Trigger warning:

This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Mar 29, 2011

Support for illegal building.

An article in the ABC online news drew my attention to a building company that says illegal dwellings are a logical solution to the housing shortage and appear to be doing something about it. This is quite reasonable to me.

Business owner Graeme Kolpus has taken out a large ad on the back page of a local newspaper promoting illegal building. The ad promises to keep secrets safe from authorities and offers to provide recycled materials for unapproved dwellings in the Byron Shire and beyond.

Mr Kolpus says he provides a service in terms of affordable housing.

"We find a lot of people that we deal with, are building either cabins or doing garage fitouts to help them with their mortgage," he said. "If it wasn't for things like that, renting out extra rooms or cabins, they would be on the street in the renting circle. …

"If the compliance officers want to come around for a cuddle and a chat I mean they won't get much out of us, we don't dob anyone in. I mean we've been helping people build affordably for quite some time so I think we're one step ahead of everyone who's talking about it," Mr Kolpus said.
As the item pointed to the NSW North Coast I did a bit of a search to try to find the relevant item in order to assess it but had no luck. I was able to find another item from what appears to be a real estate guy from Byron Bay, who seems to have an idea of the root cause and is realistic about it.
Our council is a great supporter of low cost housing but its action do not show this. It is the only one (or one of a few) councils in the whole state that is insisting on charging up to $25,000 council contribution for the extra dwelling. Of course, everyone is just going to do what has always been done which is make an extension under the house or out the back and add an illegal kitchen later.
Would be so much better to be able to have it legal with all the benefits that includes but that extra fee is too prohibitive. The BSC is currently considering coming in line with other councils. So now is the time to lobby council to drop the Section 94 contributions. …
While we are on the subject of illegal grannies (the backyard dwellings, not the elderly ladies on motor bikes) we have the problem of the insurance. If you have an illegal dwelling and your house burns down because of an unapproved cooking appliance then it may be possible for your insurer to renege on coughing up.
Which brings me to another wider problem of home insurance in this area. My experience is that a large number of dwellings here do not have a Section 109 Occupation (or Final) Certificate. Or maybe some parts of the home are not legal. … Some insurers will not pay up in these circumstances.
I am in contact with some good local insurance brokers and if you have any questions, contact me and I will refer you on.
This is a typical example of petty regulation creating difficulties for the average guy. With a $25,000 fee the council is really asking for most of the cost of building the bloody thing just to get approval to get Granny housed where the family can keep an eye on her. Some will argue that rental of such a building is a commercial activity which is irrelevant.

I recall some time ago, Palin was criticized for not agreeing to building codes in Wasilla when she was Mayor. She made the point that for any project to get finance it would need insurance, and no insurance company would cover a sub standard building. There was no point therefore in going to the expense of creating building codes and employing inspectors when the insurance would do it at no expense to the rate payer.


  1. "...councils in the whole state that is insisting on charging up to $25,000 council contribution for the extra dwelling."

    Maybe it's just one of those little nuances of the English language between usage in different areas, but here a "contribution" is usually seen as a voluntary donation, as to a charity. When I see the council demanding you "contribute" $25,000 to do what you want to with your own property under threat of legal action, other more appropriate words spring to my mind...extortion, graft, blood money, ransom, blackmail, fleece, swindle...

  2. noticed that Bawb but you know how it is, if you pick them up on even 25% of the crap they go on with you exceed your band width.

    This council as I understand it are Greens and their understanding of basic terminology is extremely limited.

  3. "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, "It means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

    Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty would have fitted in just fine in Canberra. (Or Westminster or Capitol Hill etc etc.) With that attitude I'm sure the ALP would ahve mean all over him. (Or the Greens or the Liberals etc etc.)

    Incidentally, something I read a few weeks ago suggested that the housing shortage, at least in Melbourne, is bullshit. I can't recall exactly where I read it or the sources cited but the claim was that the reason people think there's a housing shortage is that property spruikers (great Aussie word, that) keep saying there is, and that in reality there are actually more vacant houses in Melbourne than there are homeless. I'll have to see if I can find where I saw it.

  4. Hell Angry, I can't believe there is such an appropriate quote out there and I have never seen it before. I will save that one.

    The housing shortage thing wouldn't surprise me, given that with the low interest rates and the 'encouragement' given to the building industry over the year, if there were in fact a surplus. Its happened everywhere else.

  5. There's quite a bit in Alice in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass that's applicable to politicians. Come to think of it that holds for a lot of nonsense literature. Says a great deal about modern politics, doesn't it?

  6. I notice that the Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass thing is a popular theme for cartoonists to illustrate the current US administration, so it seems reasonable not to doubt you on this.

    From memory the books were about some pretty crazy occurrences, so government should fit in fairly nicely there.