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Source: Whangarei District Council

This page contains a news story about the Dangerous, Affected and Insanitary Building Policy Consultation and why the policy is being reviewed.

Updated: 21/07/2020 9:25 a.m.

Have your say on our Dangerous, Affected and Insanitary Building Policy

Council is calling for submissions on a policy that aims to make sure people aren’t harmed by dangerous buildings, buildings near dangerous buildings, and buildings that are insanitary.

“We are calling for submissions from as wide a range of people involved in buildings as is possible while we review our Dangerous, Affected and Insanitary Buildings Policy,” said Council’s Building Services Manager Paul Cook.

“Consultation on the policy will open on 20 July 2020 and close on 20 August 2020. Anyone who is interested can find all the information about it on our website or they can call or come in to see us, however actual submissions should be in writing.”

Mr Cook said the policy lays out the reasons, objectives, policies and processes used to identify if a building is dangerous, is affected by a dangerous building, or is insanitary, and what should happen once they are identified.

“The policy is being reviewed because legislation in the area has changed. In the past earthquake-prone buildings were also covered in this policy, but they are now covered in a separate Act. We are removing the reference to earthquake prone buildings from our Dangerous, Affected and Insanitary Buildings Policy and also reviewing the policy.”

Identification of dangerous, affected or insanitary buildings Mr Cook said information that
a building might be dangerous, affected or insanitary could come into Council from many sources.

“Once a report comes in and we need to investigate, many different agencies could be involved. FENZ for fire hazards, health inspectors for drinking water, waste disposal, building inspectors for weathertightness, and a range of technical building specialists, testing laboratories, geotechnical, fire or structural engineers.”

Mr Cook said many factors would be considered when deciding how to approach the building, but people’s safety would be paramount.

“A range of solutions could be required, from issuing formal notices, requiring the owner to carry out remedial work, or Council undertaking the remedial work, through to demolition.”

“An important thing to note is that wherever possible, Council would seek the co-operation of the owner and occupant to achieve compliance. We would aim to get the matter resolved correctly without having to resort to the formal notice provisions of the Act; however, this may not always be possible.”

“One of the matters we want to highlight through this process is that lack of maintenance, overcrowding and unauthorised building alterations and converting aged buildings can cause serious building problems for occupants and those who use buildings.”

“Failing to obtain a building consent or deciding to use a building for a purpose it is not suited for can result in a building posing a danger to occupants, the general public or other properties and no longer complying with the Building Code.”

“This has the potential to affect a wide range of people from building occupants, to owners, to those carrying out work – even to those living next door, so we’d like people to read about it and let us know what they think we need to take into consideration in this policy,” said Mr Cook.