NSW Government reduces the approval costs for new home builders in bushfire-prone areas

Building a home on land in a designated bushfire-prone area comes with additional requirements and costs, but in an effort to make building in these areas for new home builders more affordable the NSW Government have made new arrangements for approvals in bushfire-prone areas.   In implementing these changes, safety is still the paramount consideration for where and how homes are being built, but they have made it simpler and more affordable to build in these areas by removing duplication in the approval process. The saving on approvals for the average new build home will be approximately $800 under the new arrangements.

The predominant change for new builds is in the area of assessment of the site. Previously an assessment would need to be arranged by the new home builder to comply with the approvals process, even if the subdivision where the building is taking place had been previously assessed by the Rural Fire Service (RFS) for a bushfire risk assessment. This additional assessment (duplication) has been removed, saving on average $800 on the new build approval process in the cost of building a new home.

To be eligible to make this saving on the building cost of a new home in a bushfire-prone area there are particular guidelines that need to be met;

+      The land the home is being built on is not at a high risk of bushfire

+      The RFS has given a Bushfire Safety Authority, that being an approval that allows building in a bushfire-prone area. The main change for this is it will indicate the bushfire attack levels and conditions that must be met by future homes that may be built in that area within the plan

+      An official RFS (or qualified consultant) issued Post-Subdivision Bushfire Attack Level certificate

+      The Local Council, or authority in charge of approving the new home, is reasonably satisfied the planned building has complied with the building conditions as outlined by the RFS

These changes will make a difference for new build home owners, while it only represents a small amount of money in the overall cost of a new build, those who have built a new home know all the small amounts add up to a large overall cost, so any saving in the process is an important saving and helps to get them into their new home quicker. This change only applies to homes being built in bushfire-prone areas, and so only applies to land in urban release areas in 40 local government areas.   Homes being built in existing subdivisions in bushfire-prone areas will not be affected.

For more information about these changes and whether they affect you this can be found on the NSW Department of Planning & Planning website.