Building Report & Consent

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1 1 Building Report & Consent The material contained in this brochure has been prepared as a guide. No reader should rely on it without seeking their own independent professional advice. June 2011

2 The Report and Consent Process for Single Dwellings 1 The Building Regulations of Victoria prescribe a number of minimum siting requirements for single dwelling 2 developments on lots over 500m in area in the City of Boroondara. These siting requirements relate to matters such as setbacks from boundaries, fence heights, overlooking and overshadowing. Where the requirements of State legislation as set out in the Regulations are not complied with, a building permit cannot be issued unless departures from the specified standards are approved by the relevant Council. Part 4 Siting provisions of the Building Regulations require that a Report and Consent of Council be obtained where a design for a single dwelling does not comply with a regulation. For example if the minimum front setback of a property is required to be 9m* whereas the design shows a minimum setback of 7m, then in this instance a building permit cannot be issued by a Building Surveyor without first obtaining Report and Consent (dispensation) from Council. *Note: The front setback is determined by the average setback of both adjoining dwellings facing the same street. For example, if the dwelling on the left side is setback 9m and the dwelling on the right is at 7m, then the minimum required setback for the subject property is 8m. Carports or any other open structures on adjoining properties are not taken into consideration when measuring the distance, however, they may assist in justification of the proposal with a reduced front setback, depending on the proposal. The Building Services Department provides a full range of building permit and inspection services. You need a building permit for most works including dwelling additions, fences, swimming pools, spas and associated safety barriers, and may be for structures supporting rainwater tanks. Council's role and responsibilities Council's role and responsibilities in the Report and Consent process can include that of a decision maker and sometimes acts a mediator. The Council should consider the needs of the applicant, the potential impact upon adjoining properties and/or infrastructure prior to making a decision. When assessing an application for Report and Consent relating to Part 4 of the regulations, the Council must have regard to Minister's Guideline MG/12. (See Building Commission brochure), or visit website at: Check Council s website: your_council/building-planning/ building-services

3 Key Steps The principal steps in the Report and Consent application assessment process are as follows: 2 1. Submitting an application Accompanying Council's application form must include fees, Certificate of Title with plan of subdivision, plans and a covering letter clearly explaining the nature of the 'siting' variation(s) to the building regulation sought. The application will be registered and allocated to the Report and Consent Unit for processing. (See application form) 2. Initial assessment Council needs sufficient information to enable a well informed decision to be made. If additional details are required, Council will request further information within 15 days of receipt of the application. The application will be put on hold until this information is received generally up to a period of 3 months. 3. Referral Authorities The application may need to be forwarded to other Council departments such as Statutory Planning, or Engineering & Traffic to, for example, examine the impact of any crossover works upon street trees and drainage assets etc located within the road reserve. This application would also be referred to any relevant external authorities, such as Melbourne Water to assess the impact of any works upon their assets. External authorities have 28 days to reply to Council. 4. Vegetation & Assets Consideration must be given to existing vegetation on the subject land as well as street trees and other public assets (e.g. power poles and pits etc). Vegetation and street assets may impact upon the proposed design and the location of building(s) even if the Report and Consent is approved by Council under the Building Regulations. If a design is subject to the above constraints, advice from Council's Arborist, Parks & Gardens and/or Engineering and Traffic departments must be sought. Any application for a building permit should ensure that the proposed dwelling respects the streetscape, adjoining neighbours amenity and complies with the relevant building regulations. Any variations need to be well justified and considered.

4 3 5. Detailed assessment Council officers will undertake a thorough assessment of the application and plans in accordance with the Minister's Guidelines. The assessment will also include visiting the site, taking photographs, observing the streetscape and the potential impact on neighbouring properties. In addition, Council officers will also be taking into account all relevant policies and planning scheme requirements if applicable, any submissions received from adjoining owners and comments from Council s other departments and referral authorities. 6. Consultation with adjoining property owner(s) and their involvement The Building Act requires the reporting authority to have regard to the Minister s Guidelines. These state that a Municipal Council is to seek the views of the adjoining property owner(s) when an application is lodged to vary the Part 4 'siting' provisions of the Building Regulations where a detrimental impact may be suffered as a result of a reduction in setback, overlooking, overshadowing or excessive wall height on the boundary. Concerns such as blocking of views and possible reduction in property price will not be considered as detrimental impact on adjoining properties. The process of obtaining the adjoining owners comments is carried out either by Council for a fee or by the applicant. If the applicant is to seek comments from the potentially affected adjoining owner(s), then the applicant must use Council's 'Adjoining Owner Comment' form. These forms are available on Council's website and at the Building Services counter. The adjoining owners are encouraged to discuss the application with Building Services staff should any further clarification be required on the proposed design or on any other regulatory or technical matters. In seeking adjoining owner comments the Council must be mindful of the time limits to be observed in considering an application. In notifying the adjoining owner of the application for a variation the Council could also identify that there is a time limit on Council s decision making and that comments are to be provided within this time frame.

