Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Strangled by Red Tape; Our Council's Building Approval Assessment Proves Costly

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Strangled by Red Tape; Our Council's Building Approval Assessment Proves Costly

Article excerpt

Byline: Toby Walker toby.walker@scnews.com.au

DYSFUNCTIONAL decision making within the Sunshine Coast Regional Council's building assessment team is delaying the housing dreams of Coast families and costing them thousands along the way, a building certifier has claimed.

Scott Rushton, a former Maroochy Shire Council employee who runs his own business, Suncert Building Consultants, has hit out at council assessors, criticising them for unnecessarily holding up what he believes are simple and straight-forward development applications from Coast mums and dads.

Overcautious council staff were delaying approvals that should take just a few weeks, in one case stretching it to many months, he said.

Buderim couple Chris and Jo Munday moved to the Coast from Victoria last year and employed an architect to draw up plans to add another storey to their home.

They gave the plans to Mr Rushton to submit to council.

He said such an application, one of about 100 he made to council each year, typically involved three to four hours of his own time and was generally approved within a month.

Despite it being lodged on October 23 last year, the Munday's application still had not been approved almost nine months later, in July of this year.

The council said the application had been refused on the advice of lawyers, who had suggested assessors needed to start interpreting in a different manner the eight-year-old Maroochy Planning Scheme's definition of building heights and the permissible number of storeys.

That suggested interpretation was different to the one Mr Rushton and others in his industry had been accustomed to during prior dealings with council.

It was only when the Mundays employed their own legal team and prepared to go to court that the council backed down and allowed the application.

Mr Rushton said that by then, he had already invested 60 hours of his time on the application, the majority of them uncharged due to its drawn-out nature. …

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