Blog - Retrospective engineering. Is it worth it?

Some home owners wishing to make alterations or additions to their home avoid getting council approval. Many reason that because they must engage a range of professionals, it would be more cost effective to engage only a carpenter/builder to construct the works as they see fit. Once the project is complete, the owner may intend to engage an engineer to certify that the new construction is safe, or simply just rely upon the ability of the tradesman.

Many do not realise that a Development Application is required for any structural alterations whether inside or outside the home. Refer to our blog> Demystifying DA’s.

Does the above approach really save you time and money? Or is it a recipe for trouble down the track?

Consider the advantages:

  • Short - term saving
  • Short - term time saving
Consider the disadvantages:

  • The safety of the structure is potentially compromised
  • It is against the law
  • Building functionality is potentially compromised
  • It will cost you more time to get approval through council as a retrospective building certificate
  • Engaging an engineer willing to certify your constructed project is challenging
  • The engineer willing to certify your project may require modifications to your structure
  • Your project may need to be demolished and rebuilt to local standard
  • It is likely to cost you more long term
  • Selling the property can be a problem. During the conveyance of a property, the mismatch of what is existing and what is on land council plans become obvious 
  • When a Council becomes aware of an addition or alteration undertaken without consent, they normally send inspectors to assess the structure and determine if it needs to be demolished or not

In summary, there is no advantage to bypassing council approval before altering or extending your house. Retrospective engineering approval can be a taxing experience. It can cause more trouble than what it is worth. In the long term, it is easier to go through the approved steps by council, costing you less time and money, with full assurance that your building is safe and complies with respected building practices.