Statements of Service ​Performance

Urban development
Tāone tupu ora

Developing Wellington sustainably and in areas that benefit the city the most

As the city’s population increases, new houses, infrastructure and services are required. Our urban growth strategy is to develop Wellington sustainably and in areas that benefit the city the most. Put another way, our aim is to promote smart growth and sustainable communities that enhance Wellington’s liveability, compactness, and distinctiveness.

The city’s population is expected to grow by around 55,000 people over the next 30 years.

Bringing land to market in a timely manner to support commercial development

Commercial development has been flat in the last five years. The Council’s challenge is to bring sufficient land to market in a timely manner to support commercial investment in growth areas.

The city also needs to be safe and resilient in case of an earthquake. This means ensuring that buildings are strong and strengthening them where necessary. We also need to take stock of buildings that may not be required in the future.

Wellington is a vibrant city where people want to live and work

Wellingtonians take considerable pride in the city’s look and feel. The Council’s urban growth strategy has served the city well. It has ensured growth is contained within defined limits where we want it, mostly along a ‘growth spine’ that stretches from north to south and has strong services and public transport links.

Wellington’s compact city form is enhanced by its natural setting – a harbour city surrounded by hills. Our built environment is an expression of the city’s history and where we are charting our future.

Wellington is unique among New Zealand cities in the compactness and character of its urban form. The city centre is vibrant, attractive, walkable and easily accessible from all parts of the city.

And we’re proud of our city and its unique character. Most residents agree that Wellington is a great place to live, work and play. They also believe that the city is an easy place to get to, use and enjoy.

We are protecting and enhancing Wellington’s urban environment

This year we:

 

Our urban development activities contribute to us being:

People centred: They promote the adequacy and safety of our homes and buildings and reduce the risks of injury and damage from earthquakes.

Connected: They connect people with places and make them easy to find and functional.

Eco-city: They promote intensive development rather than sprawl into green spaces and encourage the greening of streets, buildings and places. They promote walking and riding on buses and bikes.

A dynamic central city: They promote accessible and safe places where people want to live, work, and play, and where they can meet to share events and ideas. They encourage a built form and urban culture that reflects the energy and diversity of the people, and they shape a place where ideas, innovation and difference can be expressed and supported.

 

6.1
Urban planning, heritage and public spaces​
development
Whakahaerenga whare me te whanaketanga

Wellington is a compact, vibrant, attractive and safe city – and we want to keep it that way

 

What we do

Urban planning provides guidance on how and where the city should grow. It’s important this retains the things residents like about Wellington – its compactness, the ‘heart’ around the city centre and harbour, and the character of its hillside residential areas.

The Council is required to prepare a District Plan under the Resource Management Act 1991. The District Plan is the primary document that manages land use and development within the Council’s territorial boundaries.

We also look after public spaces – including the waterfront. Development of public spaces enhances people’s enjoyment of the city and contributes to our civic pride and our ‘sense of place’. Our activities include:

  • urban planning and policy development
  • waterfront development
  • public space and centres developments
  • ​built heritage development.

What we achieved

A couple of exciting Central City Framework projects progressed. We completed the design for the Cenotaph enhancement and a staircase linking the Cenotaph to Parliament. We received a Lotteries Grant for the project and Parliament agreed to fund the new staircase.

We’re co-investing, with central government and other parties, in Memorial Park, which will be completed in time for the 2015 ANZAC commemorations. The tunnel construction is under way and is expected to be completed by December 2014.

We preserved Wellington’s built heritage. We used the Built Heritage Incentive Fund to focus on heritage areas in Newtown, Berhampore and John Street. We also used the fund to enable listed heritage building owners to access Council grant funding to assist with seismic strengthening projects.

We are making housing more available and affordable. We signed a housing accord with the Government with a target of 7,000 new housing consents over the next five years.

