The Government has ordered Tauranga City Council to improve the way it handles building developments in future, saying it failed to follow its own processes in relation to the Bella Vista development.
The 21 houses in the development were evacuated by the council last March following concerns about their safety and compliance with the building code. The council ended up buying the houses from their owners.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has this afternoon released the report of its investigation into the way the council handled its statutory role under the Building Act in relation to the failed development.
The report says the council failed to follow its own processes in relation to the Bella Vista development and lost the benefit of safeguards and oversights that would normally be in place.
MBIE says the council must ensure that staff are aware of, and able to carry out, their obligations in accepting building consent applications, understanding the distinction between minor variations and amendments to building consents, inspections and enforcement.
The council also has to revise some of its policies and procedures, including its enforcement strategy and the treatment of reports by third parties .
It has been told to submit updated policies and procedures to MBIE within two months of receiving the report.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the report answered many of the questions ratepayers had rightly been asking.
“We need to take these recommendations on board to ensure that we provide a better service,” he said.
“It’s also important to be open about this report by encouraging our community to read it for themselves.”
Mr Brownless said in the year or more since problems were identified at the development, the council has already taken steps to provide a better service, including improved training for staff and the introduction of system, structural and personnel changes.
Further steps will be taken in light of the MBIE report, and an ongoing internal investigation is also expected to help the council ensure accountability for any failings, the mayor said.