Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Sort the Basics before Diving in; Renovating Is Fraught with Dangers, So It Pays to Get It Right

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Sort the Basics before Diving in; Renovating Is Fraught with Dangers, So It Pays to Get It Right

Article excerpt

PUT that sledge hammer down. Have you cleared your plans with the right people?

It's not just your family and neighbours, the government gets to have a say, too.

Renovating can be a minefield. Not only do you have to deal with myriad health and safety issues, such as potential accidents and the hazards of asbestos, but there are legal hoops aplenty.

And pleading ignorance when the inspector alerts you to a costly oversight won't save you. There are countless stories of building works abruptly halted and expensive renovations ripped out because the owner didn't follow proper procedure.

Even removing a tree on your property can require council approval.

Securing planning approval is just the first hurdle.

Your local council should always be your first point of call when considering any significant renovation. They can advise what regulatory requirements you need to meet.

Here are just some of the things you need to consider before demolishing, renovating, building, redeveloping or even landscaping your property.

Local council approval

The Building Code of Australia requires termite protection for new structures.

Development consent is required for most major works, especially where there is potential impact for neighbouring properties.

Before you go to the time and considerable expense of submitting a development application (DA) to your local council, run your proposal past a council planner first to determine whether approval is required.

Smaller structures, such as a deck, pergola, tool shed or fencing, are mostly exempt.

Once you've secured all the necessary approvals, brace yourself for the notifications and council inspections that will be required at various stages of construction.

Owner/builder requirements

If you're project managing the work yourself as an owner-builder, you'll need a permit. As an owner-builder you:

Take on all the risks and responsibilities of a registered building practitioner;

Guarantee the work you undertake;

Need to ensure all necessary approvals have been obtained;

Check all tradespeople you're hiring are licensed;

Are liable if the building work does not comply with all building standards, and health and safety regulations;

Will invariably be entering into "home building contracts" with contractors, so you need to be across what is required in your state; and

Need to have all the necessary insurances in place. …

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