Tararua District Council partner with Solutions Team to support building services

Tararua District Council has engaged a company called Solutions Team to support the delivery of building services in the Tararua District.

Solutions Team is a Christchurch based AOB (Accredited Organisation (Building)) – that operates to the same Building Consent Authority (BCA) standards that the council’s Building Department is accredited to. They are currently setting up an office in Palmerston North.

They have 38 contracted Building Consent Officers that provide an overflow resource for 36 councils around New Zealand – processing up to 6,500 residential and commercial consents each year. They also currently provide Inspectors for 8 councils.  
Council’s Chief Executive, Bryan Nicholson, explains the need for this change came about following changes to staffing in Council’s Building Department.

“Last month, Council accepted resignations from the building officers in our team. Collectively, they have been with us for 47 years and provided a great service to the community. We acknowledge their service and wish them all the best for the future.”
Council’s Group Manager – Operations, Tina Love, is pleased there will be extra support for the team. “While we still have a skilled team in the office, the resignations have left some gaps. Over the past month, we have taken the opportunity to assess the building services environment and how we will deliver this service going forward. Attracting staff into specialist roles (such as Building Officers) is proving to be a challenge for councils across the country and it was important to us that we found a solution that would ensure we can continue to offer our building services to the community.”

“Solutions Team began supporting our Building Team on Monday 1st November. The contract provides full support for the Building Team, and this includes targeted performance measures that will ensure we achieve a high level of service for building activity in the District. “Over the next few weeks, Solutions Team will be posting four of their Managers to Tararua – to continue set up of the systems and keep work flowing.”

Changes in Processes
Fortunately, you should not see a change to the level of service you receive. However, we may make processes more efficient over time which is all part of our continuous quality improvement journey. The one notable change for Council will be that a Duty Building Officer will no longer be available for customers at the front counter. We believe this will allow the team to reply to enquiries quicker and will also ensure better research and a more accurate reply.

If the public call or visit our customer service centres with a building enquiry, our Customer Services team will help by sending our building team the request on their behalf. In the first instance the Building Control Officer will reply by email. If the Officer believes a phone conversation will be the most appropriate way to answer the enquiry, then they will make contact. In rare cases, the Building Control Officer may set up a face-to-face meeting if the situation calls for it.

For those in the trades, most should have received an email to introduce the new team and potential changes in process. If you have not received an email, please let us know by calling our customer services team so they can update our distribution list. The key thing to note is that Council will continue to undertake its BCA functions and responsibilities and will continue to keep you all updated as needed. A Building Designers Forum is being organised and further details will be advertised when they are available.