Council Approval Issues, Part Deux

Christmas room (Sitting room)

If you’ve been following our blog from the beginning, you’ll be well and truly familiar with our initial council approval issues that surrounded our bifold door installation and finding an appropriate way for them to meet the harsh bushfire restrictions that are in place for our lot.

Unfortunately, it appears that this problem is set to rear its ugly head once again. But this time…it’s as the build process comes to a close.

Despite having council approval to move forward with the build, there’s a nice little box of fine print text on the plans that state, “All exterior hinged doors and windows must be screened in accordance with bushfire standards.” Of course, since we’re in a level 1 bushfire area, this means aluminium mesh.

Before going any further, it’s worth noting that this was something that we were going to do in the first place – at least for all windows and doors that are able to be screened appropriately. Where things went south is when we started looking at our French Doors (both downstairs and up on our veranda), and our front Pivot Door. The French doors open outward, and cannot be screened with a proper bushfire resistant material. We contacted a number of screen installers and all stated the only available options were retractable screens. Of course, this meant using a nylon mesh – not bushfire compliant.

So what were we to do?

Because our plans were approved with the intention of having aluminum mesh on all external doors and windows, we find ourselves in a predicament. The French doors are in (and look damn good), but are unable to be screened as council has requested. Our customer service manager at Metricon is currently working with Council to try and come to a reasonable resolution but unfortunately nothing has been resolved as of yet. Handover is quickly approaching and this could end badly. Will we be able to get an exception request to these doors or will we have to come up with an alternative solution – something that is likely to be really expensive?

We’re still waiting to hear back from council and Metricon on a resolution, so cross your fingers.

About Stefan
Stefan is the regular writer for Megan & Stefan, and hails originally from San Diego, California. A resident of Australia since 2007, he write about his experiences living abroad, his love of photography, and documenting the process of building a house here in this sunburnt country he calls home. Feel free to drop him a line - he's always up for a chat.


  1. Kriss says:

    This is so frustrating! I am frustrated for you guys, I mean.

    I assume your builder’s plans showed these were french doors that opened outward? So, doesn’t council have some legal responsibility to read, think about, and approve the plans and stick to their approval? I mean isn’t the point of a council that they know the code where you can’t possibly know it all? To protect you?

    Anyhow, is it even an option to have the doors open inward (albeit a likely expensive, less functional, frustrating option)?

    I hope your builder is able to convince them the current plans are safe and well, legally unchangeable.

    Thinking of you both.

  2. Lauren says:

    It is so hard to believe that with the problems you had, that it is still not something that Metricon hadn’t picked up.

    By hinged, I assume they mean doors that open out, so your bi-fold doors are safe?

    If I remember rightly, we were required to change our front pivot door to Merbeau because of the bushfire safety issue… but the fly screen issue never occurred to me… I think we’ll be looking at that a little more closely given your dilemma.

    I actually called Metricon a couple of weeks ago because I couldn’t see where the screens for our house had been included in our variations from the colour selection day. They were in there and I had just missed them – but I was told that if the Council requires screens, it is Metricon’s policy to do them because there have in the past been dramas with having them done after handover – so it begs the question, if it is something they require, surely it would have been looked at closely enough to realise that this would be a problem??

    Good luck, we’ll be watching the blog for progress.

  3. Stefan says:

    I don’t see this so much as Metricon’s problem as it is Councils. Indeed hinged means anything that is external and would open (in or out apparently), but the bifolds too fell into this category. What made them exempt was that we upgraded them to Merbau, at a very significant cost.

    We’ve taken fly screens out of our contract, but were intending on doing them after handover – hopefully that will still be the case. I must admit – it appears Metricon is doing everything they can to fight this issue. They’ve been working with an independent bushfire consultant who agrees that this request by Council is absurd and that a DA stamped set of plans is a legal document – it’s something they should have brought up before approving the plans if they felt it was going to be an issue.

    I guess we’ll wait and see.

  4. Lauren says:

    I see what you mean now… were the plans stamped by Council saying that all exterior hinged doors needed to be screened, or is that something that was on the plans that Metricon prepared and submitted to the Council?

  5. Stefan says:

    This was all part of the original plans that were submitted to Council – all before the build process started!

  6. Shayne says:

    Oh no! Not the bushfire regs and doors again – I cant imagine how frustrating that must be for you both!

    I hope Metricon can come up with a solution given you have already upgraded the doors at such expense. Councils can be so difficult!!

  7. Shayne says:

    Hey guys,

    This turned up in my inbox today – interesting, I had no idea they could do bi-fold screens. Not sure it will be of any help to you at all but maybe worth a look.

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