A bill aimed at speeding up the building consent process and reduce costs is set to become law, after making its way through Parliament.
The Building Amendment Bill (No 2), released yesterday, is an "important first step" to reform the Building Act, although "there is more to be done", Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says.
The bill introduces multiple-use building approvals, a measure that will reduce duplication and fast-track the consent process for group home builders who build homes on sites across the country using the same, or similar, designs.
It also defines a new streamlined process to manage minor variations to building plans after the consent is issued, saving time for applicants and councils.
"The downturn is continuing and building firms need as much help as they can get. The bill will help boost efficiency and greater productivity at a time when it is most needed. And if builders pass on cost savings, then consumers will benefit too," Williamson says.
Milestone Homes, which offers 60 house plans based on standardisation and simplification of the design and building process, is one such group welcoming changes to the bill.
"Multiple-use building approvals will greatly reduce duplication and fast-track the consent process for our customers, helping them to get into their new home sooner," Milestone general manager Stephen Murray says.
"The use of standard designs and optimised measurements across the Milestone Homes range, means that we are able to secure competitive buying rates from our supply partners and tradesmen, which we pass on to our customers. Now we will also be able to pass on any cost savings from the consent process, helping even more New Zealanders onto the property ladder with affordable, quality houses."
However, Williamson believes the changes to the bill are only the first step, as they "don't go far enough". He says a wider preliminary review on the Building Act is underway, in a bid to further streamline the building process.