News | 22 January 2016

GoShift starts building consent revolution

Twenty one councils around central New Zealand have signed up to GoShift – a programme to standardise and simplify the building consenting process.

GoShift is a partnership between central and local government to improve performance, consistency and service delivery across the building consent system. When completed, it is expected to save between $2 and $4 million a year by reducing consent application times.

The programme is led by Wellington City Council with the support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The first obvious sign that GoShift is up and running will be the introduction over the next few months of simplified and standardised consent application forms across all 21 councils. Other parts of the consent process such as approvals and inspections will be standardised over the next six to 12 months.

MBIE General Manager Building System Performance Derek Baxter says MBIE is supporting the councils’ joint efforts because they’ve taken a solid leadership position on something they have the ability and mandate to change for the better.

“GoShift councils have committed to making it easier for their building customers to do business with them, by reducing the complexity of their processes and sharing them with other councils, he says. “Customers will have consistent building consent experiences, no matter which council they are dealing with.”

“One participating council has had, up to now, 26 different kinds of consent application forms. GoShift will reduce that to just two.”

Nelson City Council Chief Executive Clare Hadley, who chairs GoShift’s Programme Control Group, says GoShift will mean designers, builders and other operators who may work in several local authority areas will not have the hassle of interpreting a range of often-confusing and contradictory forms.

“It’s about councils sharing services to be more efficient and provide better services to their customers.”

The GoShift project is being resourced from within existing budgets in the participating councils and with in-kind contribution of expertise from MBIE, as it is considered important the change initiative does not add further cost to the system it is trying to improve.

GoShift is being developed in conjunction with Wellington City Council’s digital work management programme (DWM) which aims to put the whole building consent process online. This work is still in the design phase but when it goes live it will enable GoShift to go to the next level, offering the full range of building consent services online to participating councils that have not yet gone digital. 

Building units within councils that already have a digital presence will provide valuable insights for the councils that are yet to do so. Some councils whose building consents aren’t currently digital have indicated they are watching with interest, intending to adopt a similar approach once DWM is proven.

Key GoShift benefits are:

  • standardised and aligned processes (e.g. forms, templates, checklists) across participating councils
  • shared online services, data and resources
  • a single, best practice quality management system.

Expected cost savings include:

  • savings of between 5-15% from sharing resources
  • between $2 and $4 million a year saved by reducing consent application times.

Standardised and aligned processes are also expected to improve the quality of applications and enable long term sector change.

Participating councils

Carterton District Council
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council
Horowhenua District Council
Hutt City Council
Kāpiti Coast District Council
Manawatu District Council
Marlborough District Council
Nelson City Council
New Plymouth District Council
Palmerston North City Council
Porirua City Council
Rangitikei District Council
Ruapehu District Council
South Taranaki District Council
South Wairarapa District Council
Stratford District Council
Tararua District Council
Tasman District Council
Upper Hutt City Council
Wanganui District Council
Wellington City Council