Town Planning – Review overlooking for your project

Town Planning – Review overlooking for your project.

When embarking on a new home, extension or even a deck you need to consider if you might trigger an “overlooking: issue. Hilly sites, incorrect fence coverage or heights, proximity to adjoining homes (windows) and private open space are all factors when a floor level rises above 800mm from ground level.

What rule: Under the planning standard A15 and B22 Overlooking is designed to protect existing windows and private open space from overlooking.

What does it cover: A habitable room window, balcony, terrace, deck or patio should be located and designed to avoid direct views into the secluded private open space and habitable room windows of an existing dwelling within a horizontal distance of 9 metres (measured at ground level) of the window, balcony, terrace, deck or patio. Views should be measured within a 45 degree angle from the plane of the window or perimeter of the balcony, terrace, deck or patio, and from a height of 1.7 metres above floor level.

Reasons for Review: This to provide some protections (up to 9 meters from proposed development to adjoining owners private space and habitual windows. So essentially this and many other regulations are designed to review for adjoining owners any implication from an adjoining development. This is fundamental to your design development and is carried out by The Project for each project brief.

To help you visualise what “overlooking” means the following diagrams from planning authority.

  1. This diagram sets up the basis for review. If an area is affected (is within hatched area ie: a window, major entertainment area etc.) this this triggers the need to provide a solution. Please follow this link for PDF here

The following diagrams provide some idea of how to calculate any impact

 

 

 

Why Us: The Project Centre with over 20 years experience provides our client’s with helpful feedback on impacts & solutions when we are undertaking their new building design. By commissioning a professional design company ensure your design is compliant or applications undertaken to seek council approval when applicable.

Registration changes domestic work under $10,000

Changes to registration requirements for domestic building work under $10,000

The Victorian Building Authority are making a change relating to non-registered builders and draftspersons engaged in domestic building works valued under $10,000 from 31st August 2017.

The previous limit allowed non-registered builder to perform work is the cost of such work including materials and labour was below $5000. The previous limit allowed non-registered builder to enter in to contracts and perform work if the cost of such work including materials and labour was below $5000.

The new changes are significant, in so much, as ceiling has risen but only if a building permit is not required. There remains some standard exemption which still require correct registration including a builder’s engaged in the re-blocking, re-stumping, demolition or removal of a home, plus other non-structural works.

This update therefore means a further reduction builder’s who are able to undertake any work, regardless of cost, if a permit is required. These might include Verandah’s, Carports, decking, structural renovations which all need a building permit.

In regards Drafting I’m not sure if an owner builder, for example, draws a plan without correct registration, would this be acceptable to applying for a building permit. I’m initially of opinion, that these simple but significant change would mean no they couldn’t draw a plan that requires a building permit. This is to be confirmed.

The current standard plan requirements needed and details required for all permit are such that an unregistered draftsperson or builder may not be aware of all the building requirements, codes and standards and certainly would not hold practitioners insurance etc.

The changes reflect governments clear concern and aim to protect the consumer when undertaking building works.

Visit the VBA website to find out more about registration and the latest changes to building regulations.

Planning and Subdivision Fees Review – Oct 2016

Planning and Subdivision Fees Review – October 2016victoria-future

The Victorian Government have released information concerning significant increases to a range of fees in their Planning and Subdivision Fees Review. The stating that council costs to deliver services and fact that successive governments have failed to review fee’s for 12 years have therefor allowed this Victorian Labor Government to increase the many fee’s by approx.150% or more.

The introduction of a new fee structure for dwelling under $10,000 demonstrate lack of any real awareness to costs (I would love a house built for under $10,000) and continues the inefficiency of the department and its administration of regulations to the detriment of the public. Simply can’t believe they think this category square things up. Really?

