DCC LGOIMA Response : Wall Street Mall and Town Hall Complex

Email correspondence.

From: DCC Governance Support
Sent: Friday, 20 January 2017 8:48 a.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: Official information response 280070 Council Buildings WOF

Dear Ms Kerr,

Official information request for information about COUNCIL BUILDINGS WOF

I refer to your official information request dated 28-November-2016 for the following information. Our response to each question is in red font [italics at this website -Eds]:

1. Does the council-owned Wall Street Mall (211 George St, Dunedin) have a current building warrant of fitness, and if not why not?

The Wall Street Mall at 211 George Street does not have a building warrant of fitness. The current status of the Wall Street Mall building warrant of fitness is that a Letter in Lieu was issued for the Specified Systems 15.3, 15.4, 15.5 because a full 12 months’ worth of daily inspections had not been completed. We can confirm that since July, 2015, these daily checks have been in place and this will not be an issue for subsequent warrants of fitness.

Please note that where a Letter in Lieu is issued this means the Independent Qualified Person (IQP) confirms that the systems in the building are working as they should and are compliant.

2. Since the construction of Wall Street Mall was completed in what years has it had a current building warrant of fitness issued, and if not why not?

Mar 2012 – Outstanding form 12A for Specified System 6 (Riser Mains).
Mar 2013 – Letter in lieu issued for Specified System 6 (Riser Mains).
Nov 2013 – Building Warrant of Fitness Received.
Sep 2015 – Letter in lieu issued for 2014/15 & 2015/16 compliance year for Specified System 15/3.
Regarding the reasons for this, please refer to the comments of the Manager, City Property below.

3. Does the council-owned Dunedin Town Hall complex, including Glenroy Theatre, Metro Cinema, and Municipal Chambers, have a current building warrant of fitness(s), and if not why not?
Since the major Dunedin Town Hall Redevelopment Project was completed (including Glenroy Theatre, Metro Cinema, and Municipal Chambers) in what years has it had a current building warrant of fitness(s) issued, and if not why not?.

There is no building warrant of fitness in place for these premises. Instead the Dunedin Town Hall complex, including the Municipal Chambers, Dunedin Centre and the Metro Theatre, have a Certificate of Public Use in place. This means the buildings are safe to use.

These buildings do not have a current Building Warrant of Fitness as, at time of writing, no current Code of Compliance has been issued following the completion of the redevelopment work as there were some building elements requiring attention relating to fire engineering. These elements have been completed and the documentation submitted to DCC Building Compliance for Final Inspection and issue of the Code Compliance. Once the Code Compliance Certificate has been issued there will be nothing to prevent the issue of a warrant of fitness at the next inspection.

If you wish to discuss this information with us, please feel free to contact Property Manager Kevin Taylor on 03 477 4000. Mr Taylor has prepared the following report for the chief executive. This is provided for your information:

The DCC Property department has previously engaged an outside contractor to administer and manage the BWOF compliance on DCC properties, in particular the Wall St Mall. In early 2015, the Building Compliance aspect was sold to Logic Project Management Consultants and a new company called Logic FM was formed and took over the majority DCC BWOF administration.

Our experience as we undertake building audits is that previous advice may have been too lax or liberal in assessing the building’s compliance with particular codes, specifically around fire protection and fire cells. We have also found that the inspections that were contracted to have been undertaken were not fulfilled, leaving gaps in the compliance processes. Thus the BWOF could not be issued by deadline or due dates.

Subsequently, it has been our experience that Logic FM has been interpreting code compliance components beyond that required by the law and schedules to the Acts governing the specified systems. Thus we have experienced a number of “notice to fix” instructions issued which are in error.

To satisfy ourselves that the BWOF is being managed and administered as it should be, DCC Property has engaged independent experts, especially structural and fire engineers, to review the building’s specified systems and as-built safety components. These independent audits have been completed and the required reports and Letters in Lieu issued to enable the DCC Building Authority to issue the BWOF.

The BWOF owners inspections have been brought in-house and are undertaken by the property team’s asset management staff. IQP inspections continue with the specific trades as required.

