us to move to the next consent more quickly.
HINT: Before submitting a consent check to make sure that the information is site specific, concise and project specific.
Discrepancies between drawings and discrepancies between drawings and specifications
It is common to find applications where one page on the drawing details joists and stud sizes and spacing then the following pages shows different stud sizes joist sizes spacing etc. In other cases the drawings show certain products or systems and the specification includes a variety of options or the specification is very generic and huge.
HINT: Before submitting the consent please recheck for any inconsistencies.
Discrepancies between engineers drawings and architectural drawings and irrelevant information.
It is common to find inconsistencies between engineers and architectural drawings. Often engineers include a very generic documents that includes details for blockwork etc where there is no blockwork in the job. Time is wasted looking for where the blocks are when its not there for example.
HINT: Before submitting the consent check that the engineers information is site and project specific and consistent with the Architectural drawings. MBIE refer to this as “co-ordination” which is the role of the design lead.
Producer statements and construction monitoring
Engineers offer councils a technical opinion for councils to consider. Engineers do not “trump” council. Where the design engineer has ticked “part only” on their ps1 design statement they need to explain what parts of the design they are covering. Where we have concerns about the design or the design is complex, we will give the applicant the opportunity to have the design peer reviewed or we will arrange the peer review ( at the owners cost). In terms of construction monitoring the design engineer needs to clearly describe what inspections they will do.
HINT: Before submitting the PS1, read it to make sure it has the correct council, the correct address and that there is some clarity around what the engineers means by “part only”.
Complex buildings with complex construction and complex products and systems with many alternative solutions
The more complex the building the more scrutiny we apply. If your design includes non-traditional or unusual products and systems, before submitting your application check the information, in particular from oversea’s, for statements about the New Zealand Building Code. If you are using BRANZ appraisals or Codemarks, read the certificates looking for scope and limitations and check this against your project. If you want to use alternative systems relying on oversea’s or uncommon materials, SIP’s, passive, or unusual construction methods, come and see us before lodging the consent. In some cases Councils will not rely solely on the view of the product supplier or manufacturer. This is best resolved before the consent is lodged.
Issues around compliance schedules
These are becoming more and more complex as time passes. Refer to the Exemplar Compliance Schedule if you are working on a commercial project. We expect compliance schedule information to be to the standard laid out in this guidance.
Inspection and CCC statistics
Last year our inspectors did over 1800 inspections. In the jan to jan 21/22 period we issued 255 Code compliance certificates – plus 65 refusals all within statutory times frames average processing days for the CCC’s were 5 day. In the jan to jan 22-23 period we issued 239 Code Compliance Certificates plus 2 were refused. 92% were done within time with an average processing time of 11 days.
Above ground inspections
With a greater focus on health and safety of our staff, we need to ensure that when our inspectors need access to the roof or need to use a scaffold there is someone on site with them. In addition it is important to note that if the inspectors consider that the scaffold is not safe ( or the site for that matter) the inspection will not go ahead.
Drainage and septic tank installation inspections
We are still coming across situations where drainage work, septic tanks and the like are being backfilled without council inspections. Where this is the case the tanks and drains will need to be dug up and exposed so that we can inspect them or the CCC may be refused.
Following up older consents
Council will be contacting owners of buildings where the consents have not been issued a Code Compliance certificate. This may mean that designers and builders may start getting contacted by past clients. Often outstanding Code Compliance certificates come out when someone is trying to sell a property. This can delay a sale while outstanding matters are resolved. Our friendly team is always happy to answer questions regarding the status of a consent.
Building consent applications
We have noticed an increase in the number of cases where designers enter their own contact details in the section that requires the owners contact details. Where this is identified the consent will not be accepted until the information is correct.
IANZ accreditation assessment
In late October we were audited by International Accreditation New Zealand against the Buildings [Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities] Regulations. We have three General Non-Compliances to fix by March and are classed as a low-risk organisation. This was a very pleasing outcome for our small team. In addition it reflects well on those in our local industry that work hard to work within the relevant requirements. We will have another audit within two years.
The three things we have to fix are:
- Update our website’s information to be consistent with MBIE checklist/guidance.
- Chase up outstanding Code compliance certificates.
- Resolve issues with compliance schedules at receiving, processing and CCC times.
Building Warrants of Fitness
Council officers are currently reviewing the status of many buildings with outstanding building warrants of fitness or where the appropriate documentation has not been supplied at Bwof renewal time. As a result we will be contacting commercial building owners and making a time to visit the property to check that the compliance schedule is correct and accurately reflects the specified systems in the building. Building owners please be aware that there are charges that apply when Council undertake a building warrant of fitness audit.
Earthquake prone building
If you have an earthquake prone building and have yet to undertake any work, please update us on your progress towards making the necessary repairs.
Upcoming legislative change: new Building Code clauses
The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Enterprise recently announced ongoing work to support the efficient use of energy, reducing carbon in buildings and also legislative change to reduce waste in the building and construction industry. It appears applicants in the future will need to show compliance with one or two new Building Code clauses during consenting and building work. You will likely need to provide information on embodied carbon and waste management/reduction for each project. MBIE are still to develop the details and the “ how to” for these schemes. We suggest you keep an eye on these workstreams, provide feedback to MBIE when the opportunities arise and keep up to date by enrolling to receive the MBIE updates etc.
Becca Adams has joined our team as a planner. Becca was born and raised in the Wairarapa, so brings good local knowledge. Becca studied at Otago University, travelled abroad, and completed a Masters of Resource and Environmental Planning at Massey University. She is keen to work with the community to ensure a high quality built environment. “I’m thrilled to join the team at CDC to deliver quality outputs for our community,” Becca said. The regulatory team are very pleased to welcome Becca aboard.