The following link to proposed fee’s can be found here

Planning and Subdivision Fees Review

A few snap shot review of a few classic segments of planning developments:

Developments – single dwelling development and  also used for extensions and projects like Verandahs, Sheds and garages

  • Up to $100K        Was $239 Proposed $592 Increase $352 or 147% Increase
  • $100K to $500K  Was $490 Proposed $1213 Increase $723 or  147% Increase

Some new levels are introduced. Sneaky new fee’s not discussed.

  • $500K to $1 Million Was $490 Proposed $1310 Increase $820 or 167% Increase
  • $1Million to 2 Million Was $490 Proposed $1408 Increase $918 or 187% Increase

Amendments to Permits had fee such as listed below

  • $0 to $10,000 Nil
  • $10,000 to $100,000 $239
  • $100,000+ $490

Proposed is now a complicated calculation which is sure to cause significant and unnecessary confusion and costs for owners wanting small extensions or additions to a lot which already has a planning permit and therefore requires that permit to be amended. It is unclear what they proposed to charge but it could be classed under schedule attached.

Amend an existing planning permit – 75% of fee applicable to the original permit class plus the difference in fees if the amendment moves the permit into a different class. The lowest fee starts at $1080 but will they charge 75% of this or the original development cost. Even if at lower end the increase is

  • $0 to $10,000             Was $ Nil    Proposed $810 Increase $810
  • $10,000 to $100,000  Was $239  Proposed $810 Increase $571 Increase 239%
  • $100,000+                  Was $490  Proposed $810 Increase $320 Increase 65%

Lack of a community and business opportunity, and therefore critical response, will ensure Labor Government, who have demonstrated no real care for consumer consultation (our company was asked only 2 weeks ago but no indication of proposed fee’s were provided), to smash consumers with this exceptionally unrealistic increase based on their previous and continued incompetence is wrong. Strong words but true.

I do feel sorry for council planning staff, at the coal face, with the negative responses they will need to field over the coming months. Somewhat feel the same for our company who initially have to advise a client’s first then take the negative flak or the cancellation.

Summary,

I was expecting change and my first thoughts were

  1. It was wrong that fee’s were not raised yearly similar to the building & other government department. But why had they not? But rise then by 147% Really?
  2. It is true current fee’s do not cover costs fee’s needed to be raised. But is this the right and responsible way?
  3. It is true significant numbers of time wasting applications are triggered for no real public advantage. Why no real significant change particularly to NIL impact projects cluttering the system.
  4. It is true some fee’s are realistic for some more complicated projects but many are not particularly class 10 projects and small dwelling extensions.
  5. it is also true that the government has such lack of transparency, just look at the infrastructure issues, CFA and rail development for other examples that no reasonable consultation with industry was undertaken to those who deal with the consumer. Either that or our association BDAV have failed us building designers and our clients.

The new fee’s will ensure consumers will continue pay for lack of real planning improvement or desire for improvement which successive governments, Labor or Liberal, have simply failed in their elected duties and the Planning Department who seem to have no grasp on their duty.

If your not happy consult your local member I’m sure they will provide the applicable lip service do not blame the council staff or my staff we don’t make the fees.

We, at The Project Centre hope this information will assist those consumers with understanding some of the associated unseen costs of building within Victoria.

Building Amendment (Construction of Swimming Pools and Spas) Regulations 2016

Building Amendment (Construction of Swimming Pools & Spas) Regulations 2016

The continued raft of building regulation changes continues with latest directed to pool-regsdomestic pools and spas. One concern we have also seen is the lack of attention to just when a pool project is finished and therefore we have seen pools and spas in full operation but without proper fencing completed. Generally  we have not be had anything to do with pool project but find ourselves now dealing with the non-completion. Essentially the pool companies and home owners have been employing the extended period of completion related to normal building to give a window of not completing the pool enclosure.

“The new rules appears fair and reasonable to us.”

