New initiative set to reduce cost of building consents

Aug 4, 2016 | News

In a flagship move, Thames-Coromandel District Council has recognised Lifemark’s certification scheme and amended planning regulations to allow larger dwellings that occupy a greater percentage of a section to be built if the design incorporates the Lifemark standards. Lifemark general manager Geoff Penrose says while building to Lifemark™ specifications costs slightly more, the property is designed for a wider population, regardless of age or ability.

He says under proposed changes to Thames-Coromandel’s district plan, a minor unit attached to an existing dwelling designed to Lifemark standards will not require resource consent, saving $1400 in fees as well as the cost of preparing the resource consent application.

Penrose says government bodies and the commercial sector are now endorsing and adopting design principles that include better access, wider doorways, increased spaces, reachable power points and easy to use taps, window latches and light switches.

According to ACC stats, 360,000 claims due to falls in the home were made, at a cost of $435 million, in the past year.

Lifemark certified homes are designed to prevent many of these injuries occurring. They incorporate intelligent design features such as improved lighting, non-slip surfaces in wet areas, better designed stairs and window latches to prevent injuries from slips, trips and falls.

Currently Lifemark certifies around 600 new builds a year out of around 25,000 – about two per cent. However that number looks set to increase.

In the Coromandel, anyone building a home or minor dwelling with a floor area less than 60m squared is now advised to seek Lifemark certification prior to lodging a building consent. And Lifemark-approved properties are permitted to have an increased maximum site coverage (40 per cent instead of 35 per cent) and maximum gross floor area (60m2 instead of 50m2).

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