Getting Approval to Extend Your Home
Adding a home extension is a great alternative to selling your home and finding a new one. However, council approval is necessary and can be an obstacle if you are not prepared. Although the approval process varies somewhat from state to state, there are basic steps towards approval that apply Australia wide.
Steps Towards Approval
The first step you should take is to contact your local council. Your local council can inform you of the rules that apply under their Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and other pertinent State and local planning policies. They will also inform you about the assessment and approval processes you must go through. In most cases, you will discover that you do not need to lodge a Development Application (DA) for home extensions, but you will most likely need to get a Complying Development Certificate (CDC). This can only be obtained from an accredited building certifier. Your council can also tell you what fees you will have to pay in order to get approval. These can be substantial and you will need to factor them into your budget.
In order to assure that you get the CDC, you should employ a qualified draftsman or architect to draw your detailed plans. This will eliminate any doubts about the nature or scope of your renovations.
Next, you need to obtain a Construction Certificate (CC). This ensures council that your plans comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). An accredited building certifier can give you your Construction Certificate.
The next stage of the approval process is to appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). The PCA can be the certifier you have been working with or a certifier appointed by council. His job is to ensure that the construction of your extension adheres to your approved plans. While your builder may be the principal liaison with your PCA throughout the construction process, only you, the landowner can appoint the PCA.
Finally, before you can move into your extension, the PCA must certify that the completed project has met the approval guidelines and you will receive an Occupation Certificate (OC).
In some areas it can take up to six months to obtain your CDC. Once that is obtained, though, and you have appointed a PCA, the rest of the approval process should go quickly and smoothly. If you plan ahead and don’t expect immediate results, you can avoid disappointment.
In order to avoid costly delays or risk having your application denied, find out about and inform your council about any factors that may result in your application being turned down. Some questions to ask include:
- Are there any unusual zoning restrictions in your area?
- Is your home in a Character Residential Area (CRA) or is it a heritage listed building?
- Is your lot too small for the intended extension?
- Is extensive filling or excavation work necessary?
While taking the legal step-by-step approach and obtaining all the necessary compliance certificates will take time and cost money, it is a less expensive and disruptive procedure than selling your property and moving. You also have the assurance that your builder has done his work to code and not cut any corners. Should you decide to sell your property later, the proof that you have complied with Australian building regulations will add value to your home.
Artificial Source Hi Pages Writer: Rob Schneider