News Release:

Building Consent Processes Affecting Growth Potential

Problems with Building Consent processes impacting regional growth potential

Despite investments made by councils to improve the Building Consent process, overall levels of customer satisfaction appear to have fallen since 2007. According to CTMA's recently completed update study, overall satisfaction appears to have dropped by more than 20% from 55.9% in 2007 to 35.6% in 2008.

Even though some councils have improved their consent processes and turnaround times since 2007, the complexity of the process, problems experienced and the costs incurred by building consent applicants continues to drive satisfaction levels down

These factors appear to be having an increasing influence on builders and developers when making regional investment decisions. Some respondents stating that they plan to never again develop in some cities.

According to the study director, Paul Linnell; "The challenges that the building consent process brings to councils are extensive and cannot be resolved from the findings of a single survey. However, this study does provide an indication of how the process is regarded by one of the key stakeholders - the building industry. In doing so, the study provides participating councils with a valuable focus for prioritising service improvement investments".

"This year we received responses from customers of 33 different councils. Respondents included builders (large and small), architects, building consultants, project managers, developers and home owners".


The study showed that problems were experienced by a larger percentage of customers in 2008 than the year before. More than two in every three respondents (66.8%) indicated that they had experienced problems with the building consent process.
For customers who had experienced problems, only 5% would recommend the area for development or believed the building legislation helped them to achieve a safe and durable structure and only 2% believed that the council helped them to achieve a better project outcome.

The study suggested an even larger increase in the percentage of customers experiencing problems with building inspection services. In 2007 only 28% reported that they had experienced problems. In the 2008 study the percentage had increased to 65%.

Paul Linnell explains "The study showed that most significant 'points of pain' for customers involved issues that had a direct impact on the eventual cost of their projects and on the time taken to complete them".

Although the specific types of problems experienced by customers of each council varied, the most frequently reported sources of dissatisfaction involved:

  • Overall complexity of the process

  • Excessive supporting documentation requirements

  • The council needing more information after lodgement of the application

  • The time taken to process the consent

  • The need for customers to keep following up in order to get any progress

CTMA also operates an ongoing satisfaction-tracking programme that serves as a management tool to help individual councils manage the service-quality of their building consent processes. This is helping council management identify strengths and improvement opportunities for individual members of staff and identify opportunities to improve service and address issues with specific consent types and processes.

About CTMA New Zealand Ltd.

CTMA is a service quality improvement firm that provides a range of consulting and customer satisfaction research services to help organisations build loyalty and advocacy by improving their service to customers. Its consulting and research services help organisations identify sources of customer dissatisfaction, prioritise remedial actions and improve the customer experience. In addition to its client-specific services, CTMA also conducts benchmarking and best-practice studies to help public and private sector organisations develop their customer relationship strategies.

Contact information:

Paul Linnell
(021) 669 276
CTMA New Zealand Ltd

CTMA New Zealand Ltd.