Yours sincerely

Governance Support Officer
Dunedin City Council

*******************************************************

From: DCC Manager Civil and Legal
Sent: Thursday, 19 January 2017 8:37 a.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Cc: DCC Governance Support
Subject: RE: LGOIMA RE: Time extension (Ref No. 566752)

Hi Elizabeth,

I can’t explain the reference to “neither” – that is the text that has populated when I have clicked reply.

We provide contact details and advice about the right to complain to the Ombudsman when we decline a request, or refuse information (see section 18(b)) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987) where this requirement is set out.

We also provide that information where we are extending a decision on a request under section 12 or 13 of the Act. This is a requirement under 14(4)(c) of the Act.

In our advice to you about when we provide the information, we are not advising of an extension under section 12 or 13 of the Act, we are advising that we are not providing the information to you contemporaneously with the decision on your request. There is no requirement in the Act to include advice about the right to complain to the Ombudsman in that circumstance. Our practice meets the Office of the Ombudsman’s Guidelines.

Regards, [DCC Manager Civil and Legal]

*******************************************************

From: Elizabeth Kerr
Sent: Wednesday, 18 January 2017 6:25 p.m.
To: DCC Manager Civil and Legal
Cc: DCC Governance Support; Sandy Graham; Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: RE: LGOIMA RE: Time extension (Ref No. 566752)

Hi [DCC Manager Civil and Legal]

Unusual. My name is “neither” in the To: line of your email ?

DCC corre[s]pondence re LGOIMA reponses typically provides contact details for the Ombudsman. Practical considerations sometimes mean it’s best to avail ourselves of this facility.

‘Common understanding’ (shared interpretation) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act has some authority and indeed can be communicated authoritatively. Your email allows me to expand the scope of the wording of my complaint when I come to it, thank you.

The complaint to the Ombudsman is unlikely to involve criticism of the governance support officer involved.

No reply is needed.

Kind regards

Elizabeth Kerr

*******************************************************

From: DCC Manager Civil and Legal
Sent: Tuesday, 17 January 2017 12:36 p.m.
To: neither [Elizabeth Kerr]
Cc: DCC Governance Support; Sandy Graham
Subject: RE: LGOIMA RE: Time extension (Ref No. 566752)

Hi Elizabeth,

I write in regards to your intention to refer this matter to the Ombudsman. While you are free to lodge a complaint, you may wish to refer to the Ombudsman’s guidelines before you do so as we consider that our response to your request meets those guidelines.

We have logged your request as arriving on the next working day – the 28th of November. The 20 working day period is therefore calculated with day 1 being the 28th of November. You will be familiar with the definition of working day which does not include the period from 25 December to 15 January, so the 20th working day falls on the 16th of January.

You complain that “the information requested was due” on the 16th of January. This is not the case. The Act does not require the Council to provide you with the information contemporaneously with our decision on your request. We refer you to pages 17 and 18 of the guidelines where this issue is discussed.

Our response below has advised you of our decision to make the information available and we have done so within the 20 working days of the date your request being logged. We have also explained when it is reasonably practicable to provide you the information, and why we can’t provide it at an earlier time.

The Ombudsman’s guidelines are available at: http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/system/paperclip/document_files/document_files/1609/original/the_lgoima_for_agencies.doc.pdf?1466731163

Regards,

Manager Civic and Legal, Corporate Services
Dunedin City Council/Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti

From: DCC Governance Support
Sent: Monday, 16 January 2017 2:37 p.m.
To: DCC Manager Civil and Legal
Subject: FW: LGOIMA RE: Time extension (Ref No. 566752)

From: Elizabeth Kerr
Sent: Monday, 16 January 2017 2:34 p.m.
To: DCC Governance Support
Cc: Sandy Graham; Sue Bidrose; Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: LGOIMA RE: Time extension (Ref No. 566752)

Dear [DCC Governance Support]

The notice of extension is unacceptable given delivery on the day the information requested was due, and not beforehand with reasonable notice – given my information request was emailed on 27 November 2016 and everyone on staff is aware of public holiday dates.

Unfortunately, I intend to forward a complaint to the Ombudsman.

The DCC is well informed of its statutory requirements.
This particular extension issue has occurred similarly for other requestees within the last 12 month period.

When writing to requestees please also include the Official Information reference number for ease of file checking.