5 4 7. Submitting comments to Council by adjoining property owner(s) When submitting comments to Council by the adjoining property owner(s), the comments must be provided on Council's 'Adjoining Owner Comment' form. If necessary, additional information can be attached to the form. The comments can either be supportive or non supportive to the proposal in accordance with the Minister's Guidelines MG12 (Refer to MG 12). Council will consider only the relevant comments when making the final decision. Failure to provide comments in 10 business days will be considered as being supportive or no comments offered to the proposal by the adjoining owner(s) and Council will make a decision after 10 days of the notification. If non supportive comments were received from the adjoining owner(s) and if the Council consents to the proposal, then in this instance potentially affected adjoining owners who opposed the proposal will be informed of the Council's final decision on the application. 8. Mediation Council's Building Services staff may act as mediators between the applicant and potentially affected neighbouring property owners. Mediation may be carried out individually or as a group with all parties involved. With mediation, Council's primary role will be to provide a forum for all parties to discuss, negotiate and achieve a desirable outcome. 9. Consent / refusal of an application Council may consent to an application as presented or place recommendations on the Consent. Council may also refuse an application. With Council as the decisionmaker, the process will be transparent and seeks to reach a balanced outcome for all parties involved. Note that a planning permit may be required for some works such as extensions, additions, fences, rainwater tanks etc or if your property is affected by a Heritage or other Overlays, or is on a lot less than 500 square metres.

6 5 10.Amendment to application An application may be varied at any time during the process. If design changes are made after the adjoining owners have commented, then the new design must be presented to the adjoining owners for further comment. If the design is changed after the decision is made, then a variation to the application or a new application may be required to be lodged with Council depending on the extent and the complexity of the design change. New notices must also be sent to adjoining owners for comments. New fees will be applicable. 11.Appeal rights Under the Building Act only the subject property owner (applicant) is afforded an appeal right. The Building Act, unlike the Planning and Environment Act, does not provide appeal rights to third parties such as adjoining property owners. This is State legislation and not a control specific to the City of Boroondara. If Council was to refuse an application, then Council must be confident that the decision to refuse the application can be successfully defended at the Building Appeals Board. This is to ensure that the consistency and integrity of Council s decision-making process with Report and Consent applications is maintained. Should Council refuse the application and an appeal is lodged by the applicant, neighbouring property owner(s) who expressed objections will be advised of the appeal hearing by Council. Building Services will contact the relevant property owners to attend the appeal hearing in support of Council's refusal of the application. This will provide the opportunity for the relevant parties to appear before the Building Appeals Board to present their views. 12.BAB decision The Building Appeals Board (BAB) will make the final decision after the appeal hearing and will provide a written determination to Council and the appellant. Key Steps for making an application for a Report and Consent application 1. Do your homework and research 2. Undertake a site analysis 3. Prepare sketch plans 4. Talk to your neighbours 5. Talk to Council's Building Services 6. Review and finalise your plans 7. Lodge your Application. Supporting documents - Please refer to Council's application form. Council s Building Services Department has a Business Unit which issues building permits. Please contact Boroondara Building Surveyor Services on for building permit enquiries or visit: 13.Building Permit If a Report and Consent has been issued the next process is to obtain a Building Permit from Council or a Private Building Surveyor. Please be aware that a Building Permit needs to be granted before construction can commence. Refer to the next page for a diagram that illustrates the Building Report and Consent Process.

7 Building Report & Consent Process 6 Prepare plans & supporting documents Apply to Council s Building Services Dep. Council notifies potentially affected adjoining property owners of the application Council assesses plans & application within 15 business days Site inspection by Council Council to advertise for a fee or applicant to seek comments using Councils forms Adjoining owners have the opportunity to discuss the application with building staff within 10 business days of the date of notification Adjoining owners may or may not support the proposal No Council confirms neighbours that may be potentially impacted by the proposal Adjoining owners comments provided by applicant Council assesses any further information provided Council delegates make a decision within 10 business days of adjoining owner notification Yes If adjoining owners have positive comments Council verifies ownership details Application refused Decision consent granted Refusal letter sent to applicant with appeal right Yes Council invites any objectors to attend hearing Appeal Lodged Building Appeals Board makes the final decision No Council delegates attend the hearing at Building Appeals Board to defend Council s decision Plans endorsed & sent to applicant Objectors notified of the decision After 30 days, No further action can be taken by the applicant

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