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Council decisions on new home’s code compliance certificate unreasonable

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The Chief Ombudsman says the Christchurch City Council’s stance in relation to a family’s housing consent issue would ‘appal’ most fair-minded New Zealanders.

Peter Boshier has released his final opinion on a case involving a family whose home was signed off by the council when it was later found to be in breach of the Building Code.

The council was the consenting authority for the house that was being built by a developer in a new subdivision in 2016.

When a family member visited the property towards the end of construction, they noticed the house’s driveway and garage were not fit for purpose. The family member complained to the council saying it would be impossible to enter or exit the garage without performing a multi-point turn and reversing more than 40 metres.

However, after assessing the property, the council decided the home met the Building Code and granted a Code of Compliance certificate.  Concerned about the council’s decision, the family went to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for its opinion.

MBIE determined the property’s garage and access driveway did not comply and the council had been wrong to grant building consent and a Code Compliance Certificate. MBIE reversed the council’s decision.

Shortly after, the council wrote to the family to say it was the homeowner’s responsibility to make the building compliant. The family complained to the Ombudsman who found that the onus rested with the council to take reasonable steps to right the wrongs.

Read the case note

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