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Understanding the words – ‘show cause’ or ‘non-compliance notice’

November 6, 2018

Our Architectural studio has recently seen an increased inquiry from property owners about show cause notices, usually this is accompanied by a sense of panic and concern. 


In simple terms, show cause or a non-compliance notice is a formal notification from your local Council asking you to explain/prove that you have the correct approvals for a structure or renovation. 


It comes about when an inspector flags that what you have on your property is different from Council records.


There are a few ways to protect yourself:


                  When buying a property, always check that any renovations, additions or even the build                         itself have the correct building permits, compliant architectural drawings and engineering                     certificates.


                  Seek professional advice – if in doubt ask for advice.  There are not many things that do                         not require an approval when it comes to building.  Always check first just to be safe.


                  Keep your own records – you never know when that random plan, or piece of paper will be                   asked for.


Notices are usually issued based on a lack of records to show the correct building permits; for example - your building is in a state of disrepair, you have completed works on a character home without the correct approvals or you have had a material change of use for your property. 


It is very difficult to halt the process once the notice has been issued, and often has one of two outcomes:


                 1.     Remove the structure 

                 2.     Back-track through the process to obtain the necessary approvals. 


In short, seek professional advice.  CDA have strong working relationships with Town Planners, Certifiers and Structural Engineers allowing us to tap into these resources to ensure we work towards a positive outcome.  There has been an increase in enquiry for assistance with these notices and the majority of cases so far have been successful with approval, albeit after some form of modification to the existing structure to meet current building codes.


Feel free to give us a call and we can talk through your queries.  Each case is different and we are happy to share our experience and knowledge to assist in alleviating your concerns.


Please also refer to your local Council’s webpage.  They generally have FAQs on what a show cause is, why it was issued, the relevant legislation applicable in your area and how to go about rectifying the situation.

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© 2018 Craig Dinte Architect.

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