Sincere regards

Elizabeth Kerr

*******************************************************

From: DCC Governance Support
Sent: Monday, 16 January 2017 12:29 p.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: Time extension

Dear Ms Kerr,

Official information request for information about: COUNCIL BUILDINGS WOF

I refer to your official information request dated 28-November-2016 for information about the warrant of fitness status of the Wall Street Mall and other council-owned buildings.

I note that today is the statutory due date for a response and unfortunately there is a small delay due to property staff being away on leave. Therefore I am writing to notify you that the information will be released, but I require an extension of the time by one week to next Monday, January 23.

You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this decision. Information about how to make a complaint is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or freephone 0800 802 602.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of your request with us, including this decision, please feel free to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Governance Support Officer
Dunedin City Council

*******************************************************

From: DCC Governance Support
Sent: Monday, 28 November 2016 8:55 a.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: Acknowledgement of LGOIMA request

Dear Ms Kerr

Official information request for: COUNCIL BUILDINGS WOF

Reference Number: 280070

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your official information request dated 28-November-2016 for COUNCIL BUILDINGS WOF.

We received your request on 28-November-2016. We will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 16-January-2017, being 20 working days after the day your request was received. If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an extension of that timeframe.

Your request is being handled by Arlene Goss. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact Arlene Goss on 03 477 4000. If any additional factors come to light which are relevant to your request, please do not hesitate to contact us so that these can be taken into account.

Yours sincerely

Governance Support Officer
Dunedin City Council

*******************************************************

From: officialinformation @dcc.govt.nz
Sent: Sunday, 27 November 2016 12:41 p.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: Confirmation of receipt of LGOIMA request – 566752

Dear Elizabeth

Thank you for your request for information. A response will be provided as soon as reasonably practicable but in any event within 20 working days.

If you have any questions about your request, please email official.information @dcc.govt.nz and quote reference number: 566752

Governance Support Team

Below are the details of the request

Your request:

I request the following information:
1. Does the council-owned Wall Street Mall (211 George St, Dunedin) have a current building warrant of fitness, and if not why not?
2. Since the construction of Wall Street Mall was completed in what years has it had a current building warrant of fitness issued, and if not why not?
3. Does the council-owned Dunedin Town Hall complex, including Glenroy Theatre, Metro Cinema, and Municipal Chambers, have a current building warrant of fitness(s), and if not why not?
4. Since the major Dunedin Town Hall Redevelopment Project was completed (including Glenroy Theatre, Metro Cinema, and Municipal Chambers) in what years has it had a current building warrant of fitness(s) issued, and if not why not?
Please respond by email (digital format) within 20 working days.

Explanation:
A building warrant of fitness (BWoF) is a statement supplied by the building owner, confirming that the specified systems in the compliance schedule have been maintained and checked in accordance with the compliance schedule for the previous 12 months and that they will continue to perform as required. You will find more information about compliance schedules and building warrants of fitness on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.

References:
1. http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/services/building-control/general-information
2. [DCC] General guide to the building consent process. http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/482475/General-guide-to-the-building-consent-process.pdf
3. MBIE BWoF and Compliance Schedule Information http://www.dbh.govt.nz/bomd-buildings-with-compliance-schedules
4. [MBIE] https://www.building.govt.nz/managing-buildings/managing-your-bwof/owner-responsibilities-about-bwofs-and-compliance-schedules/

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[ends]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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19 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, DVML, Economics, Education, Finance, Fire and Emergency NZ, Heritage, Infrastructure, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Structural engineering, What stadium

19 responses to “DCC LGOIMA Response : Wall Street Mall and Town Hall Complex

  1. nick

    Looks as though LGOIMA is a dual acronym.

    Little Going On In Municipal Authority

    • Elizabeth

      Smart! lol

      Naturally, what the company Logic FM has to say is not recorded by DCC in the information provided. Suspect the company has some forthright professional views of DCC.
      I understand (mentioned in a previous post) that in bringing DCC’s attention to various fire engineering issues with council-owned buildings, the company was subsequently prevented from obtaining further DCC contracts. Interesting, given Logic FM’s industry knowledge.

      Better to be safe in ratepayer-owned public buildings/spaces, than flamed?!

      • nick

        7 weeks for your answers Elizabeth . . .

        “The Dunedin City Council is committed to promoting openness and transparency in all its dealings . . .” their website words.

        We must give them credit, as no mention of ‘timely’.
        And Santa did play a part in the delay.

