After a long wait, with little information from both Metricon and Council, we received the phone call we’d been waiting to get for quite awhile. Council has signed off on the remaining items, and our permanent occupancy certificate is in the mail!
For weeks, we’ve been wondering what big issue we’d be facing next. No info was being communicated from the builder (please work on this in the future, Metricon!) and frankly, we were starting to freak out. After a number of unreturned phone calls to Metricon, we were contacted out of the blue by Blacktown City Council. It wasn’t Metricon that was causing the hold up – it was Council!
The team leader from the inspection team graciously apologized to Megan and explained the radio silence that we were experiencing was due to changes in the way council approves bushfire protection levels. Instead of a flat 1-5 scale for an entire house, a BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) equation is now used, which can return different requirements for different sides of the house. For example, because the front of our house faces away from the bush, the requirements for bushfire protection measures are significantly less than the back of the house.
So what does this mean? It means the remaining bushfire concerns by council are no longer necessary, and likely much of what we had to do while building is now irrelevant. Issues like screening the french doors on the side of the house would have likely been avoided and we wouldn’t have lost the time and money that was invested to get the house past Council. Ahh…red tape. Gotta love it.
So, we’re finished. No need to deal with Council any further, and our $600 bond is on its way back. I’ve heard Blacktown Council is one of the easier organizations to deal with. Really? We’ve pretty much pulled our hair out from day one with them – I can’t imagine how it could get any worse.
What has your experiences been with Council? What areas of Australia have caused the biggest headaches?