We all hate paying fees whether it’s ATM fees, parking fees, booking fees or local council fees. We go out of our way and we go without conveniences to avoid paying unnecessary fees.
We pay fees whenever we buy goods or services. When those fees are lumped together and called the ‘price’ we are happy enough to pay them. We become anxious though when a fee is declared up front. Our frustration sky rockets if a fee is discovered after the fact.
You will have to pay fees if you are planning to extend or make structural renovations to an existing dwelling.
You may pay the fees directly to the provider, through your builder or as part of your build quotation/package . . . but they can’t be avoided.
Some building companies include the fees and charges in their quotations and packages. This is easier for project homes. It is more complicated to estimate the fees up front for custom builds, extensions and structural renovations.
Your builder may offer to pay some of these fees to the provider for you. He will probably charge you an additional administration fee for the convenience of this service, so you may prefer to pay the fees yourself whenever possible.
Here is a list of standard fees you are likely to encounter. They are in addition to the cost of construction and are payable prior to commencement of your build.
Architectural or Drafting Fee
Councils require legible and scaled plans to be submitted as part of the Development Application. Builders usually require them for quoting purposes and for reference during construction.
Some clients can draw plans sufficient for these purposes. In most cases you will need to hire an architect or drafts person to do this for you.
Development Application Fee
When you submit a Development Application to your local council you will have to pay a lodgement fee. The application fee may be made up of local council and other state government fees and usually includes a charge for advertising your Development Application.
The DA fee is based on the cost of your build. So, the bigger your build the greater your Development Application fee will be. You can find a list of fees on your council website or you can phone your local council to obtain an estimate.
Other Council Fees
At the time of writing this blog (2017) Wollongong City Council included in their Development Application Consent the Section 94A Levy Contribution. Council charged this levy to help pay for high quality public amenities and services in Wollongong City Council. The Section 94A Levy had to be paid before the Construction Certificate could be issued.
Your local council may require studies to be carried out as part of the Development Application process which means additional fees. Some examples of these studies are a flood study, a heritage study, a geotechnical report, an Aboriginal Impact Assessment, an acoustic report, a visual character report etc.
Certifiers make sure all the necessary paperwork has been collected and that all council requirements are met. They issue the Construction Certificate, carry out construction inspections and issue the final Occupancy Certificate.
Engineers review your plans and provide a report for such things as footings, structural beams etc.
A surveyor may be required to survey your property and peg out the boundaries prior to commencement of works. This ensures that the new structure is located within and at the approved distances from the site boundaries.
Long Service Levy
In NSW any homeowner carrying out building work costing $25,000 (including GST) or more must contribute to the Long Service Levy Fund. This fund is managed by the NSW Government Long Service Corporation. It provides long service benefits to people working in NSW in the building and construction industry.
You must pay the levy prior to commencement of building work. The current levy is 0.35% of the value of the building work. It can be paid online, at local councils or directly to the Long Service Corporation.
You can use the LSC pricing calculator to assist in budgeting for this expense or you can contact the Corporation through their online enquiry form or by phoning 131441 for assistance.
Home Owners Warranty Insurance
You will need to have Home Owners Warranty Insurance if the cost of your build is over $20,000. This insurance covers you against the builder not completing a building contract. It also insures against the builder failing to correct faults during the warranty period.
The premium is calculated on the type of work, the contract value and the post code of works. The NSW government has a pricing calculator to assist you in budgeting for this expense.