Planning ‘U-turn’ risky, say building certifiers

Fast-track building approvals have been made more neighbour-friendly under legislation now before Parliament but private building certifiers are not happy.
Nanjing Night Net

Under the new planning bills, neighbours must be notified of a complying development application 14 days before approval, although they will still have no right to object. There is no such notification at present. This will extend the time in which applications must be approved by a council or private certifier, currently 10 days.

There will also be a mandatory notification to neighbours seven days before construction actually starts, up from two days.

Another amendment allows councils to amend the statewide complying development code to reflect the local character of their areas on issues such as placement of windows, privacy and light.

Complying development now accounts for more than 25 per cent of all development approvals in NSW and the government is aiming for a much higher target.

The Association of Accredited Certifiers has criticised the ”U-turn” on complying development, saying the changes will cause confusion.

”We cannot understand how the changes can possibly improve efficiency or streamline the processes,” said Jill Brookfield, the association’s executive officer.

There is a shortage of private certifiers and some are leaving the profession, citing too much risk and complexity in the system. According to one report, six certifiers handed back their accreditations last week.

”Certifiers are now saying to clients to get planning approval from the council and we will handle the construction certificate and certifying work. This reduces their liability,” said one certifier who did not wish to be named. ”Many are very nervous about issuing complying development certificates, especially in wealthy areas where neighbours have the resources to challenge their validity.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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