Permit fee hampers flood recovery

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto and Idalia man Rob McCahill are calling for the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to waive the owner builder permit fee for repairs to homes damaged by natural disasters.

RESIDENTS applying for an owner builder permit to repair their homes after a natural disaster should not have to be slugged with its excessive cost, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said waiving the $415 permit fee in areas hit by natural disasters would help lessen the financial impact suffered by residents who opt to go down the owner builder path when organising repairs to their home.

“It’s hard enough being confronted with your own home nearly destroyed by a natural disaster, let alone the cost of repairs,” he said.

“We acknowledge that both the State and Federal governments have provided significant financial support to those affected by North Queensland’s recent floods, but the waiving of this permit fee would certainly help reduce the financial strain on residents looking to go owner builder.”

Idalia man Rob McCahill, whose home was significantly damaged by flooding, admitted he was surprised at the cost of the permit when he applied for one recently through the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

“I was always aware of it but I didn’t realise it had gone up so much. It’s understandable for a new build when you are essentially doing away with a builder but in the case of a natural disaster, you are not doing the building for any financial gain but just to make good what was there before,” he said.

“I intend to engage all the tradespeople myself and do some of the simpler work myself and the law states if the total fee that a builder would charge for building work is more than $11,000 you must have an owner builder permit.”

Those applying for the permit are also required to complete an owner builder course unless they qualify for an exemption under of one of several construction-related categories.

Mr McCahill has 20 years experience in the civil construction industry and has managed the construction of roads, dams, bridges and a coal mine. His home requires electrical rewiring, relaying flooring, re-sheeting walls, new doors and cabinetry and painting to bring it back up to standard.

“From reading comments on social media, I believe many people are either ignorant of this law or are deliberately flouting it,” he said.

“I understand that QBCC are enforcing the regulations to ensure there are no dodgy rebuilds after these floods. If the licence was free for owner-builders rebuilding from a natural disaster, there would be no excuse for not being licensed.”

Mr Dametto said he would be writing to State Housing Minister Mick de Brenni requesting the owner builder permit fee be waived for those whose homes have been damaged in natural disasters.

“If there’s an opportunity to lessen the financial strain on people like Rob in rebuilding their homes after such an unprecedented disaster, then the government should strongly consider waiving this fee,” he said.

Nick Dametto MP