ARARAT - In the first quarter of the year Ararat Rural City Council's building department has issued more than $2.5 million in building permits.
In January nine building permits were granted totalling $599,874, in February five permits totalling $819,474, while March's permits dropped in value to $419,727 with six permits issued, jumping up to 11 permits in April totalling $717,140.
Council heard at the May meeting that while over the past reporting period there had been notable fluctuations in domestic building activity, the Alexandra Oval development and some other significant commercial developments and structural fires had consumed staff resources.
Council officers reported that a significant increase in customer enquiries as well as an increase in domestic applications submitted for consideration has occurred and were hopeful this trend would continue and the domestic building activity would stabilize.
Building legislation regulates many aspects of the built environment, with particular emphasis on protecting the life, safety, health and amenity of building occupants, the public and adjoining property.
Local government carries out its community protection role through a range of operational functions, including: Building permits, swimming pool inspection, expired permits, illegal building works, POPE permits and essential safety measure inspections.
The Building Department has undertaken a review of its documentation and procedures and inspection standards adopted in the field. The objective of the review is to achieve a culture of continual improvement in the department efficiency and to reduce council risks in the regulation of the building industry.
This complements the Victorian Building Authority requirement for a greater emphasis on the standard of documentation and preparation for future field and desk top audits.
Council is now planning to conduct training sessions for the local Building Practitioners to convey the higher standards required as well as to brief them on the new National Construction Code which was adopted on May 1.