A section 95a letter is what a building consent authority (BCA, usually a council) must issue to the applicant, or building owner, if the BCA refuses to issue a code compliance certificate(CCC) when requested.

The letter merely has to state the refusal and the reasons for the refusal.  The reasons for refusal are items that the BCA has inspected and deemed to be non-compliant with the building code, but the items will not be a full list of the areas on building code non-compliances: for a comprehensive list of non-compliances, it will be necessary for the building owner to engage an independent building consultant.

Depending on the nature of the non-compliances identified and the size of the building, the process for resolving the section 95a issues can take anything from a couple of weeks to many months.

A typical sequence of stages in the process to resolving issues raised in a section 95a letter is as follows:

1. Obtain and review a current copy of the BCA property file. This is necessary so that an accurate picture of what the BCA thinks the building should look like and it will list all the building consents that have been issued regarding the building, including a record of the BCA’s inspections and a full set of plans and elevations. Following this review the latest set of plans and elevations can be printed out in readiness for taking to site to compare with the building as built.

2. Preliminary visual inspection. The next step in the process is to carry out a visual preliminary inspection of the building to confirm all the BCA’s alleged building code non-compliances and confirm whether the building has any additional building code non-compliances. It may not be possible to confirm whether additional building code non-compliances are evident from this visual inspection and it may be necessary to recommend further, invasive, investigations.

3. Invasive investigation. It may be necessary to remove linings and claddings to confirm building code compliance of parts of the structure which cannot be seen. If it is considered necessary to investigate the external cladding for weathertightness it may also be necessary to remove timber samples for laboratory analysis to determine the presence of decay and timber treatment.  It may also be considered necessary to engage other consultants such as fire, structural, planning, acoustic, electrical, plumbing and drainage, depending on findings.

4. Reporting. Once stages 1 to 3 above are complete, including reports from other consultants if necessary, we will provide a written report describing all our findings and recommendations for resolving the building code non-compliances identified. An outline scope of remedial work can then be submitted to the BCA for their approval.

5. Remedial design. Once the reporting stage is completeand the BCA has accepted the proposed scope of remedial work, it may be necessary to produce design documentation and submit a building consent application to the BCA to remedy all the building code non-compliances identified. If the building code non-compliances are considered relatively minor, it may be possible for the work to be completed without a new building consent. We will discuss this with the BCA as appropriate.

6. Produce a detailed schedule of work and tender the work to contractors willing and able to carry out the work, award the contract and manage all works on site on behalf of the owners, including managing stage payments, variations and amendments if necessary. If the work is relatively small or of a minor nature it may not be necessary to engage in a formal tender process if the client is willing and able to manage the contract themselves. For larger jobs it is recommended that an independent quantity surveyor be engaged to manage this process. A registered building surveyor is required to inspect all timber framing for damage and specify replacement if any remedial work is necessary due to external water ingress through roofing or cladding.

7. On completion of all work, collect all the relevant paperwork, warranties and producer statements and apply for a code compliance certificate.

If you have received a section 95a letter describing building code non-compliances and need assistance in resolving the issues, Reveal Building Consultants Limited can provide the necessary advice and guidance to bring the building to building code compliance and obtain a CCC.

 

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7a/65 Paul Mathews Road
North Harbour, Auckland 0632
Email: enquiries@revealbc.nz
Dave: 021400579
Nick: 0276375441

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