The Wellington City Council is reportedly having trouble issuing building consents within the recommended time frame of 20 working days. This has been attributed, in part, to contracted engineers withdrawing their services due to insurance troubles.
According to a report by the NZ Herald, the council’s annual report said from 91% of building consents being granted within the 20-day period in 2017/18, only 79% were able to meet the deadline in 2019/20. In comparison, Auckland was able to meet the deadline 92% of the time in the past year.
Other reasons cited for the slowdown were a booming and short-skilled construction sector, more complex buildings, and shortage of experienced staff.
Wellington also pointed at engineering firms who refused to renew their service contracts. This was “due to the risk of being drawn into third-party claims and their ability to gain insurance or to meet increasing insurance costs for consent work,” the council’s annual report said.
This was confirmed by a spokesperson for Engineering New Zealand, who said that professional indemnity insurance for engineers is becoming harder to source.
In response, the council is looking to bring in external engineering expertise to prevent further delays in reviewing the structural and geotechnical aspects of building consent applications.