|22 May 2019
Wattle Range Council will be actively targeting people illegally living in unapproved sheds, shipping containers and other structures over the coming months after a spike of complaints and a noticeable increase in people engaging in this behaviour.
Director Development Services, Steve Chapple stated that sheds and shipping containers do not meet required National Construction Code (NCC) standards for a habitable building. “These codes are about keeping people safe, ensuring energy efficiency, providing a healthy environment and ensuring structural integrity.”
Mr Chapple said people are placing themselves at risk from fire, flooding and health issues due to a lack of drainage, ventilation, sanitation, insulation, light and mould.
“Shipping containers can be a real health hazard. Most people don’t know the history of the container. It could have been used to store chemicals, fertilizers or dangerous substances or have failed a structural test.”
Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Ben Gower said both the Council and the community have to make a stand after repeated complaints and incidents of people living in unapproved structures. “Council will be using its powers to inspect premises and discuss the potential ramifications of occupying these structures with the owners and occupants, which could include either a fine and or their removal.”
“Council can no longer continue to take a ‘soft’ approach with this issue, especially with repeat offenders,” said Mr Gower.
Wattle Range Council will consider granting approval for the habitation of a shed or shipping container on a short-term basis, however there are some strict conditions that must be met.
Anyone wanting to permanently live in a shed or shipping container must seek development approval and convert the structure to the same NCC standards and planning rules that apply to a dwelling. Mr. Chapple said this can be quite an expensive process and many people have realised that the conversion is not as affordable as people anticipated.
People may come also unstuck if they are illegally living in a structure and they need to make an insurance claim. It is becoming a more common practice for insurance companies to contact Council to request evidence of development approval to be living in a shed or shipping container.
He went on to encourage anyone currently living in an unapproved structure to contact Council to discuss their situation.
For further information please contact:
Steve Chapple, Director Development Services
Telephone: (08) 8733 0900