The Building Amendment (Construction of Swimming Pools and Spas) Regulations 2016 (S.R. No. 104/2016) will come into effect on 3rd October 2016. These reduce red-tape by aligning the completion periods for building work relating to a swimming pool or spa and any associated barrier or safety equipment with the completion period for other building work that is being carried out concurrently on an allotment.

From 3 October 2016, building permits issued for the construction of a swimming pool or spa may reflect the completion date of other building work being carried out concurrently on the same allotment. When calculating the completion date, the RBS should only consider building permits that are in force at the time that the building permit for the construction of the swimming pool or spa is issued.

For a copy of proposed change: Link to government regulation here

So keep your property safe this summer and ensure you know what your obligations are as pools and spas. Small kids simply don’t mix well unattended and unfenced pool areas so get your fences done sooner to enjoy your pool and spas.

New Building Act 1993 changes July 4, 2016

2016 Changes to the Building Act 1993

Victorian Building AuthorityEvery year we find adjustment changes to varies matters now under the control via Victorian Building Authority for Building Act and associated entities such as Plumbing, Architectural, Owners Builders and more.

As the VBA web site states “Changes have been made to the VBA’s powers and functions under the Building Act 1993. Some of these changes may affect your rights and duties under the law.”

This section of the VBA website holds information about:

  • how these changes relate to you as a building practitioner, building surveyor or owner-builder
  • when the changes come into effect
  • what will be different when the changes come into effect, and
  • any specific things that apply during the transition to the new laws.

The link will take you to main site whereby you may web surf to area of most interest to you. Follow the Changes to Building Act 1993.

owner builderWe see certain strengthening of powers and a further layering of checking and cross checking ensuring the industries inefficiency remains without much progress towards any real reform or a balancing between planning and building or review of the changing size of lots and consumer requirements.
Some new powers will hopefully maintain a striding towards removing from industry of cowboys but I see significant many good guys hurt and frightened away in the meantime.

Owner Builders –

Owner Builders will now need to better realise the issues of “being the owner builder” as the rules are the same for all and the playing field will be inspected regularly.

This will make being an owner builder more of a chore, cost will rise significantly and especially for those real small projects such as a verandah and deck. The current status is one rule for all so all building and small project documentation and requirements now the same totally as a new dwelling.

One good change is the need to get VBA consent has risen to $16,000. This amount to me remains to low for both owner builder consent requirement plus also for need to get Home Owners Warranty Insurance. Both should be more around $25,000 so the small “addon” building ie:class 10b, is not over burdened by cost and regulation.

Building Plans

The new minimum plan requirements are being enforced. These are more of an enforcement of the rules that actual new rules but, by placing significant pressure on all building surveyors to ensure documentation for big or small are the same, then time and cost will kick in for small projects as never before.
As Building Drafting company we get it and understand fully the issues but our customers might not be so understanding. We worry many more will roll the dice on avoiding the undertaking of getting a building permit due to cost and red tape increasing.
Simply many old plans do not have the level of detail required today even for a verandah. So getting that detail, even getting the old plans (as often council records poor although now improving due to digital age) then producing plans for small class 10b projects to the standard now required will be more time consuming and will bring with that extra costs.
Politically it will be a time bomb but for now its reality. It needs proper reform for this sector.
Link to what’s required here VBA Practise Note Building Plans Documentation
We at The Project Centre – Narre Warren and a member of the BDAV, are specialists in Class 10b building with over 20 years ImagesBDAV-LOGO.jpgexperience in projects such as garages, carport’s, verandahs, deck’s and other external “add-on” extensions or out buildings. We know whats required and can help you your project.

Contact Us

Head Office – Beaconsfield
Floor 1, Office 1,  70 Old Princes Highway
Beaconsfield Vic. 3807  Phone: (BH) (03) 9769 3517

Owner Builder – New Building Act Changes from 4th July 2016

Owner Builder – New Building Act Changes from 4th July 2016

New Building Act Changes from 4th July 2016

New changes will come into effect for all building in Victoria from July 4th 2016. Whilst here has been a range of information leaking into the industry like all government act’s these come into effect regardless of consequence once released.vba logo

If planning to prepare yourself for a project particularly if an “owner builder” then ensure you read these new changes.

