Builders will be charged up to $400 to work on council land, under a permit fee brought in on January 1, according to a report on the Central West Daily.
Orange City Council introduced the permit to prevent damage to council-owned road reserves, which takes in the area from the front fence of a house to the front fence of the house across the street, including footpaths, nature strips and roadways.
Builders will be charged $350 and undergo two site inspections for minor developments such as houses and charged $400 and have three site inspections for industrial, commercial and other major developments.
“Over the years, the council has spent a lot of money constructing its network of roads, kerbs and gutters, underground stormwater drains and footpaths,” councillor Russell Turner told the Central West Daily.
They will be charged $750 plus inspection fees if construction work begins without a permit and will be asked to pay a security bond, which will be decided based on the scale of their development.
The new permit system will be part of the Development Application process for all new developments.
“The permit has been introduced to provide insurance against situations where there’s potential damage to a road or footpath, such as when a builder is replacing a driveway, or underground communications cables are being installed,” said a council spokesperson.
According to Turner, it is about protecting existing roads and footpaths, as well as making sure any new construction work happens safely and complies with existing infrastructure.
“Over the years, the council has spent a lot of money constructing its network of roads, kerbs and gutters, underground stormwater drains and footpaths,” Turner added.
“When someone comes along and wants to build a new driveway or install new drainage, it’s important to protect the assets that are already in place, and to make sure any new driveway is built to match with the plans for a new footpath that mightn’t have been built yet.
“The new approach will also sort out the potential problem of insurance if there’s an accident. Because the work is happening on a council-owned road reserve, the council could potentially be liable if there was an on-site accident.
“The process of a builder getting approval to do the work will include arrangements for indemnifying the council for public liability cover.”
Council wrote letters to local builders in November to outline the changes, which came into effect this year.