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A recipe for demolition in Footscray: The retiree, the builder, his building inspector and their Victorian Building Authority

A recipe for demolition: the retiree, the builder, his building inspector and their Victorian Building Authority

Wrecking Ball

Two Footscray townhouses were so badly built they will have to be demolished

Two Footscray townhouses were so badly built they will have to be demolished.

Despite recent overhauls in governance and regulation of the Victorian building industry, recent bad builds and disastrous outcomes highlight the need for property owners to be both diligent and rigorous with expectations, builders and inspectors.

The issue is highlighted by the case of Mr. Tony Veleski, a retired postal worker who, in 2015 after 17 years of saving, decided to invest in building two dream town houses.

Hindsight

In hindsight its possible to see the obvious initial problem in accepting a build price half of what experts say was realistic – you get what you pay for! Beyond the low price and the implied unprofessionalism of the builder, a string of oversights, lack of proper application of the building surveyors job and failings of the Victorian Building Authority mean the townhouses will need to be demolished at a cost to Mr. Veleski of around $1 million. Expensive mistakes!

Failings

Unfortunately, the builder went broke mid-way through construction; he had employed the surveyor. The surveyor’s ongoing approval of the ‘shonky’ building work was deemed unsatisfactory by the governing Victorian Building Authority. Instead of relieving him of his duties and investigated his conduct immediately, the Authority allowed him to appraise the development a final time and only then, feeling the pressures of earlier misconduct, did he deem the development unsafe and ordered its immediate demolition.

It has left questions as to the efficacy of the Victorian Building Authority (established in 2015 to clean up this exact type of conduct), rogue builders and bad developments.

Tony Veleski in front of the two Footscray townhouses that will have to be demolished

Tony Veleski in front of the two Footscray townhouses that will have to be demolished. Photo Jason South

Lessons

The lesson to anyone looking to develop is to spend time investigating builders, don’t accept the lowest price and, importantly, employ experienced and professional building planners and surveyors to oversee the initial and ongoing proposition. It may cost a little extra but it will certainly save a lot of financial pain, heartache and anxiety.

 

This story originally appeared in the Herald Sun on June 18, 2015: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-south/kingston-council-loses-case-against-boarding-house-forced-to-pay-17500/news-story/514f574d9e8c542f0590d1faeed8c3e9

Arky Design Planning Manager

Kate Sullivan is Arky Design’s Planning Manager. We have 14 years experience in navigating the planning, building and legal requirements for large and small development projects. If you have a development that requires the proper planning and building permits and likely legal representation then don’t do what Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqirito did. Give us a call today and start the discussion.

Kate Sullivan:
kate@arkydesign.com.au
0430 825 723

By | 2017-12-04T09:57:48+00:00 November 27th, 2017|Building Plans, Government, Legal, New Homes, Town Planning|Comments Off on A recipe for demolition in Footscray: The retiree, the builder, his building inspector and their Victorian Building Authority

Kingston Council forced to admit error and pay developer

Kingston Council forced to pay developer $17,500 after confusion around its own planning laws

Wedd Street Cheltenham

A developer has been awarded $17,500 in legal costs by VCAT after successfully defending a case brought against him by the City of Kingston. In 2014 the council claimed the developer, Wayne Wilson, required a planning permit for the multi-storey development in Cheltenham. The developer asserted that no planning permit was needed because the building was to be used as crisis accommodation and such dwellings are exempt from regular local council planning requirements.

Appeal

VCAT agreed with the developer in January 2015. His subsequent appeal to VCAT for costs of $91,158.23 for legal fees, lost rental income, an expert witness and environmental damage to the development from the lack of work was reduced to a settlement of $17,500 against the council. It is unclear why the final compensation was considerably less than that being claimed.

When laws meet community

While crisis accommodation development is exempt from local planning laws it does have to abide by state planning laws. Evidently that is exactly what the developer did. Despite this, there was considerable community backlash at the scale of the development in a residential street and it appears council tried to act on behalf of its ratepayers, albeit with not much opportunity for recourse. What appeared to be a clear case of a lack of understanding of the laws was actually muddied by the real and rightful concerns of locals.

Embarrassed

It’s both a major embarrassment for the council and an impost on their funds. In this day and age it seems remarkable that such an error could be made by a public institution. Evidently they can and do, and they can prove costly. As a builder or developer it certainly pays to know the range of laws and regulations. Having someone with experience and understanding of planning laws can preclude the need for such costly and drawn out legal battles.

At the time, VCAT acting deputy president Jeanette Rickards, who presided over the hearing, said it “could have been resolved without the need for a hearing”. “There was clear indication that no planning permit was required.”

Arky Design has represented a host of builders and developers in navigating the sometimes complex, demanding and ever changing planning permit landscape. Get in touch now and we can likely tell you about some of our wins.

This story originally appeared in the Herald Sun on June 18, 2015: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-south/kingston-council-loses-case-against-boarding-house-forced-to-pay-17500/news-story/514f574d9e8c542f0590d1faeed8c3e9

Arky Design Planning Manager

Kate Sullivan is Arky Design’s Planning Manager. We have 14 years experience in navigating the planning, building and legal requirements for large and small development projects. If you have a development that requires the proper planning and building permits and likely legal representation then don’t do what Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqirito did. Give us a call today and start the discussion.

Kate Sullivan:
kate@arkydesign.com.au
0430 825 723

By | 2017-11-20T12:34:10+00:00 November 5th, 2017|Building Plans, New Homes, Town Planning|Comments Off on Kingston Council forced to admit error and pay developer

Council Threatening Planning Enforcement Action

Council is threatening Planning enforcement action

ostrich-head-in-sand

If you have been contacted by your local council in any capacity and you are unsure of your legal position you should consider contacting Arky Design for advice on your planning circumstances.

Obligations

With any enforcement proceeding it is unwise to ignore an initial approach from Council. Infringements against the local planning scheme or the Planning & Environment Act 1987 are dealt with following the procedures laid down in the Infringements Act 2006 which could possibly result in fines or further action if anything is found to be outside of planning regulations.

Rights

Arky Design can help you in understanding your rights and we can advise you quite succinctly of your responsibilities. We can assist you if Council decides to have the matter heard before VCAT or the Magistrates Court.

Penalties

Heavy penalties may apply for those who fail to satisfy Council.

Let us know if we can be of assistance.

Arky Design Planning Manager

Kate Sullivan is Arky Design’s Planning Manager. We have 14 years experience in navigating the planning, building and legal requirements for large and small development projects. If you have a development that requires the proper planning and building permits and likely legal representation then don’t do what Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqirito did. Give us a call today and start the discussion.

Kate Sullivan:
kate@arkydesign.com.au
0430 825 723

By | 2017-11-20T12:47:57+00:00 November 5th, 2017|Building Plans, New Homes, Town Planning|Comments Off on Council Threatening Planning Enforcement Action