VIC Minor work order on dwelling without certificate of occupancy

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eric kendall

Active Member
8 September 2015
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Hi guys, we've been living on our property now for over 30 years. I built it as an owner builder and everything at the time was complaint with the Victorian Building Regulations. I never got a certificate of occupancy on the property and a couple of months ago I was contacted by the council and they wanted to come for an inspection. They did this and issued "minor work orders" to bring balustrades on stairs and landings up to current regs.
I just have 2 questions regarding this.
1. Do I have to comply with this order or are they just trying to bully be?
2. Do they have a legal right to enter our house for an inspection after the work is supposedly done?
Thanks for any feedback.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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2,894
1. I don't know if they should use 30 year old regs, or current regs.
2. Yes, if you are getting a permit, otherwise they need to have a warrant. Cooperation is normally better.
 

eric kendall

Active Member
8 September 2015
12
0
31
Thanks Rod, sorry for the late reply. This situation has escalated somewhat from the original post. The council came out again for an inspection, but weren't happy with the compliance and told us we have 7 days to vacate the upper floor. We have to remove all clothing and bedding, and have no evidence of us going up stairs. They also want us to put a sign at the bottom of the stairs warning of danger. This to us is just absurd. It's not a safety issue as far as we are concerned. Apparently if we don't comply they will take it to the Magistrates court. Talk about a nanny state. We will keep them humored for their inspection. What are the consequences with all this? Apparently if we were squatters in the property they could not touch us. Is this true? Thanks.
 
Last edited:

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
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Sydney
Hi Eric,
In response to your original questions:
1. Per their FY18-19 Financial Report (latest available as at today), Cardinia Shire Council has $1.7B in assets, generated $217M revenue with a $97M profit. If the minor works orders are not too onerous, I suggest to complete them and move on. If you disagree, I understand that you can appeal to the Building Appeals Board (the current starting fee to appeal a building order is $341.22).
2. Yes, Cardinia Shire Council, as municipal building surveyor, has the powers of entry to inspect and issue orders as to building works (including minor works orders and works orders). See also BUILDING ACT 1993 - SECT 113 Building orders—minor work

If you wanted to dig deeper:
1. Which LGA/Council were you when the building works were performed? Based on your 30 year timing, I assume it was pre-Premier Kennett's 1994 LGA/Council reforms - Shire of Cardinia - Wikipedia.
2. Do you know what the LGA/Council requirements were at the time that you performed the (I assume owner/builder?) building works?
3. Was the Building Act 1993 (Vic) which (mostly) started on 14 December 1993 after your building works were completed? If yes, I assume the building works were performed under the Building Control Act 1981 (Vic)?

All the best.
 

eric kendall

Active Member
8 September 2015
12
0
31
Thanks John for all that info. They just seem to be like a dog with a bone for such a small trivial matter. Pathetic really. Such a nanny state.
The original building work was done under Sherbrooke Shire. Yes, pre 1994. I have stamped plans with the specs and also a passed framing inspection slip from that time. I'm assuming the framing inspection covered the outside balustrades, not sure.
 

eric kendall

Active Member
8 September 2015
12
0
31
Hello John, we have decided to let them take us to court. I'm wondering if you can direct me to where I can find similar cases and their outcomes. Is there a date base somewhere that I can access for reference? Thanks. Also, what's the worst case scenario with the court proceedings ?
Thanks again.