Dunedin City Council building control fees



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2.2.11 Dunedin building and construction (+DCC fees)
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Construction, Economics, Politics

12 responses to “Dunedin City Council building control fees

  1. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 12 May 2011
    Building consent fees to be reviewed
    By David Loughrey
    The Dunedin City Council has accepted its building consent fees are higher than those of other areas, and is promising to deal with the problem. A long-awaited report on the matter, released yesterday, showed both the cost of consents, and the cost of running the building control department, were higher in Dunedin.
    Read more

  2. Phil

    Maybe they could start by cutting the grossly un-necessary staffing numbers. The panic employment in anticipation of a perceived increase in workload generated by Building Act changes never eventuated. They have no more work to do today than before they sought to hire the 13 extra staff members. Next, stop paying in excess of $1,000 a month to the DCC IT department for each computer for their 20 staff members. Why one would pay $36,000 for a computer (they have a 3 year replacement policy) is beyond me. The DCC IT department is purely a service provider, not a revenue generator. Making a profit out of another DCC department isn’t real money, it just means that Building Consent applicants are paying for the IT department’s profit. Ditto for the “market rental” paid to City Property for space within the Civic Centre. Again, that’s not real money and (like the IT dept), when it comes to dealing with DCC staffing, City Property should be a service provider and not a revenue generator. Any so called profit is funded by increased public charges. Finally, cut out the ridiculous amount of vehicle use within Building Control. They do not all need cars to take home at night. They require just one person to be on call after hours. This is Dunedin, not New York. When was the last time that the Chief Building Control officer was required to go out and do an after hours site inspection ?

  3. Russell Garbutt

    Phil, this model called full cost recovery has, wherever it is introduced, resulted in higher actual costs caused directly by the costs incurred of tracking imaginary money.

    The transfer of imaginary or internal money from one pocket to another pocket in the same pair of trousers is, and always has been, stupid. What must be of consuming interest and concern is how much money goes out of the pockets and how much comes in.

    Of course it is important to know how much actual money it actually costs to provide a service, but that is a far cry from generating an internal economy with all the attendant costs of tracking that internal economy. The best thing to do with any proponent of that system within the Council is to string them up from the nearest lamp-post.

    In terms of the IT Department, those figures are plainly unable to be supported by any decent scrutiny and any review of costs and areas where costs are able to be made should result in an immediate large scale change. Most big outfits these days have a 4 or 5 year write-off for computers as a starting point.

    As to late night calls, would an instance whereby a certain Council VIP called a senior staff member out in the middle of the night because the roof on their private residence was leaking in the rain qualify?

  4. Sub-Rosa

    Re: Phil’s comment May 12, 6:38pm
    Well presented comment, Phil.
    Shades of Michael Swann DHB rip-off fiasco ????? – IT Trickery ?????
    Ask yourself…..Is this another smoke & mirrors IT Confidence Swindle ?????

  5. Anonymous

    No, it is a throwback to the 90s. The University IT Division does/did operate in much the same way in terms of internal charging. I think they are partway through a major review of that process. DCC IT should go through the same exercise.

  6. Phil

    A recently ex VIP, I would suspect. If memory of the leaky roof serves me correctly. (The (also ex) senior staff member originally contacted was not in Building Control, but the head of a closely related department ?). Quite possibly the same VIP who had DCC staff members designing new driveway paving and retaining wall slabs for an Auckland property. Possibly even the same VIP whose wife requested staff members telephone DCC contractors to carry out work on their Dunedin property, because they didn’t want to have to pay the cost for the cellphone call to the contractor. Things can only get better. Possibly.

    The internal arrangements surrounding IT need a good slap of reality. After 15 years with the same hardware supplier, it’s possibly time to shop around. Staff members over a certain salary level are required to have a larger (and more expensive) monitor. Maybe their heads are larger, I don’t know. There’s a fair bit of the tail wagging the dog going on, which is creating un-necessary delays and inefficiencies right across the organisation. It needs performance accountability to be benchmarked against. Scanning every document that comes into the building, just so that the intended recipient can print it out again to read it. Where exactly is the efficiency there ? Giving the Building Control officers all PDAs to take out in the field is a great idea. But was it a necessary expense when 90% of the time they are no more than a 15 minute drive from the office ? I remember my PDA. It looked suspiciously like a notebook and a pencil. I realise that it’s not all the IT department’s doing, it needs a global review. It’s great to have the best and the latest, but how about what works and is appropriate for the level of business ?

  7. Russell Garbutt

    Phil, I think your memory serves you pretty well – it makes you wonder just why the behaviour which was obviously well-known about in and around DCC staff was tolerated for so long. And there are lots of other instances of inappropriate actions that I’m sure many others are well aware of. Mind you, there was evidence of how any insurrection was dealt with at reasonably high levels.

    I somehow think that the same behaviour will not reduce in any new role that the person has. Makes you wonder why this person’s employer didn’t deal with it doesn’t it?

  8. Phil

    Interesting to read that the internal report to Council from DCC Building Control tries to deflect a large portion of the blame for internal cost increases off onto the transfering to a new computer system, and Building Consent Authority accreditation. Both those processes occurred 5 years ago. Probably doesn’t help their case any to admit that they are still charging ratepayers for that work 5 years later.

    Interesting to read in the consultant’s report that annual personnel costs of $3 million are double that of most of the other areas surveyed, and nearly 1 million dollars higher than in Hamilton. Might have found the cause.

  9. Phil

    What is going on between Council and rogue DCC departments these days ? First, Cr Kate Wilson comes out stating a Building Consent cost increase is necessary to allow for CPI increases, and defends a totally informed decision to the hilt. Then proceeds to give specific reasons justifying the increase.

    One week later, we have Kevin Thomson saying that the proposed CPI increase was an error, and was never supposed to be there.

    Why did no one on Council ask the question about an embarassing Building Consent fee increase? Before blinding signing off on it. When the error was apparently immediately obvious to the DCC manager in charge of the department ? Clearly the reasons quoted by Council didn’t originate from the DCC manager. So where did they come from ?

  10. Anonymous

    See also detailed comments by Cr Mactavish on the Sustainability Advisor’s role.

    Looks like the days of applying a blanket increase to every cell of a spreadsheet are over. Days of spending the budget before end of financial year are not, sadly – see frenetic activity in the 2 weeks prior.

  11. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 13 Sep 2012
    No redundancies in building unit
    By Debbie Porteous
    No further job losses are expected from the first of several major reviews of Dunedin City Council department operations aimed at increasing efficiencies and cutting costs. The building control unit is the first department to be comprehensively reviewed and its managers are confident the changes proposed will deliver a cheaper, faster service. Some jobs have already gone through natural attrition and development services manager Kevin Thompson said there were no plans to make any staff redundant.
    Read more

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