$1300 toilet bill hard to accept

'Dont flush your money away'

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 22/03/2014
Barbara Collett
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

NOT SO FLUSH NOW: Barbara Collett is warning homeowners to ensure they have the required consents before carrying out building work.

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Not seeking out the right advice before having a new toilet put in has cost a Temuka woman, and now she is urging others not to flush their money away.

Two years after installing an additional toilet in her house, Barbara Collett faces a $1305 bill for a Certificate of Acceptance, instead of $460 for a building consent.

"I just don't want anyone else to have to pay this huge amount," Mrs Collett said.

The toilet was installed in her ensuite, a bathroom that was built in 1987 as part of the original house.

Mrs Collett enlisted a plumber, and a builder, and asked both if she needed to get a consent.

"The plumber said it wasn't his job, the builder told me you just get it done after the work is completed. I was sick at the time, and didn't have the energy to chase everything around," she said.

Mrs Collett said she understood she should have obtained the consent to begin with, and it was her fault, but she thought the cost might have been an extra one or two hundred dollars.

"I just think it's a bit on the nose to have to pay this much more," she said.

The New Zealand Building Code states building without a consent where one is required is an offence that could result in fines and possibly the removal of the building work. The code goes on to say additional toilets always require a consent.

Timaru District Council building control manager Grant Hyde said at the end of the day the owner was responsible for all building work completed on their property.

"Absolutely it is going to cost more to get a Certificate of Acceptance.

"It is illegal in New Zealand to build without a consent where it is required, and the building code allows for us to charge more," Mr Hyde said. The council was not taking advantage of the situation as the fees for the consent and certificates of acceptance are in line with the rest of the country, he said.

However, he said contractors also have responsibilities when carrying out building work, including notifying council for any work that requires a consent, as it is a legal requirement to have the consent before the work is begun.

"The builder is the professional. They should have been giving the right professional advice to the owner," he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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