Make it Easier: the Building Consent Process for New Housing

It has been widely reported that there is a shortage of houses in Auckland and, to fix the problem, the New Zealand government has promised to review the RMA (Resource Management Act). Auckland mayor Len Brown says there is considerable scope for simplifying consent processes and providing more low-cost homes.

Make it Easier: the Building Consent Process for New Housing

Currently, the cost involved to have the council approve a consent that has a height limit issue adds up to $30,000 in extra costs to each new apartment in housing developments. Councils’ section size requirements and urban design considerations add an extra $15,000 to the cost of a new home.

Overhauling the current process to obtain consent (the consent process taking up to 2 years from start to finish) is not only essential for Auckland’s growing population but will also help to ensure homes stay reasonably affordable.

Here are the 10 items high on the RMA reform agenda:

  1. Add management of natural hazards to the legislation’s list of core functions
  2. Recognise urban planning in the act’s purposes and principles
  3. Specifically recognise the need for more affordable homes
  4. Acknowledge importance of infrastructure such as transport, communication, water or energy
  5. Give greater weight to property rights
  6. Create national planning templates instead of numerous plans for different regions
  7. Speed up plan-making process
  8. Encourage collaborative resolution instead of endless litigation
  9. Strengthen national tools such as policy statements
  10. Digitise all paperwork such as submissions and notifications

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Shannon Corbett