MBIE officials meet with Auckland Council over delays to hospital building consents

5:23 pm on 1 December 2021

Building officials have met with Auckland Council over delays to hospital building consents.

A security guard worked at Middlemore Hospital's emergency department on Thursday last week while symptomatic with Covid-19.

At Counties Manukau DHB's Middlemore Hospital, delays have pushed back their new catheter and dialysis project more than six months, and raised costs. Photo: LDR / Stephen Forbes

Consents for medical facilities are being held up by extra questions about fire safety designs. Stroke, rehabilitation and baby care units are all affected as well as a catheter lab and renal dialysis project.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has acknowledged the urgency of these consents due to pressures from the pandemic.

It met with Auckland Council to understand the options, a spokesperson said.

"Hospital-specific guidelines would not necessarily speed up the building consent process," the ministry said.

The Building Code was performance-based and requirements for fire safety "should always be thoroughly considered" to "ensure buildings are built to preserve life safety".

More prescriptive guidelines for fire design were dumped in 2017 for hospitals and care homes because they were not working.

Engineers are struggling to know what Auckland Council and Fire and Emergency want in designs.

District Health Boards have also asked the Ministry of Health for help. The ministry has not yet responded to RNZ's questions.

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