We decided to bring the management of Wellington’s waterfront in-house. Redevelopment of Clyde Quay continued. We continued developing plans for the Frank Kitts Park playground. Wharf strengthening on Queens Wharf and a temporary replacement venue for the Town Hall at Shed 6 were completed. We resolved issues with the Taranaki Street Wharf dive platform. We developed and consulted on proposals for the North Kumutoto precinct.

What it cost

Operating
expenditure
​($000)
Actual
2014
 
Budget
2014
 
Variance
2014
 
Actual
2013
 
6.1.1  Urban Planning and Policy Development
Expenditure 1,867 1,884 17 2,168
Revenue - (20) (20) (4)
Net Expenditure 1,867 1,864 (3) 2,164
6.1.2  Waterfront development1
Expenditure 10,568 2,496 (8,072) 11,534
Revenue 966 - (966) (9,514)
Net Expenditure 11,534 2,496 (9,038) 2,020
6.1.3  Public spaces and centres development2
Expenditure 1,996 1,777 (219) 3,921
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 1,996 1,777 (219) 3,921
6.1.4  Built heritage development3
Expenditure 955 1,117 162 899
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 955 1,117 162 899
Capital
expenditure
​($000)
Actual
2014
 
Budget
2014
 
Variance
2014
 
Actual
2013
 
6.1.1  Urban Planning and Policy Development
Expenditure 535 527 (8) 967
Unspent portion
of budget to be
carried forward
n/a -   n/a
6.1.2  Waterfront development4
Expenditure 5,882 9,532 3,650 6,307
Unspent portion
of budget to be
carried forward
n/a -   n/a
6.1.3  Public spaces and centres development5
Expenditure 3,325 3,216 (109) 2,259
Unspent portion
of budget to be
carried forward
n/a 1,854   n/a
6.1.4  Built heritage development
Expenditure - - - -
Unspent portion
of budget to be
carried forward
n/a -   n/a
  1. Under budget due to lower interest costs for Wellington Waterfront.
  2. Over budget due to higher labour charges and associated overhead allocations.
  3. Under budget due to reduced labour charges and associated overhead allocations.
  4. Under budget due to changes in the Waterfront Development Programme, driven by timing changes in the Clyde Quay Wharf development project.
  5. Under budget due to delays to the Laneways, Parliamentary Precinct and Tinakori improvement projects.

How we performed

We did not achieve most of our targets for residents’ perceptions of our effectiveness at facilitating high-quality urban development and protecting the city’s built heritage. However, residents rated their waterfront experience very highly.

We measure our effectiveness at facilitating high-quality urban development

Residents (%) who agree the city is developing in a way that takes into account its unique urban character and natural environment

Overall, 12% of residents disagree with this statement and 32% neither agree nor disagree.

District Plan change appeals

Result: 100% of our District Plan appeals were resolved (target: 90%; 2012/13: 100%).

Source: WCC City Planning and Design

Residents (%) who agree the central city is lively and attractive

Residents (%) who agree their local suburban centre is lively and attractive

26% of residents disagree that their local suburban centre is lively and attractive, and 29% neither agree nor disagree.

Residents (%) who rate their waterfront experiences as good or very good

The proportion of grants funds successfully allocated (through milestones being met)

Result: 100% (target: 95%; 2012/13: 100%).

Source: WCC Community Networks

We measure our effectiveness at protecting the city’s built heritage

District Plan listed items that are removed or demolished

Result: 0 (target: 0; 2012/13: 1).

Source: WCC City Planning and Design

Residents (%) who agree heritage items are appropriately valued and protected in central city and suburban areas

There has been publicity during the year around a number of high-profile heritage buildings being earthquake-prone, which may have contributed to this decrease in performance this year. 14% of residents disagree that central city heritage items are appropriately valued and protected, and 13% of residents disagree for suburban heritage items.