        • nick

          The Ombudsman’s Office has a Response Calculator.
          Request made on 27th Nov.
          Response must be no later than 23rd Dec.
          Santa still at North Pole that day.

          A Is prevarication the right word?
          B Perhaps Elizabeth might go away?
          C We might have dreamt her email request?
          D Are we in the crap again?
          E Let’s delay the inevitable?
          F Office Xmas party on 23rd?
          G Or just plain forgot?
          H All of the above.

          Timeliness aside, it doesn’t look good.

          As with Aurora and their neglected network, the DCC either has an exceptionally benevolent insurer who will wear this very risky stuff with buildings, or the DCC are shockingly exposed should a fire break out.

          Perhaps Elizabeth is owed a thankyou from the DCC as well.

  2. Gurglars

    LOGIMA Requests are by law to be provided WITHIN 20 working days. The law around this does not expect the respondents to use this statutory period for obfuscation because it does not want to provide the information.

    • Elizabeth

      Your suspension has crashed into the awful pothole, Gurglars.
      Note the technicality : a RESPONSE within 20 working days is, um Not The Same…. as providing the information requested !! Especially when the council already Has the information but wants an extra week to release it to the requestee.

      We live and learn. But in this case, with help from a higher external authority steamroller.

  3. Interested bystander

    Sometimes the responses to the OIA’s are far more interesting than if they had just turned over the information. I’m aware of one last year where the DCC are adamant they hold no register or repository of the noise control notices they issue under the RMA and couldn’t possibly provide copies from a certain time period, without seeking substantial payment… watch this space

  4. Elizabeth

    Ch39 News tonight – editor Barry Stewart tells us what’s in tomorrow’s paper:

    (first up)
    “Concerns Dunedin’s Wall Street Mall has no building warrant of fitness, so we have a story on that.”

    Had a call about this yesterday from reporter David Loughrey. ODT had followed up with DCC after reading my LGOIMA request (published at the post that tops this thread) last month. It seems ODT has been made to wait “for ages” – until today – to get a response from DCC.

    Let’s find out what’s happened since 20 January.

  5. Elizabeth

    The story will now feature in Saturday’s newspaper due to sad news of the cruise boat incident at Port Chalmers yesterday.

    Building WoF
    Industry sources today say that once ODT presented the information DCC provided yesterday as a response to media questions as well as the Kerr LGOIMA information with the City Property manager’s report to the council chief executive (published above), to LOGIC FM…. the company picked up some “inaccuracies” and made a call to their lawyers.

    However, we also hear that DCC has fully apologised to LOGIC FM….

    We await ODT’s take on “building WoF” proceedings.

    I’m assured by those in the know that the buildings – Wall Street Mall and the Dunedin Town Hall Complex – (my words) are “safe as houses”. LOL

    Not sure though, that City Property itself has the same bill of health.

    [make that Monday’s paper where it gets the very top billing on page 1]

  6. Elizabeth

    AS SAFE AS HOUSES ?!

    The page 1 &4 ODT media blast. Reporter David Loughrey does well to flutter feathers of the council chooks. Mr Pont is “not sure”…. read diplomacy.

    The (unholy) DCC treated the erstwhile Logic FM –badly, by dropping all its contracts. Who at DCC made that decision, and why. Is DCC not keen on code compliance or the inconvenient truth ?

    And yes, poor council contract management from the time of the builds. That truth is inescapable for City Property. Let’s hope Ruth Stokes’ apology to Logic FM was resoundingly honest and direct on the ‘tales told‘ inaccuracies.

    Note the stated “perfectly safe” is Not code compliant which is (colloquially) deemed to be as safe as a building has to be for “life safety” at this point in time.

    Further, “complete or nearly complete” is Not complete. Let’s drop the semantics.

    DCC suffers yet another problem of perception. Oh dear.

    ODT and Mr Loughrey are of great help.

