If you’ve seen our blog series on the lifecycle of a resource consent, you’ll have seen the importance of doing investigations upfront and making informed decisions. Part of that relates to money- how much will it all cost? We have a related blog on this, and this current blog expands on the Council fees side.
Most Council’s require a deposit fee when you lodge the resource consent application. This varies depending on the type of application; typically, the more complicated the greater the deposit fee will be. You can find the deposit fees on the relevant Council’s website. In some cases, you can pay this via a bank transfer, your consultant, or in person at a Council office. We lodge almost all our clients’ applications digitally now and deposit fees are paid at the same time. This is a much faster process, and means less people need to be involved and less double handling.
What am I charged for?
As soon as your application is lodged you will start incurring fees. You are charged for actual time Council staff spend on your application, whether this be administration staff setting up the application numbers, Council files, etc. Team Leaders allocating the work to staff or the actual assessment and reporting by specialist staff. You are also usually charged for disbursements such as photocopying, scanning and travel. The fees associated with this, including staff hourly rates, are found in the Council’s Annual Plan. There are often also pamphlets on charges for consenting processes. You should review these, as hourly rates for staff can seem high (but are generally reasonably standard in that particular industry) and fees can quickly mount up. This is one of the reasons its important to lodge a thorough application - the better your application the less time Council staff will have to spend assessing it themselves. For the same reason, you need to ensure that you have the right people assisting you with your application; using a specialist who assesses an application in the correct way and communicates this well will save you time and money in the long run even if they are not the cheapest quote you receive.
Usually you will receive progress invoices, which will show what work has been undertaken on your application, how much this cost and how much of your deposit is left. You will receive a final invoice once work on your application is completed. If the deposit hasn’t all been used, you should receive a refund.
What if I want to dispute the costs?
You can’t dispute the actual individual costs (such as hourly rates, etc.), as that is set by the Annual Plan; you will need to get involved in that process and make a submission if you think fees in general are too high. If you think fees for your specific application are too high, for example a specialists took too long assessing your application, you can formally object to the fees. This is a formal process under the Resource Management Act and must be made in writing and no more than 15 days after you receive the consent decision/ invoice.
Want to reduce processing fees?
Our best advice to reduce your processing fees is to use appropriately qualified and experienced people and submit a well assessed and set out application. The Planning Plus team have extensive consenting experience and are all qualified planners. In addition, we have a team of well-respected and experienced specialists who we work with and can recommend for your project.
Let us take the pain out of the consent process for you, and co-ordinate a team to reduce your risk and fees. Give us a call if you’d like to know more.
Hannah Thomson is Director of Planning Plus and has over 17 years of resource management experience working in both local government and the private sector. Hannah has a wide range of experience including commercial, rural, residential and coastal development and subdivision on small to large scales and appearances at both Council and Environment Court as an expert witness for mediation and hearings. Hannah has assisted Councils with policy development and has also assisted private individuals with submissions to Council.
DISCLAIMER: Fees are subject to change at any time. This indication of costs should not take the place of an official quote, your own investigations or without first obtaining specific specialist advice on the cost components involved in a specific project related to a particular site. Planning Plus takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the above figures.