Delays in building application process

Last month’s council agenda included a warrant of payments with refunds varying between $90 and $2655 that had not complied with Building Act deadlines.

The City’s businesses director Chris Morrison said assessment exceeded the time frames of 10 days for certified applications and 25 days for uncertified ones in all cases.

‘The issue with time frames began at the end of October 2013 and has continued to date ” recently the numbers have been decreasing,’ Mr Morrison said.

‘Reconciliation is usually carried out once a month, however the large amount that was paid out was the result of the backlog of applications that had gone over.

‘Towards the end of last year the city experienced a huge influx of building applications, along with losing three key members of the building staff, resulting in applications going over time and creating a back log.’

Mr Morrison said the total amount of refunds was less than 5 per cent of the revenue collected, and the City expected to receive 7000 building applications this financial year.

‘Last financial year the City collected around $2.3 million in revenue from building applications and that was based on 6000 applications being received,’ he said.

‘The City is currently finalising contracts to enable us to outsource application assessments should increased work loads or resourcing issues arise in future.’

Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) State executive director John Gelavis said members reported delays in building permits all over Perth, including from the City of Wanneroo.

‘We do get a number of members, particularly volume building members, complaining about building permit time frames,’ he said.

‘There have been one or two other local government areas that are greenfield local government areas that don’t have a significant amount of delays.

‘It’s a real concern for the industry on building approval time frames ” we would like to see that approval process looked at and streamlined.’

Mr Gelavis said costs escalated for consumers if there were delays in the building process, particularly if they were paying rent elsewhere.

He said the HIA was advocating for a private certification model, so that builders would have the option of going to a private surveyor for building approvals instead of the local government.

Mr Gelavis said with such strong population growth in Western Australia, people needed houses, and the State Government development schemes had helped boost the housing industry.