 

6.2
Building and development control
Māherehere tāone, whanaketanga wāhi tuku-ihotanga, wāhi tūmatanui
Top

We ensure developments do not harm the environment, and building works are safe and comply with the Building Code

 

What we do

Like all cities, we control building and development work according to the provisions of the Building Act, the Resource Management Act and their District Plans. These controls are necessary to ensure buildings are safe and comply with the Building Code, and resources are used sustainably to protect public health and safety and to protect future users of land and buildings. They’re also needed to protect urban character and to preserve the city’s heritage.

We also have a statutory requirement to administer an Earthquake-prone Buildings Policy. The policy sets out processes to identify buildings that are below the required earthquake standards, and the requirements and timeframes for building owners to bring them up to the necessary standard. Our activities include:

  • building control and facilitation (building consents)
  • development control and facilitation (resource consents)
  • ​earthquake risk mitigation – built environment.

What we achieved

We administered building and resource consents. We had two significant publicly notified consents granted this year. They were an extension to the C and D Landfill and the Brooklyn Wind Turbine replacement. We had 257 resource consent pre-application hearing requests. This is the highest number since 2007/08 and a 22% increase from last year.

The High Court has directed the application to demolish the Harcourts Building back to the Environment Court. The hearing was set down for August 2014. We also have an agreement with the Christchurch City Council to assist with processing their building consents.

We continued strengthening Council buildings. We have completed strengthening of the Brooklyn library, Tawa library and Truby King Cottage, and initial strengthening of the Civic Administration Building. The Portico, Clarrie Gibbons Building, Network Newtown, Thistle Hall and Band Rotunda work will be completed by December 2014.

Work to strengthen the Town Hall paused in December 2013 due to an increase in projected costs during the tender process. We will present further recommendations to the Council during 2014/15.

We assessed the strength of buildings around the city. We completed building assessments for pre-1976 buildings with the final 146 assessments being completed in the early part of 2014/15. We have assessed 5,184 properties since the project began with 677 noted as earthquake prone.

We helped residents “Quakesafe” their homes. The Earthquake Commission has provided funding for a residential property assessment programme for 100 randomly chosen homes. The elements required to “Quakesafe” these homes will be collated and costed by a quantity surveyor and used to model the impact of an earthquake across the city. We hope to influence government agencies to develop a funding programme that mirrors California’s “Brace-Bolt” programme.

We assessed 315 dwellings under the home assessment programme, which we are running with the Master Builders Federation and the Certified Builders Association. This programme is also operating in Porirua and Hutt Cities.

What it cost

Operating
expenditure
​($000)
Actual
2014
 
Budget
2014
 
Variance
2014
 
Actual
2013
 
6.2.1  Building Control and Facilitation1
Expenditure 12,494 12,935 441 12,276
Revenue (7,504) (8,449) (945) (7,839)
Net Expenditure 4,990 4,486 (504) 4,437
6.2.2  Development Control and Facilitation2
Expenditure 5,404 5,885 481 5,300
Revenue (2,755) (3,005) (250) (2,368)
Net Expenditure 2,649 2,880 231 2,932
6.2.3  Earthquake risk mitigation – built environment3
Expenditure 1,736 1,541 (195) 355
Revenue (7) - 7 0
Net Expenditure 1,729 1,541 (188) 355
Capital
expenditure
​($000)
Actual
2014
 
Budget
2014
 
Variance
2014
 
Actual
2013
 
6.2.3  Earthquake risk mitigation – built environment4
Expenditure 3,908 12,191 8,283 2,193
Unspent portion
of budget to be
carried forward
n/a 1,665 - n/a
  1. Over budget due to lower operating revenue for both building consents and building inspections.
  2. Under budget due to reduced personnel expenditure and associated overhead allocations.
  3. Over budget due to higher labour charges and associated overhead allocations.
  4. Under budget mainly due to delays with the earthquake strengthening programme.

How we performed

This year, unexpected demand and the need to train new staff affected the timeliness of our legislative compliance processes. However, customer satisfaction with our services was good, we retained our Building Consent Authority accreditation and we achieved or partially achieved all our goals for mitigating earthquake risk. Uptake of the Financial Assistance Package was well below the previous year.

