Not happy with your recent renovations? Blame the contractor. Sure, you can do that – many people do and sometimes its justified but what if you’d rather avoid that situation altogether? If you want to ensure that your new deck, shed or patio looks fantastic, there are definitely some things that you can do.
A carpenter is paid for their physical skill but also for their knowledge. A qualified carpenter is aware of the laws and regulations regarding renovations and construction. For this reason, people hiring carpenters often feel that there is no particular reason for them to be familiar with any of the laws or regulations relevant to their project.
If you have done your research, then chances are you have contracted the services of a good carpenter, however, there is never any guarantee and if you have hired a random contractor or a “handyman” your risk level may be higher.
Even if you believe that you can trust your carpenter, you should always protect yourself regardless. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) developed the National What Is A Qualified Builder Code (NCC) to incorporate all on-site construction requirements into a single code. You can check the guidelines for your specific renovation or building plans for yourself.
A hardcopy version of the NCC is available at various outlets throughout Australia for viewing. You can check out the locations near you on the ABCB website. You can also view the National Construction Code 2012 by purchasing a 12 Day (for occasional) or 30 Day Monthly (for short-term) web access for under $100 (Prices checked 19th January 2012.) See the end of the article for links.
Another set of guidelines that it is good to be familiar with is the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) in your council area. Depending on the size of your project, your carpenter may have been required to lodge a Development Application (DA). Prior to submitting an application, you should contact your local council to obtain any relevant Development Control Plans (DCP) or guidelines and familiarize yourself with them.
If you see work being undertaken that appears to be in breach of any of these guidelines, you can address the issue before the project goes any further. Show a copy of the NCC, LEP, DA or DCP requirements to your carpenter and tell them you are concerned that the work being done might not meet them.
If you aren’t satisfied with the response you get, phone your local council or the Building Services Authority (BSA) on 1300 272 272 and ask them to do an assessment of the work being carried out.
The BSA is a fantastic organization that actually offers Smart Building and Renovating Presentations. For more information you can call them, or check the link for their website at the end of the article. You can also contact them to find out whether there are any other laws or guidelines not mentioned in this article that you need to be aware of in your State …