Developers in Christchurch, New Zealand say that “ludicrous” rules are delaying the city’s rebuild from an earthquake that happened in February of 2011.
Building owner Richard Peebles said the Christchurch City Council consenting department had become more efficient but was still asking “ridiculous” questions. He said the consenting process for construction was “bananas.”
“The red tape is just f…… unbelievable.”
His Kilmore St/Cambridge Tce building was in its fifth month in the consenting process, Peebles said.
The council asked him how he planned to clean the building’s windows.
“I went back and said ‘warm water and a soapy cloth’. I’ve never known that to be part of your consent process.”
He blamed legislation, rather than the council.
For another building, the council had asked him to move a disabled toilet 20 millimeters because it would fail compliance otherwise.
Requests like these were “delaying the rebuild”, Peebles said.
“We were asked to show one of our car parks would be able to hold a fire engine. We had to prove a truck would not fall through the seal.”
Developer Antony Gough said the consenting process seemed “ludicrous” at times and made life difficult for developers.
Part of his central city development The Terrace failed council inspection because fire exits were not the required eight meters (roughly 25ft) apart.
The council agreed on a second fire escape that could be accessed though “a maze of corridors”.
“The solution was technically right but did not make any sense on a practical level,” he said.
Council inspectors were being “pedantic” and their overly cautious approach slowed down the rebuild, Gough said.
Not everyone had a problem with delays. Developer Nick Hunt said he had no complaints. Hunt is developing a retail and office complex.
Council inspectors had been “pretty good up until now,” said Hunt, and he had had no consenting issues.