Builder and Council Dilemmas

Hi all,

I am having all sorts of trouble with my duplex build, and I would like some advice.
I am building a duplex on an angled block through a registered builder house and land package.
This is a rough idea of what has happened (from the builder)

? Deposit paid ? 1st Aug 2013 (TBC)

? Development Application ? 30 August 2013

? Council extended application time by way of ?information request? on 24th Sep 2013

? We responded (answered) councils ?information request? on 15 Oct 2013

? Council then extended the decision period on 12th Nov 2013

? Council did not make a decision by the required date ? so we requested a ?deemed approval? which is allowable and council is legally obliged to approve the development ?as is?

? Council approved the development on 24th Dec 2013 ? but see below for where it gets a bit complicated

o However, when council approved the development ? they did so without any plans attached which was a deliberate way preventing the development proceeding as we cannot lodge the building application without stamped approved plans

o Subsequent negotiations with council failed to get a resolution


? We have the plumbing approved by council with the duplex sited as per plans (see attached)

? The certifier is happy and able to approve the duplex if council stamps the plans

? Councils position is that the setbacks are not compliant ? however ? we have done a number of developments in this estate with the same minimum setbacks ? in fact ? this one has greater setbacks for a larger portion of the site than most other duplex?s in the area

The council has since knocked back the plans - even after "deemed approval".
Then the builder missed the appeal period, and we have had to resubmit the plans to get them refused AGAIN, just to open up another appeal period.
When we did this, the council apparently had 20 days to give us a decision. This was 3 months ago!!

I have been screwed here from all sides as far as I can see it.

I'm no expert, but I think 15 months for a duplex approval is ridiculous. Am I wrong??

I have many questions;

Is the council not required to stamp the plans after a deemed approval?

Is the council required to comply with the timeframes they are given?

Where do I stand with recourse for all of this? I am guessing I'm just struck with paying the interest payments on the land?!?

I know it's a lot of information, and if you've read this far I appreciate it.
I'm just wondering if anyone knows where I should go from here.
The builder thinks he's done nothing wrong and the council are very tight lipped and won't really answer any questions.

Hi Perp,

Yeah, the builder has got a town planner on it, but he says that we just have to sit and wait for the council. It seems that the council is just not restricted by their timeframes at all...
If this is WA I thought it was deemed denial not deemed approval after 60 days?

I feel for you taking so long. I would suggest a meeting with head planner at council to sort it out.

Councils here make up their own rules. Stirling let everything sit for 60 days then it gets assigned to a Planner then they work on it. It's totally against the WAPC rules
Apart from the costs, does anything prevent you going to the land and environment court on deemed refusal? Apart from do nothing, why isn't the town planner pushing the cart? Is the builder charging for the tp?
It sounds to me like the problem here is a lack of somebody pushing this thing - somebody needs to be chasing this every day (or at least week) until you get some response, and if you're not getting answers, then you need to be faxing your Councillors and the Planning Minister etc.

But it's way past time that you can afford to passively "trust that the process will happen".
This is a project in QLD, and yes it was a deemed approval.
I have pushed the builder who says he can do nothing, as does the TP. When I speak to the council, they are very tight lipped and won't give me any solid details. Head Planner won't speak to me, just his lackie who is very frustrating and just passes the buck.
I've just been told by all of these so-called proffessionals that all I can do is wait, but you're right Perp, its way past that now
Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try to contact a Councillor, then maybe planning minister
Whats the deal with the land and environment court??
Do you mind saying which Council? Somebody here may have some contacts or advice that are particular to that Council.
Thanks Perp
I spoke to them again today and they told me that they weren't able to fit me into the October meeting now and I have to wait until November one. AAAARRRRGGGHHH!!!!
I've spoken to complaints @ the council and they are getting the Planning Manager to have a look at the case.
We'll see how that goes. I'll be on to them every few days now....
It took me over 2 years to get approval for 2 seperate townhouses on one block and only got moving when I said I was going to VCAT. Iwould be telling them immediately you will do this if you dont get an answer and lodge with Qcat or equivalent immediately
Thanks fern,
Sorry to hear that, but it makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one going through this.
I put in a formal complaint through the council, then rang the Planning Manager the next day and put on the sob story. He has promised that it will be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
We are slightly amending the plans as he said if we did this it would be a "tick and flick"
Wish I'd known this ages ago.
My fault for sitting back and trusting others I s'pose