Council staff concerned about dodgy DIY work

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DIY done wrong and other illegal construction has attracted the attention of Central Otago building inspectors.

However lockdown-inspired home renovations are not to blame.

Central Otago District Council regulatory services manager Lee Webster said council staff had come across building work in the district lacking necessary building and resource consents.

There were several reasons these situations occurred, such as when a customer genuinely did not know they needed consent, Mr Webster said.

‘‘Others fall into the category where they are aware of building and resource consents, but felt they did not need consent because they misunderstood what is exempt from requiring a building consent, and didn’t realise they might still need a resource consent.’’

Others simply did not care, Mr Webster said.

‘‘Lastly, right over the other end of the spectrum are those that don’t give a damn, are well aware they need a consent but think they can get away with it.

‘‘Thankfully these are rare.’’

Council building control staff had identified issues such as converted containers — those not just being used for storage — builds that were too close to boundaries, sheds initially built as sheds but made habitable, and unconsented additions to existing buildings.

‘‘We really need customers to come and talk to one of our duty planners or building team gurus.

‘‘This way we can set customers on the right path rather than the enforcement one, which just causes stress, increased costs, delays and frustrations for our customers.’’

The council was not aware last year’s lockdown had created DIY projects of this nature, largely due to limitations of travel and getting materials and buildings of this size to site, Mr Webster said.

‘‘There may be instances where current economic conditions have forced people to rethink their building options and are opting for cheaper solutions that don’t always meet the Building Act and/or district plan, which is where we have to step in to help them rectify things.’’