    Mon, 13 Feb 2017
    ODT: Without warrants for years
    The Dunedin City Council, the authority that administers building warrants of fitness, says two of its major buildings have been without warrants for years. Despite that, the council says the Wall Street mall and the Dunedin Town Hall complex are “completely safe”. It has emerged the Wall Street mall has no warrant after “lax” advice on fire protection, and inspections that were not done. The Dunedin Town Hall complex also has no warrant or code of compliance since a rebuild completed in 2013. The information came after a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) request from Dunedin blogger Elizabeth Kerr. Cont/

    • nick

      The ODT report finishes by saying the DCC buildings are insured. I am sure that is so.
      HOWEVER
      Insurance actuaries assess insurable risk around stated conditions which the policy holder must adhere to. If a firewall is no longer effective because of holes punched in it for other service conduits, then a fire will spread via that weakness. The firewall`s structural integrity has been compromised. It becomes ineffective. The holes become a conduit for flames – like a chimney where fire can literally be sucked through a wall. If the ducting going through those walls is a plastic material, the fire then has the carrier fuel to help it through a wall.

      DCC can spend as much as they like on insurance premiums, but bet your boots they will not be covered if their firewalls are not compliant to code.

      The other insurance issue is surely with Aurora, now that they have clearly been shown to have neglected essential maintenance work on their network via directives to their staff, or fudging the real condition of their infrastructure (reclassifying rotten poles etc).

      Insurers don’t cover wilful neglect.

      Ratepayers, be warned. You are the DCC backstop for liability claims.

      DCC. Read your policy fine print carefully, and clarify these matters directly with your insurers. It’s too late to have those discussions after an adverse event has happened.

  7. Rob Hamlin

    I see that we now own Sammy’s – It’s presumably destined to be another DVML money-siphon outlet to other ‘stakeholders’. A broadening of their portfolio so to speak. It’s hard to see what a ratepayer funded Sammy’s would do that is not already either fully or over catered for in this town – and that especially applies to theatres. Does it have a warrant? Not for another few million bucks is my call.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Given that we can’t afford a new tin shed really, the mess our money managing geniuses have left Dunedin in, I’m more in favour of buying Sammy’s than almost anything they’ve spent on for years and years.
      Dunedin is wee, it’s likely to stay wee. All the same that’s not a disadvantage when it means it doesn’t take long to get to beaches, bush, mountains. It does mean that cultural entertainment can be difficult. The stadium rockers aren’t busting their boilers to perform at the Fubar, such a surprise, not. Elfinsafety and the Funbusters have had a field day, resulting in venues closing where local bands played. In Dunedin the wee town 2 degrees of separation thing meant great cross-fertilization, everyone creative could get to meet everyone else likewise. Creatives now include the IT developer (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/89349896/rocketwerkz-message-puts-rocket-up-nz-employers) people, often young, into music and experimental theatre/music/dance/video mashups.
      One of the reasons young people gave for moving away, as well as lack of jobs, was “there’s nothing going on here” – otoh people stay around living hand to mouth when they are sufficiently engaged to feed their spirit, their need for vibrant community to which they can contribute. Passion makes up for a lot of material comfort when one is young, and passion+range of experiences working free or for an occasional peanut builds a cv and an address list full of people who know people, who are doing/making something that pays real money, here or out of town. That’s the way it goes. Seen it, often.
      A mid-size theatre/venue configured for flexibility of use won’t be half as much of a waste as most of the projects our rates have been spent on. Not a whole big consolation since that money was already wasted, but for the reasons above I’m not psst-off about the purchase of Sammy’s. If you want to see smoke coming out my ears mention … you know ’em, the list of deadly follies.

      • Elizabeth

        Hype! Good God. DCC shoved other private sector parties prepared to buy and restore Sammy’s – by a backroom deal with bloody Chin. Christ! And outside the Annual Plan consultation. Bast Ards.

  8. Simon

    Should the Town Hall complex have a liquor license if it doesn’t have a building warrant of fitness ?

  9. Elizabeth

    ODT 17.2.17 (page 10)

    odt-17-2-17-letter-to-editor-black-p10

  10. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

    Fri, 10 Mar 2017
    ODT: Council’s property department under review
    By Chris Morris
    The performance of the Dunedin City Council’s city property department is under the scrutiny of an independent auditor. It was confirmed yesterday Deloitte had been called in to examine the department responsible for property worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It is understood the review’s focus was on the department’s performance, and any suggestion of impropriety has been ruled out. Deloitte has been brought in to provide extra resources for the review, but city property manager Kevin Taylor has been replaced in the day-to-day running of the department by water and waste group manager Laura McElhone. Cont/

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