Illegal Building Works

Illegal Building – Think again

complaintIn now over 40 years of supplying, designing and being involved with the  building industry the cost to the home owner of being found with illegal works (building or structure) has never been greater. Roll the dice or better still we recommend think again and then again before proceeding without a building permit.

In years past quick fixes have been allowed whereby if building or structure might have been considered by Municipal Building Surveyor as somehow acceptable or minor through undertaking either minor further works –under building permit or compliance via designers and engineer’s was enough. Often cost was low and the world went on.

Today things are vastly different. With so many more building & planning controls and careful enforcement of every dot and T within the Building code has made enhanced requirements the minimum standard. This includes requirements of full building plans, engineering, all applicable council or government approvals, building surveyor review and compliance reports etc. etc., depending upon the project. Even from our perspective our involvement and requirements from client double and triple to find a way to get existing project “over the line”. Our fee is generally twice or three times what is normal for the same project if done prior to building.

Often now pulling down the project is valued under say $20K might be the solution as the minimum cost to gain compliance could be well over $8000.

We find ourselves recommending starting again as the reasonable outcome hard to say and ofter even harder to hear. With normal permit and plans generally under $2K for say a verandah or a shed / garage., Why we might recommend to pull down – if any further works required such as reducing area, significant modification of building method, applying for approvals after the event with no guarantee of outcome isn’t a great starting point and outcome not always assured. Roll the dice or start again always a hard call.

What to do when building a structure – any structure.

Building PermitOur suggestion is “get a building permit”.

Its that simple. The stories of significant cost or heartbreak abound. Most won’t tell you what happened or what it cost to retain their extension, carport, retaining wall or verandah. Illegal building become a secret and a problem best kept to themselves and I do understand why.

At present I have a client who is rebuilding the whole project with costs and fee’s in excess of $8K just to see what can be done and to get a permit plus and this the killer now the cost to remove and replace. Simply it will cost $25 to $30K more than it should have.

So think again and get a permit first and don’t trust the builders word. Seek out and discuss with a registered building surveyor to confirm if your project needs a building permit.

Builder’s without Registrationregistered builder

To undertake a project above a cost of $5K a builder he or she must be registered. By choosing a registered builder provide owner’s with a level of confidence the builder has demonstrated to government competence and experience plus financially viable to undertake projects back by insurance safety net.

What type of Builder – A registered Builder either DBU xxxxxx or BD-Lxxxxxx

There are different levels and types of building registration. When getting your permit, the building surveyor checks this out for you prior to issuing a permit. This assist’s with ensuring the builder is registered, insured and qualified to undertake your project. Also ensure your builder and their registration noted on your permit application.

If project exceeds $16K in Victoria – home owner insurance is required if employing a builder.

Can I be the Builder

In Victoria, an “owner builder” you can undertake a project if under $12 without building authority consent (if above $12K then consent required). But you still need a building permit. Not just a Planning permit which some owners get confused by.

A Sad StoryUnfair

A client recently trusted the tradesman (as noted above) and it went like this

Builder – “Oh you don’t need a permit for this project”

Owner – “Oh that’s great when can you start because your $3K cheaper”

but look what they have left them. $25K+ extra because work was not only done without permit but was not done correctly. Clear visual deterioration of works within 12 months and now needs full rebuild to comply plus also expensive compliance and investigative work undertaken to try and save work done or as was the case reveal the worst case – full rebuild. These matter plus council work works and notices threaten different outcomes. It’s a disaster.

Can We help You Now!

Yes – The Project Centre does undertake coordinated building design of illegal building matters for domestic & industrial projects and can assist with process based on our prior experience in a range of projects.

Frankly however we would prefer to meet you prior to building and assist with getting the right design and outcome for you.

Summary

Do things once and get it right this include getting building permits for all structural works. Yes, I also feel system not perfect. Certainly more costly for small home projects than it should be and could be vastly improved but the its cheapest and safest way forward is be getting a building permit first and this will not change.