We measure the timeliness of our legislative compliance processes and related services

Building consents (%) issued within 20 working days

Result: 92% (target: 100%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 96%; 20010/11: 94%).

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

We have implemented a process change to ensure that we restart the clock in a timely manner when considering further information provided by applicants. This has reduced the overall time that applications are within the Council process, but has resulted in the ‘recorded time’ for some being longer than 20 working days. We also trained new staff at the start of the year to undertake assessments, which affected this result. We are reviewing the way we process consents to reduce processing times in the future.

Code Compliance Certificates (%) issued within 20 working days

Result: 99% (target: 100%; 2012/13: 97%; 2011/12: 98%; 2010/11: 99%).

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

Land Information Memorandums (LIMs) (%) issued within 10 working days

Result: 91% (target: 100%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 100%; 2010/11: 100%).

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

For three consecutive months this year, we received a higher than average number of LIM requests, which coincided with a reduced number of staff to process them. Outside of this period we achieved our target.

Resource consents (non-notified) issued within statutory timeframes (20 working days)

Resource consents (%) that are monitored within three months of project commencement

Result: 98% (target: 90%; 2012/13: 99%; 2011/12: 91%; 2010/11: 90%).

Source: City Planning and Design

This year, we monitored 208 of 212 resources consents within three months of project commencement.

Subdivision certificates (%) – section 223 certificates issued within 10 working days

Result: 100% (target: 100%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 100%; 2010/11: 100%).

Source: City Planning and Design

This year, we issued 61 section 223 certificates.

Noise control (excessive noise) complaints (%) investigated within one hour

Result: 99% (target: 90%; 2012/13: 98%; 2011/12: 99%; 2010/11: 98%).

Source: City Planning and Design

This year, we responded to 5,154 noise complaints, of which 5,127 were responded to within one hour.

Environmental complaints (%) investigated within 48 hours

Result: 100% (target: 98%; 2012/13: 98%; 2011/12: 99%; 2010/11: 98%).

Source: City Planning and Design

This year we responded to 249 of the 250 environmental complaints within 48 hours.

We measure the satisfaction with the services we provide

Customers (%) who rate building control services as good or very good

Result: 69% (target: 70%; 2012/13: 70%).

Source: WCC GetSmart User Survey7

Customers (%) who rate development control services as good or very good

Result: 76% (target: 70%; 2012/13: 53%).

Source: WCC Development Control Services Customer Satisfaction Survey8

We measure the standard of the services we provide

Building Consent Authority (BCA) accreditation retention

Result: Retained (target: to retain status; 2012/13: retained; 2011/12: retained; 2010/11: retained).

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

We measure our progress on earthquake risk mitigation

Potentially earthquake-prone buildings assessed

This year, we completed 841 assessments, which is 120% of our target of 700 assessments for the year. At 30 June 2014, a total of 5,184 buildings had been assessed since the programme began and 146 assessments were still to be completed.

Earthquake-prone building notifications (section 124) (%) that are issued without successful challenge

Result: 100% (target: 100%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 100%; 2010/11: 100%).

Source: WCC Earthquake Resilience

At 30 June 2014, we had one building subject to a challenge that was yet to be finalised by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Earthquake strengthened Council buildings – programme achievement

Result: Partially achieved. See “What we achieved”.

Source: WCC Earthquake Resilience

The programme was achieved apart from the Town Hall strengthening project not being started.

We measure uptake of the Financial Assistance Package

Weathertight houses – Financial Assistance Package (number of claims accepted and number of remediations claimed)

We accepted three claims and had four remediations claimed (no target; 2012/13: 49 claims accepted and 23 remediations claimed).

Source: WCC Financial Planning

7This is an online post-application survey of building consent applicants. This year, we received 272 responses.
8This is an online post-application survey of resource consent applicants. This year, we received 51 responses.