Council Approval issues

Hey all, just a quick update on the whole process. Blacktown Council is taking a lot longer than we had anticipated. Today, we found out why.

After speaking with our customer service manager with Metricon, we discovered they had received a RFI (request for information) regarding the bushfire protection measures that we’ve got in place. Some of the requests are straight forward, while some may prove not to be…

Through speaking with the Blacktown approval department and the RFI that was sent to Metricon, we became aware of the fact that Blacktown was requesting all the bushfire protection details that were required for a Level 1 bushfire zone to be added to our house plans. No troubles – seemed pretty straight forward. What’s not so straight forward is the issue that Blacktown Council has with our bi-fold doors.

Because we’re within 100m of bush (Level 1 Zone), we’ve been told (through a phone call to the Rural Bushfire Service) that external ground doors (bi-fold or otherwise) may require any of the following, and it’s entirely up to your council:

  • Aluminum doors
  • Aluminum fly screens
  • Door seals to protect against embers
  • High heat flux rating

I must admit – I’m not happy. Apparently these are standard bushfire protection measures and not at all out of the ordinary, but to us, it seems as if it is. Metricon supposedly did their research about what was required for our bushfire protection measures. After all, we already spent $5,000 for other measures such as gutter guards, weep hole covers and more.

bifold doorsSo why wasn’t this picked up? We paid around $16,000 for the two bi-fold AND to delete the adjoining pillar so the entire room opens up seamlessly to the outdoor room. If we’re required to add flyscreens we would require the adjoining pillar. If we require aluminum doors, it alters the entire look of the house (all other doors are dark oak stained timber). The last two options however, are completely reasonable, but wouldn’t you think these measures would already be included – especially at the price we paid?

The last option – high heat flux rating, means that the wood must be resistant to heat (AKA it doesn’t perform like a match). I suppose I just assumed that this was a standard issue window. Maybe it is – but if it isn’t, why should I have to pay extra for this, especially when the builder is already aware we’re building in a bushfire prone area.

But that’s just me.

We picked the Metricon Liberty for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest draws was the way the main living room could open up seemlessly into the outdoor room. If that must be changed or it will cost significantly more to get what we have been promised, it significantly changes the way I feel about the home, and needless to say, I won’t be pleased.

While it’s not entirely up to our builder, I would hope the Blacktown Council developer approval department and Metricon make it happen for us. Whatever the decision is, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Until then…

About Megan

Comments

  1. maja says:

    Aarg!

  2. Megan says:

    I keep hearing people tell me that building a house is a tough endeavor. I think this is just our first hiccup/hurdle and we will find a way to work through it.

    For anyone in a similar situation there is a 4 page document on the RFS website that outlines what you need to provide to not require screens on bi-fold doors. It refers to the Radiant Heat Flux compliance. So I called the RFS to determine how you know what this rating is. They guided me to a calculator on their website that determines what this is.

    In our case it was 6.34kW/m2 which I believe is quite low considering special bushfire safe doors are resistant up to 40kW/m2. We are waiting to hear back from the door manufacturer to determine if they have tested the doors to see if we can use a report they have already got, otherwise it looks like we need to get a bushfire consultant to put a report together to prove the doors adhere to the specifications to keep the house as we intended it to be. We’ll keep you posted.

  3. Amanda says:

    Hey guys – there are special bushfire designed timber-look doors from Trend Windows – might be worth looking into.

    You’re pretty lucky to be Level 1 – we’re 2 doors up the street and Level 3 :)

  4. Kriss says:

    That sounds very frustrating, and potentially heartbreaking given the feature being most challenged is just about your most favorite house feature! Hang in there.
    Kriss

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  1. […] were completed as well. While they all look fantastic, the bifolds just really pop. They better – after all the trouble we went through getting them approved by council. They look fantastic and I look forward to having an outdoor room that these open out onto on a […]

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