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The Day Councils Finally Woke Up to the Oldest Trick in the Book!

building costs, wake up

It was about time councils woke up!

For developers, it used to be the oldest trick in the book. That is, lie to the councils across Sydney about the cost of their proposed development.

You see, nearly all councils in Sydney and NSW base their Development Application fees on how much the building under question will cost to construct.

When I started as a Quantity Surveyor, nearly 20 years ago, it was very common (not surprisingly) for developers to tell the odd porkie pie and under-represent the estimated cost of their building.

Back then there was no one quantifying these costs and councils must have lost bucket loads in unclaimed fees payable.

Then a couple of years ago, something changed.

Developers started coming to us with forms that needed to be filled in for a Section 94A certificate.

A section 94A certificate is basically a form that needs to be independently signed off – where the work is estimated to be over $500,000.

This form needs to be completed by a registered Quantity Surveyor.

Not only does this form need to be filled in independently, but some councils have a panel of Quantity Surveyors that oversee the independent Quantity Surveyors sign-off.

I know this through first hand experience with Sydney City Council. We were locked in a heated debate arguing the costs of a particular development as submitted by us – versus the costs estimated by the Quantity Surveyor representing the Council.

We settled at mid point.

Washington Brown specialises in preparing these building cost estimates for council – so contact us if you need any help.


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