‘Jumping the gun’ proves costly for construction company

Auckland Council reminds builders and construction companies to ensure they have building council consent before proceeding with work, otherwise it could be costly.

Jeff Fahrensohn, Auckland Council Manager Field Surveying Building Consents says: “It is essential to have a building permit before starting any work. The consent also includes conditions that must be met or the final building code compliance certificate could be at risk. »

The council encourages industry to keep in touch and ask questions.

“Early communication is key, and any potential issues can usually be resolved that way. The last thing we want is for builders to go ahead without council consent.

Fahrensohn adds that many issues can usually be investigated and resolved, but there are times when fines are required or prosecution for serious infractions. This was the case of a construction company that started work without council consent and was recently prosecuted and fined.

Platform Homes (PHL) began work on 26 townhouses in Flat Bush without council consent and, due to the seriousness of the offence, was prosecuted. PHL told the court they “took the plunge” and started building because they expected to get consent any day now.

The maximum penalty for this type of offense is $200,000 and in this case the council was seeking a fine of $60,000, which included a 25% reduction for the guilty plea. The judge fined PHL $32,500.

Kerri Fergusson, Compliance and Investigations Manager for Auckland Council, said: “This sends a strong message to construction companies and builders in general that it is essential that council consent is obtained before any work begins. .

“This is for a number of reasons – of which construction companies are well aware – including public safety and ensuring the integrity and quality of the construction work in progress, with public safety being paramount.

“The Council views cases like this as very serious and will continue to investigate and prosecute any companies at fault.”

Fahrensohn says the council recognizes that the building industry is also facing challenges with the supply of certain materials at the moment due to Covid and stresses that any replacement material must be approved by the council before being used .

“It’s important because substitute products must comply with the Building Code. Many can be reviewed on site and assessed for compliance, others may require modification.

“If the work goes ahead and the replacement product is not approved by council as being Building Code compliant, this could, in the worst case, mean that the work has to be deconstructed, which is costly and will delay construction.

Fahrensohn adds that most clients communicate well with the board and generally compliance is good.

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