There’s good and bad and quite a few items to digest but two standouts are:

Good

Consent level raised from $12,000 to $16,000 when you need to get VBA consent to be an owner builder of your project. This will allow a reasonable small project to be considered prior to VBA approval being required.

“Remember you must be able to confirm and qualify your expected  project costs when applying for a permit”.

Bad

Owner Builders are on notice their projects will have the same scrutiny and inspections as any builder. So preparation, site conditions and have the correct compliant trades never been more important.

Higher level of Permit review with significant requirements on Surveyors to ensure they have all the correct documentation to enable them issue and administer a building permit.

I advise email advice we received…

Building Act changes that may affect you

The Victorian Government has made changes to the VBA’s powers and functions under the Building Act 1993. Some of these changes may affect your obligations under the law.

You can find all the information about how these changes relate to your work as a building practitioner generally, owner builder or a building surveyor specifically, by visiting the dedicated pages of the VBA website.

The first set of changes comes into effect on 4 July 2016. They include:

  • the extension of the VBA’s inspection powers to owner-built sites
  • new offences for undertaking work without a building permit
  • changes to powers to issue directions, notices and orders
  • a requirement on private building surveyors not to act where there is a conflict of interest
  • provision of a checklist for use by relevant building surveyors lodging building permits to councils

Further changes will be introduced in stages until July 2017.

Do Louver Roofs require a Building Permit?

Do Louver Roofs require a Building Permit is an often asked question by clients when considering building a project with a louver as the roof or the shade slat. The answer is not straight forward as what might appear and will depend upon exactly what the product is and usage the louver and function is performing.

Louver Options available:shade louver profile

Fixed Shade Louvers – often used to purely provide shade, privacy and ambience to the surrounds of a building. These typically are not directing water to a gutter and can be installed vertically and horizontally relative to the effect and outcome proposed.

Opening and Closing Louvers – often this more refers to roofing type outcomes bit certainly not always. Shutters could be viewed as a louver and often these used in window application for shade and privacy. As a roof it will depend if when closed the roof then directs water to a open and closed louver roof

gutter. Often roofing type louver might close to only 35 degrees and therefore not performing the task of a roof but more a shade slat outcome. If performing a closed roof application, a building permit will be required.

Do Louver Roofs require a Building Permit often more relates, not only to the applications referred to above, but also to fact that your “building a structure” with footings, connections to dwelling etc.

So the facts are:

Typically, most building will require a building permit. Long term benefits to obtaining a permit are significant and many but not least ensuring your money is protected via having an independent building surveyor involved ensuring your project is lawful and compliant.

Summary:

Pergolas (ie: Open, Slats (not closed), mesh) if under 20m2

No but Check – may not a building permit but check first your local council requirements for your home as some councils do require a permit due to location of site and other local considerations. If over 20m2 Yes – will require a building permit.

Fixed (any type) or Closed Louver roofs

Yes – will require building permit every time. Some local councils may also require planning permits as well for any building on your property (these requirements normally site specific).

Awnings – mesh or slatted

Not always but Check – awnings “fixed”, “retractable” or “louvers opening and closing” – if water proof directing water to a gutter or to ground and have structures will require a building permit. So best to check with your council if any restrictions or requirements need to be considered or approved before you build.

Building PermitOur experience particularly over the last few years is not getting a permit can be extremely costly and distressing.

We at The Project Centre – Narre Warren will be able to advise you once we know what you want, what else is on site, where precisely you wish project located and where you live. With this information we can assist you.

Given the many project variations, council and building code requirements and refinements we’re finding it increasing difficult to not be suggesting getting a building is required. Better safe than sorry. If it’s not required great. Often you might find that builder you believed in may become strangely very unavailable and generally unregistered and unwilling to assist.

