We don’t usually get involved in private DA’s – but the following left us with many questions.
A Breach of building regulations at *** Cres, Northbridge
The many apparent breaches of regulations evidenced in this private DA:
- Owner / builder working outside of hours
- Owner / builder excavating 1.2 metres deep under the house for a supposed ‘plant room,’ including plumbing for a bathroom.
- Balcony sizes have increased, and areas for landscaping concreted over.
The owner/builder is using a private certifier – the certifier had visited the site twice!
This raises several important questions about the suitability of private certifiers, and Council’s ability to act when a builder flaunts the law.
Neighbours to this development had been in touch with Council and had objected to the amended plans which were submitted after some of the illegal works were completed. The owner/builder responded by emailing neighbours the landscaping plans which label the ‘proposed plantroom’ with master bedroom, living room, etc..!! Those that received this were bewildered by the brazen proof of intent to occupy what had been approved as a plant/store room.
Last Wednesday (March 23) the Ward Councillors had an onsite meeting. Councillors passed the modifications which were for a basement flat carved out under the house despite the owner having demonstrated a brazen disregard for all the processes or rules in place. Was the council officer who passed the original plans at fault? We now know that the private certifier has since terminated his contract with the owner.
Residents surrounding this development felt that council was worried about the owner taking the building to the courts and felt that by passing with conditions that they could retain some control of the site. Those affected, don’t agree. This decision again sets a dangerous precedent for those who want to skirt the rules.
There is now limited recourse in place to prevent this developer, excavating further and still converting the flat. This premeditated intent to deceive has been rewarded with Council’s APPROVAL.
Neighbours are instigating an investigation into the certifier; contacting the compliance officer at council regarding the many breaches still not addressed, and seeking to obtain a review of the original plans that were approved by what is thought by them to be an inattentive council planner.
It is felt that this DA approval may set a precedent for all future buildings. If this owner can effectively get away with a 3 storey house then to be fair to all, we should all be able to do it.