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Certificate of Occupancy Debacle

By cruiseb - 18 August 2012 3

I understand that the following scenario is quite common when it comes to selling your home. That is, that you discover that a certificate of occupancy was not issued for a building extension (in our case for work completed in 2001) and that you have been living in the house with an unapproved extension for more that 10 years.

I know (now that I have been through this experience) that we should not have paid the final installment to the builder back in 2001 until we received the C of O but we trusted the builder when he told us the paperwork was submitted. You live . . You learn.

We have since learnt that the builder was at war with his sub contractors (plumber & sparky over money) and all parties blame each other for not submitting the paperwork.

Yes we had to pay to have the work inspected so a C of O could be issued, so we could sell the house.

Why is there no follow up from the relevant building approval department of the ACT Government. It would seem to be quite a simple thing to send out a follow up notice to let the home owner know that the building application they submitted has incomplete action.

We had no idea we were living in an unapproved building extension with no final plumbing and electrical for 10 years.

What’s Your opinion?


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3 Responses to
Certificate of Occupancy Debacle
Pyjamas 1:49 pm 02 Jul 15

Hi Cruiseb,

Can you let me know how long will it take you to get O of C ?
I made a big mistake by bought a house without O of C in Canberra so can you let me know what happened please??

pandaman 8:28 pm 19 Aug 12

Sooo, what you’re saying is, you made a mistake in paying the builder his final installment before receiving the certificate of occupancy, and then you failed to chase him up for it? Sounds to me like he’s a slightly dodgy bastard, but dude, you’ve gotta take a little bit of responsibility for these things. That certificate of occupancy is an important document for you, you should have made more effort to ensure you had it, so my advice is to take the experience and learn from it.

I agree in principle that more effort should be put into regulating the building industry, but from my perspective I’d like to see that any extra resources are put into making sure that builders are complying with basic OH&S, building code and industrial relations legal requirements.

Good on you for putting it out there though. There is significant dodginess in the building industry, and I’m a fan of anyone raising awareness of it it.

LSWCHP 4:44 pm 19 Aug 12

Well, at least you had a house to live in. I know two couples with children who have started down the house building road, only to have the builders go bust. One couple has spent two years bleeding money in a rental waiting for the catastrophe to be resolved.

I’ve been through the house-building process once, and I’d never do it ever again.

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