Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Jumping the gun’ costs construction company $32k

Auckland Council is reminding builders and construction companies to ensure they have building consent before going ahead with work, after a local company was hit with more than $32,000 in fines for unapproved works.

“It’s vital to have a building consent before commencing any work. The consent has conditions that need to be adhered too, if not the building’s final Code Compliance Certificate could be at risk,” said Auckland Council Manager Field Surveying Building Consents, Jeff Fahrensohn.

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

Mr Fahrensohn said many issues can usually be reviewed and resolved, but there are times where fines or prosecution for serious breaches were necessary. This was the case recently for a building company who started work without council consent.

Platform Homes (PHL) started work on 26 townhouses in Flat Bush without Council consent, prompting prosecution proceedings by Auckland Council.

The company subsequently told an Auckland court it had “jumped the gun” and started building because they expected to get consent.

The maximum penalty for this type of offence is up to $200,000 and, in this case, Council was seeking a fine of $60,000, which included a 25% reduction for a guilty plea. The Judge fined PHL $32,500.

“This sends a strong message to building companies and builders in general that it’s vital council consent is obtained prior to any work starting,” said Auckland Council Manager Compliance & Investigations, Kerri Fergusson.

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

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

Mr Fahrensohn said Council while recognises the building industry is facing challenges with the supply of some materials due to Covid, any substitute materials must be approved by Council before being used.

“This is important as the substitute products need to meet the Building Code.  A lot can be looked at on site and assessed for compliance, some others may require an amendment,” he said.

“If work goes ahead and the substitute product isn’t approved by council as meeting the Building Code, it could, worst case scenario, mean the work has to be deconstructed, which is costly and will delay the construction.”

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