The Property Council of Australia is in the middle of intense discussions with the State Government to urgently resolve problems encountered with the new application process for building permits.
Approvals for new home building permits are experiencing long delays. This is also happening in the non-housing sector.
Excessively long delays in processing building permits are occurring in respect of office and retail fit-out jobs as well as commercial construction. This is causing significant cost escalations as well as disruption to commercial operations.
In response the Property Council has called on the Government to take urgent actions, including changes to regulations that can be implemented immediately and changes to legislation that will take more time.
The immediate actions requested by the Property Council, include:
removing the requirement for FESA (Fire & Emergency Services Authority) referral of fit-out building work and small construction projects that are accepted by a fire protection engineer,
instructing local governments to accept privately certified permit applications without the need for re-assessment by the council and for councils to apply this process consistently, and
extend the recent Ministerial Order designed to expedite the flow of new home building work to cover non-housing work as well. The Order allows a builder to start work pending approvals for applications lodged after January 1, 2012 and prior to June 30, 2012.
The Property Council has formally requested that the State Government immediately introduce a registration system for fire engineers. This will provide greater accountability if the requirement for FESA referral for fit-out work and small construction jobs is waived.
The Property Council has also called on the State Government to make changes to the Building Act to allow registered private certifiers to issue building permits. Similar legislation exists in NSW, Victoria, QLD and SA. Changes to legislation will require more time and the Property Council will work with the Building Commission on this matter.
We are working closely with the Building Commission and the Minister for Commerce, the Hon Simon O’Brien to resolve these matters urgently. I will report back to you in the next week regarding progress.
Please call me to discuss these matters. I am very interested in how the building permit delays are affecting you.