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Rooming accomodation- conversion to class 1b

Discussion in 'Development' started by Jobeki, 19th May, 2016.

  1. Jobeki

    Jobeki Member

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    Hi guys
    I am really in need of some advice. We are trying to get our house converted from a 1a dwelling to a 1b rooming accomodation so that we can rent out each room when we move out. We would be renting to 5 or less people and our house is less than 300m2. It is a split level house, 2 beds, kitchen, bathroom, dining/lounge and toilet on 1 level and 3 bed, kitchen, toilet and dining/lounge on the top level. They are connected by internal stairs with from and rear acces doors on both levels. The laundry is downstairs and is shared.

    We are trying to get certification as per Rooming accommodation | Brisbane City Council
    https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/sit...ming_accommodation_in_existing_dwellings.docx

    We have installed mains powered interconnected smoke alarms, e lights and are trying to get certification but are running into issues. The first issue is 1 certifier has told us we need to get the toilet/shower downstairs suitable for wheelchair access. Ok, if we have to that's doable although it probably means dropping another $15k and a month or two. Since this is a pre-existing dwelling and we are not renovating the bathroom/toilet would we still need to meet the access requirements?

    A second building inspector says 2 kitchens equals 2 dwellings and no deal it needs to be a class 2 or 3 building it can't be a 1b. This is obviously going to completely blow the budget, become code assessable, town planning etc. I can find nowhere in an official Australian document (NCC, Bca etc not hearsay) stating that a single dwelling cannot have 2 kitchens in fact in the ACT there is
    1. dwelling is defined in the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 as having the following features: at least 1 bath/ shower and 1 toilet; not more than 2 kitchens; and does not have access from another dwelling. The dwelling may have ancillary outbuilding components (such as, for example, a garage)

      I can find no reference elsewhere in Australia although there are people making statements that 2 kitchens are not allowed without referencing where that info is coming from. As far as the NCC all I can see is to be a dwelling you must have
      1. a kitchen sink;
      2. food preparation facilities;
      3. a bath or shower; and
      4. a closet pan and wash basin.

      I can find nothing saying you cannot have more than 1 kitchen sink/food prep area etc. your advice would be greatly appreciated. He also said we wouldn't be insured because we have 2 kitchens and yet going through an insurance calculator (eg. Home Building Calculator

      you can enter either 1 or 2 kitchens! I have had to research and fight everyone tooth and nail with what we did and didn't need to do through all of this as it is a little niche but I'm hoping someone can help us. At this point things are looking like they could fall over! Any advice/references would be greatly appreciated



     
    Last edited: 19th May, 2016
  2. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Why have you engaged two certifiers?

    Just pick one and ask them to refer you to the section the requirements come from.
     
  3. Jobeki

    Jobeki Member

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    We engaged the first one who said that a dwelling cannot have 2 kitchens. He got really shirty when I asked for a reference and simply said that 2 kitchens equals 2 dwellings i.e. Class 2 or 3 but would not provide a reference. All he said was that he hadn't done years of higher education to give away his knowledge to me. We had already paid a deposit at that stage and formally engaged them btw.

    Because we were obviously not on the same page and questioning him further was just likely to inflame matters more we disengaged him. Thus being once bitten twice shy I have been in correspondence with a second building certifier without having engaged them yet. After the first attempt, before dropping a $2000 deposit I want to make sure that what we want to do is actually feasible and not cost prohibitive or needs to be class 2 or 3 as that just isn't going to happen.
     
  4. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Just go and talk to Council.

    I would also complain about the first Certifier to his licensing body. You were paying for his knowledge!

    Did he know you were intending a rooming house?

    Perhaps block off the internal stairs and rent out as two units?
     
  5. Jobeki

    Jobeki Member

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    I guess we were trying to do this above board. If we block the internal stairs and rented as 2 units technically I think that would be a class 2 building meaning Fire seperation, code assessment etc and we are not willing to go there as it would mean a lot of money and structural work to comply (as far as I understand).

    From councils perspective we meet all the criteria they have set out for rooming accomodation in their fact sheet and for self assessment but we need a building certifier to sign off. It would appear that there is a lot more stipulations in the building codes than what is listed in the BCC rooming accomodation fact sheet :S
     
  6. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    Hi
    BCC hates your sort of setup, they are changing the code later in the year so you need to get approval asap.

    Different people interpret things different ways, the certifier would only be acting on advice from a planner, lawyer or someone else.
    We have been through multiple court actions on these, have been dealing with them for 4 years and had more than 20 approved that have multiple kitchens.
    Usually we charge $7,500 plus GST in total including the certifier fees and the modifications. Given the modifications are handled by you then $5,00 plus GST would cover it.
     
    nganx2 likes this.
  7. Jobeki

    Jobeki Member

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    Hi RPI
    I assume you mean 5000 + gst ;). Not sure if that includes plans being drawn up but we have already had a draftsmen do those if that helps. How much deposit would we need?? I think my wife and I are happy to pay that and get it through but we are also reluctant to lay down a big deposit and find it is not feasible and lose the deposit. I guess in essence we would be happy to pay an initial fee to tell us our plan is very likely feasible without structural work to the house and if that is the case proceed from there or cut our losses if there is simply too many problems.
     
  8. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    In QLD can't you get a Council Certifier?
     
  9. Jobeki

    Jobeki Member

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    I don't think so Joynz not at BCC anyway as far as I can tell it is independently assessed and then ultimately requires council approval if it is code assessable. Ours is self assessable which means if a building certifier signs off on it then we are good to go and it just needs to be lodged with council not reviewed by council. This is my understanding at least.

    . RPI the other thing I meant to ask is in your experience has disability accessible bathrooms been required to get things signed off with the ones you have got through?
     
  10. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    Hi
    The fees are for the certifiers fees, and our fees. The certifier alone is $2500. Happy to have an initial look without charge. Just PM me the address at first insance. There are exemptions available from the accessibility provisions.

    Do you have the original approvals for the property built as a house? Was the second kitchen put in later or built as part of the approval. You may need plumbing form 16 on top if the former.
     
  11. Nicole Robinson

    Nicole Robinson New Member

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    Hi Jobeki, I came across this page the other day and I can absolutely feel your frustration. I am looking into the same thing for a house in the Brisbane area.
    I have the print out from council and from what I can see, a Building Certifier should approve our rental property as a Class 1b with a few modifications which we are prepared to do, but like you, we dont want to throw $$$$ at it only to find out that we cant have this approved.

    Would you mind letting me know how it has turned out for you? Have you had your place approved? Really hoping to hear from you as I need to decide which way to go ! Thanks Nic
     
  12. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    Hi Nicole

    PM me the address. I am happy to give you an initial view on prospects.
     
  13. Nicole Robinson

    Nicole Robinson New Member

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  14. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    Hi Nicole

    Send me a private message with the address if you would like an overview.