Illegal Building Works

Illegal building covers not only new structures and additions, but the change of use of a building, such as turning a shed or garage into a "shack" or temporary dwelling.

Council has adopted a policy of not condoning the use of sheds/garages as shacks. This decision is based on a number of issues, such as the loss of rate revenue to Council, complaints about sale of the properties improperly advertised as shacks and complaints from neighboring property owners.

It should be noted that there are no longer provisions under the Building Regulations or the Building Code for sub-standard dwellings or partly fitted out sheds to be categorised as "shacks". Provisions can be made for "temporary dwellings" at Council's discretion and is usually only allowed in conjunction with living on-site while building a house.

Caravan Annexes may also require a building permit, depending on the type of structure. Any solid structure (not fabric) will be subject to building approval. (see Caravan By-Law)

As part of the policy provisions, regular inspections will be undertaken and Building Notices for Illegal Work will be issued as buildings and changes of use are detected. Owners may be given the option of bringing the building into conformity with the Building Regulations through the usual application process or returning them to their original purpose (shed, garage etc). Additional fees are chargeable and will be imposed in addition to normal building fees where illegal work is detected.

As a last option legal action may be initiated and the costs and fines allowed under the Act are substantial.

Another relatively 'unknown' requirement for a building permit is repairs to buildings. Building Regulation 4 (L), which deals with this subject is reproduced below:-

Certain buildings and building work exempt:

These Regulations, other than Part 1, Divisions 1 & 2 of Part 2, regulation 23 and Part 4, do not apply in relation to obtaining a building permit under Section 60 of the Act in respect of the following:

(L) The repair or maintenance of an existing building if the work is done for maintenance purposes using similar materials, equipment, installations, and components to those being replaced.