Whilst permits can add a significant cost they may be just worthwhile to ensure your project is not required to be removed or amended (ie: costly further works or approvals) plus the general cost’s to gain compliance that are “not less than double” the normal costs of a permit.

  • Note: A planning permit only provides the information to a building surveyor that if all the building plans reflect the planning permit stamped plans and approval requirements and the associated building information documentation is correct that building surveyor can proceed with issuing a building permit.

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.

Building a Pergola without a Permit

Building a Pergola without a Permit

building permit

No one should be thinking if building a Pergola without a permit. Many clients ring us seeking answers to this is a commonly asked question. Does my Pergola need a Building Permit!.

Facts are clients are generally considering a Verandah or Carport (roofed structures) and sometimes also a deck generally for the external outdoor entertainment area and to provide shelter to rear or side exit from dwelling. Pergolas are strictly non- roofed structures.

Generally by the time client have contacted us we find they have been provided, for some reason, many different responses. Often incorrectly. This information might from a friend, a tradesman or even from council. Reason being often the term “I want to build a pergola” can be met with a “no a permit is not required” response. Often this response is not qualified because Items such as height, location, size, roof etc. etc., needed to be known for the correct response haven’t been requested or provided.

Essentially there is not many times a pergola doesn’t require a building permit. Pergola’s if above 20m2 it will always require a Building permit. Whether your project requires council or developer’s approval will relates specifically to your project and your site.

Do I need a Building Permit

The following links will provide you valuable info on if a permit required or not.

VBA logo

Link to Victorian Building Commission to see if your project needs a permit CLICK HERE. Download PDF info HERE

Local Council – these valuable local council pages providing details concerning building permit’s.

City of Casey logo

City of Casey web site page dealing with Building advice CLICK HERE

 

Cardinia-logo

Shire of Cardinia web site page dealing When are building permits required? CLICK HERE

 

one stop shop

 

What we can offer you! -‘The Project Centre with over 20 years experience can provide proven professional design and building advice covering a wide range of home building projects from ‘start to finish'”.

We can provide

  • Architectural Drafting
  • Town Planning applications including Easement & Report & Consent application
  • Soil Test, Engineering and related reports including Bush Fire reports
  • Building Permit

Louver Projects P1

What you need to provide

  • Copy of Existing House plans.
  • Copy of tiles, sub-divional plans and any covenants or agreement including Design Panel agreements with land developer (if applicable)
  • Measurements and details on your project idea.

Contact us on (03) 9796 6899 during business hours to arrange your FREE consultation at our offices.

Offices & Display Centre – Factory 1, 26 -28 Abbott Road Hallam Victoria Australia.

“Making Projects Come Alive”

Do it Yourself Pergolas

Do it Yourself Pergolasapproval stamp

Do it yourself pergola is very much a common father / son, mate / mate project carried out throughout the suburbs of Australia during the spring to autumn months. Pergola or Verandah structures have grown from a simple “lean to corrugated roof” structure to nowadays full on outdoor rooms with kitchens, tv’s, pool table etc., etc.,.

Solarspan---Outdoor-room-p10As those structures are considered an extension to your dwelling (unless less than 10m2 and not attached ) then generally a building permit is required.

The Project Centre has been offering plan and permit solutions for now well over 15 years for those serious do it yourself pergola builders within the Melbourne metro area. Ensuring your project is properly planned, permitted and executed ensure a successful project. We can provide the experience to assist achieving those goals.

Check out our do it yourself brochure for some ideas and things to consider. Link to Do it Yourself Projects

Check out our plan and permit link to do it yourself service

Do I need a building permit – check out this link for  Building Commission

Contact us if your considering getting professional advice and plans prepared for your outdoor pergola or verandah. Ring on (BH) 039796 6899 or provide us your enquiry by

emailing us here  email logo 2

We are a member of the Builders Designer Association of Victoria bdav logo