visionary thinking

Time Time Matters

The importance of utilising time constructively and effectively in all projects can never be over emphasised.

In any project, capital is deployed whether it is the owners equity or bank debt to enable the desired objective. There is a project start date and with good grace, an end date. Within these parameters the capital deployed has an interest cost. Where this time period is known and expected it can be incorporated into the budget to assist in determining if the project is worthwhile.

If time is not used well and the project time extends then those interest costs will run and possibly destroy the project, any economic benefit that may have been expected from the project and the parties involved.

This is a situation to be avoided, or if it cannot be avoided, controlled.

All projects require us to apply to Council for consents to enable our developments.

These developments, whether they be plan changes, land use consents, engineering consents, discharge consents or building consents have become intricate and complex; a situation in part generated by modern data information handling systems i.e. computers.

It is virtually impossible in today's regulatory environment to prepare a fully compliant application. Therefore at some stage, a Council Officer assessing the application will have to exercise discretion to resolve conflicting requirements, whether they be a planning infringement, departure from an engineering standard or a building solution that does not fit within the building codes acceptable solutions. This discretion requires Council Officer Time at a senior level.

To understand how the exercise of discretion might cause delay and time to run out of control, you need to place the application within its context, who it is lodged with and who grants consent. On the surface Auckland Council is one entity, in reality it is far from it.

The Auckland Council as an organisation endeavours to provide an identical level of service regardless of your location in the region, whether it be in Browns Bay, North Shore or Takanini in Papakura. This is an impossible task, where for example Takanini has peat soils and Browns Bay has clay soils, each requiring a different building and engineering response.

The level of service provided within Auckland Council is variable depending on which part of Council is giving consent, for Transport matters refer to Auckland Transport, for Water and Wastewater refer to Watercare, for Stormwater refer to the Healthy Waters Team, for Open Space refer to the Parks Team and the list goes on. Within the Council family each will have its own service standards and consenting requirements. These are constantly changing as new demands are made and exceptions to the rule have to be resolved.

The consent processing is only one aspect affecting time. Another might be to consider how Auckland Council ensure there are enough staff with the right qualifications in place to receive, assess and grant consent when the volume of consents can vary from 3 to 4 thousand to over 10 thousand.

Council has a difficult task and no one should be surprised when consents are not issued on time.