Resource consents can be expensive and time consuming – there are no two ways about it. To reduce the costs of consultants’ fees, you’ll probably want to shop around and engage the surveyors, engineers, architects (often from different consultancies) who have quoted the lowest fees. But managing multiple specialists are where some of the biggest “hidden costs” actually come from.
A Planner’s role is to write the resource consent applications and this can involve identifying all of the specialist reports that Council wants. Then they must coordinate with the specialists and make sure they are all aware of what the other specialist is doing so that their reports all say the same thing.
Some of the biggest costs associated with resource consents can be in the time delays associated with multiple specialists making multiple changes to their reports. We have seen projects where the architect is separate from the engineer, and if the owner asks for a slight change to the house this can mean a whole new re-design for engineering. If the two specialists don’t talk this can waste time and money, and each design change you ask for can set you back up to 6 weeks.
Another hidden cost involves responding to Council’s requests for further information (the “section 92” letter), which are generally not included in the original fee quote or given a fixed price, but are typically charged out on an hourly basis. This industry practice that has come about because no one can predict what, or how much, information Council may ask for once the application is lodged.
However, in our experience it is possible to significantly reduce “section 92” costs by ensuring the resource consent application contains all the “right” information in the first place. It’s about knowing what to include, what not to include, and pulling together all the input from specialists (e.g. engineers, surveyor, architect) in as efficient manner as possible.
So what makes Thomas Consultants the best company for resource consents? All of our team work closely for Auckland Council and process consents on their behalf, as well as applying for private resource consents. This means we have our hands on the pulse with Council and know what the best information to provide is, and how far we can push those difficult sites.
It is also the first point – the efficient coordination of specialists – where our multidisciplinary consultancy has an advantage in being able to communicate immediately to all specialists with any proposed changes, make sure all specialists can advise the implications, and make sure the turnaround time is as quick as one week. With all consultants under one roof, meetings, discussions, planning and issue resolution is greatly streamlined, and the quality of the output is enhanced.
So, in our view, engaging the “right team” to prepare the “right information” for the resource consent application can save you $1,000s. It’s about “getting it right the first time” and leaving no gaps, uncertainties or issues that might come back to create costly problems later down the track.