Archive | Building Act prosecution

“Loopy rules” taskforce lists its top 10

The Government released its “loopy rules” report today, a combination of much whingeing, some clearly unhelpful rules & practices, but also some questionable responses.

The first example from the report’s Top 10: “The rule is not practical: The owners of a bus depot structure that has no walls are forced to install 4 exit signs, just in case people can’t find their way out if there is a fire.”

In the realm of resource management: “The proliferation of policies & criteria add up to a potent brew: A section 42a report done for a subdivision had to be assessed against 59 objectives & policies.”

Under Unnecessary bureaucracy: “Some rules are there ‘just in case’ a problem might arise in future, with little evidence that it will.”

And among the many complaints about building consents, led by the most frequent frustration of a council letter seeking further information being sent on day 18 or 19 of a 20-day legislated timeframe: “Average building consent fee is 1% (including BRANZ fees). This is $5000 on a $500,000 house. How can it cost so much?”

Local Government Minister Paula Bennett proposed a rules reduction taskforce in July last year, selected a 9-member panel in February, and said today their findings showed real opportunities for both central & local government to make life easier for New Zealanders.

The taskforce wrote: “We did hear of rules that protect people, the environment, infrastructure & our heritage but which still enable individuals, businesses & our economy to prosper & grow. But we are struck by the number of instances where the good intentions of the rulemakers are somehow lost in the translation to the real world.”

The taskforce held 50 public meetings and received nearly 2000 submissions. Mrs Bennett said: “We have listened to New Zealanders and the message is clear: there are too many frustrating rules & regulations, and too many are being applied inconsistently, and it is holding our communities back.

“The report outlines practical opportunities for government departments & local councils to improve the level of customer service they offer, and give that clarity people need. We will be embracing these opportunities finding practical solutions.”

The submissions covered 11 ministers’ portfolios, the majority relating to the Resource Management Act & the Building Act.

“Over the next few weeks, ministers will be working with their departments & agencies to progress the quick fixes and what will take a bit longer to tackle. We’ll continue to update and make announcements as this work progresses.

“The Government will also be working with local government to ensure they are providing the right advice to their residents about what rules & regulations mean and how they apply in their communities.

“The members of the taskforce also heard loud & clear that there are several myths about rules & regulations that don’t actually exist. This includes the misconception that lolly scrambles have been banned, and that people can’t use 3-step ladders.

“By breaking through this misinformation, New Zealanders will be better placed to focus on the serious rules designed to keep people safe and our economy growing.”

The main gripe in the taskforce’s top 10 list was, “”Make it easier!” But between doing that for building consents and for resource consents, submitters also told the workforce that regulators needed to lift the building sector’s skills. Question: If a sector can’t lift its skills itself, how can it be trusted to do a job properly without constant monitoring & supervision?

The top 10:

  1. Make it easier to get building consents
  2. Get serious about lifting the skills of building sector
  3. Make it easier to get resource consents
  4. Reduce the cost of consenting fees
  5. Sort out what “work safety” means and how to do it
  6. Make it clear what the rules are
  7. Establish a new customer focus for the public sector
  8. Departments should introduce a stakeholder engagement approach to developing local government policies & regulations
  9. Reform the Local Government Act 1974 & the Reserves Act 1977
  10. Stop making loopy rules.

Links: Loopy rules taskforce
Executive summary
Top 10 fixes
Loopy rules final report

Earlier stories:
2 June 2015: ‘Loopy rules’ submissions open for another fortnight
11 February 2015: Bennett names her taskforce against loopy rules
23 July 2014: Bennett says Begone! to “loopy” rules

Attribution: Ministerial release & taskforce report.

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Culverden retirement village breaches bring $30,000 in fines

Published 15 October 2006

Manukau City Council has successfully prosecuted the Culverden retirement village’s owner, operator & director over 4 Building Act breaches for unconsented building work.

The Culverden Group Ltd, Culverden Retirement Village Ltd & director Ian Anderson pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court to 4 offences. Building work undertaken at the Mangere East retirement complex without building consents included relocation of internal walls, plumbing & drainage works and removal of parts of the installed sprinkler system.

Fines totaled $30,000 – $5000 each for Mr Anderson & Culverden Group for offences relating to the hospital, $10,000 each for Mr Anderson & Culverden Retirement Village in relation to the retirement village.

Council development compliance & enforcement manager Kevin Jackson said: “In this case the council had extreme concerns about the extent of unconsented work and safety of residents – particularly relating to the removal of parts of the sprinkler system.

“It is vital in a retirement complex that all building work is consented and that there is a high level of fire safety. This wasn’t the case at Culverden and the council took a tough approach to make sure it happened.”

He said council staff were working to bring the entire complex into compliance.

Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


Attribution: Council statement, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Clode fined $89,000 for Parliament St death

Council says bank wouldn’t have collapsed if consent complied with

Property developer Brent Clode & his companies were fined $89,000 in the Auckland District Court on Thursday for causing the death of 1 worker and serious injury to another in the earthworks of the 1 Parliament St apartment development in January 2002.

Auckland City Council laid charges against Mr Clode and Clode Consulting Ltd under section 80 of the Building Act in 2 broad categories:

carrying out unauthorised work, or permitting others to carry out work, otherwise than in accordance with a current building consent, and

using a precast concrete panel along the Parliament St boundary as a wall, a use for which it wasn’t safe.The Labour Department’s Occupational Health & Safety Service (OSH) laid charges relating to the failure of Mr Clode, Clode Consulting, Raiser Development Ltd (also owned by Mr Clode) and its site foreman, Glen Geldard, to ensure people were kept safe from injury at the site and, in this instance, death.

Mr Clode had already paid $11,000 paid to the victims & their families. Mr Geldard was fined $5,000.

Mr Clode has since sold his interest in the project, Multiplex Constructions NZ Ltd took over the building roles and the 14-storey block, with 4-level basement parking, is opening as The Statesman.

The council’s principal building officer, Bob De Leur, said the 6-7m deep excavated face of the Parliament St boundary bank collapsed on 21 January 2002. The collapse began at the corner of Eden Crescent & Parliament St when a large section of soil fell from the top part of the bank’s vertically cut face.

The collapse occurred along about half the Parliament St boundary. The collapsing soil pushed 2 of the 1st 3 precast panels over and the panel nearest the end where the collapse started fell on Allied Workforce employee Te Rue Taparia John Tearetoa, killing him. A large excavator was working in the corner at the time.

Raiser Development Ltd worker Leslie Harvey was standing in that corner and was buried up to his shoulders in soil. He suffered a serious knee injury when he was pulled out. A 3rd worker, Jim Matana, narrowly escaped injury from the falling panel.

The council said Mr Clode, a 1988 Olympian kayaker, effectively controlled the construction site. He was also the engineer responsible for inspecting basement retaining walls & excavation.

Mr De Leur said that if the building work had been carried out as it was shown on the approved building consent, “the construction would have been safe and this fatality would not have occurred.”

He said the council was concerned that other site contractors & employees had wanted to raise alarms earlier about the risk of Mr Clode’s actions, and were further disappointed to learn he arranged for his own company, Raiser, to continue carrying out work in the dangerous area when another company had stopped drilling pile holes under the bank.

The entire project was to be constructed on a 5-stage building consent application process. At the time of the collapse, 3 stages had been applied for and 2 had been consented to.

Mr De Leur said that if the works had been carried out as consented to, there would have been no cut face of that magnitude, nor any such sized panel. It was also not good engineering practice to have a 7m-high exposed cut face but, if it had been adequately supported & retained, there would have been no collapse.

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