Under most State planning laws, locals Councils are required to notify neighbours and owners of other nearby properties that may be impacted by the construction of your home addition. These owners are given a certain period of time, call the Notification Period, in which to lodge any objection to the plans that have been lodged with the Development Application.
Objections can range from worries about the construction process (noise, traffic, etc), concerns about loss of privacy, loss of views, overshadowing, etc. Councils may have objections of their own � these are not dealt with here.
Delays due to objections, whether upheld or not, can be time consuming and costly. It is important therefore to be proactive with your neighbours � communicate your intentions to them, look at it from their point of view and be prepared to modify your design before lodgement where their concerns are reasonable. Being proactive in addressing neighbour concerns before they are notified of your Development Application by Council can save a great deal of time in having your plans approved. There are 3 main aspects to consider here.
1. Communicate � Sound out your neighbours about your home extension plans before the plans are finalised and lodged to Council. It may be that your neighbours have no concerns, or many concerns. Try to think about it from their perspective. If you do not know your neighbour, or even if you have had a negative history, talking about it at this point at the very least gets you forewarned.
2. Compromise � Where possible, find a compromise solution that meets your neighbours concerns without negatively impacting on your own needs. If privacy issues are justified, consider adding privacy screens. Explain to your neighbour what you are doing. It may not meet their full demands, but your neighbour will appreciate your efforts to meet their requirements and it may prevent them objecting.
3. Contend � When your DA submission is being prepared, note all of the compromises you have made to address potential neighbour concerns. If you are expecting your neighbours to complain, have a strategy already in place to deal with the problem.
Involving experts in the process can often avoid many of the hassles and costs involved in dealing with neighbour objections. Before engaging an �expert�, however, check his or her credentials, including:
* Understanding of Planning Laws and experience with your Council’s specific requirements
* Practical knowledge of cost-effective ways to design and build, including alternative options available should objections need to be dealt with