The Christchurch City Council’s proactive step of reaching out to explain the consents and approvals process, was a hot topic at Thursday’s Bayleys@5 event.
Guest speaker Sarah Congdon, from the Council’s Certification and Exemptions Team, outlined recent adjustments to Change of Use notifications to a full house of local developers, investors, valuers, and property owners.
There was standing room only as the talk got under way at Bayleys House, with many seizing the opportunity to discuss how the changes had affected their projects. Sarah - and two other council staff members - fielded questions after Sarah’s presentation. As Sarah outlined the changes, she acknowledged that Christchurch was a “developing community with lots of fit-outs on the go”.
“When you have an existing building, and you want to make changes, there’s a way to do it without talking to the Council by using Schedule 1 Exemption 10,” Sarah said. “Many people want to get in fast and open quickly. We can assist them in providing the guidance on schedule 1 that can give them the ‘go ahead’. We want to make things easier in a quickly developing city. We are doing this by focusing on communication with our customers”
While first fit-outs in new buildings need approval, in an existing building, if there’s no work to the existing primary structure, fire walls, block/brick walls, plumbing, drainage and specified systems, there is no need for a building consent under schedule 1 Exemption 10, Sarah explained.
Under the new Change of Use process, where there is going to be a change to a building’s use, we have developed a notification form that will assist to provide this information to Council. If minor work is required, you can source a Discretionary Exemption Application incorporating the change of use. Larger scale work, including new specified systems, still requires building consent applications to be made.
Sarah explained that obtaining a Discretionary Exemption Application means less documentation and cost; a shorter processing time; and the approved project can start sooner.
“Feel free to contact us about your project,” Sarah said. “If it’s likely to fall under an exemption, it’s more complicated, or you are unsure of which application to make, we can set up a meeting. We pride ourselves on customer service, making things as easy as possible, and finding solutions,” Sarah said.
Bayleys Canterbury commercial team manager Justin Haley acknowledged the Council’s proactive approach, as a step in the right direction to making it easier for people to navigate council processes and systems.
This was the sixth version of Bayleys@5 for 2017.
The next Bayleys@5 event will be held on 9 November 2017. Click here to find out more and to register your interest.