Ian Petersen.
Ian Petersen.

Building downturn reaches Gympie

QUEENSLAND’S building industry slow-down has finally caught up with the Gympie Region, according to a report to yesterday’s meeting of Gympie Regional Council’s Planning and Development Committee.

It was a trend which may give council the opportunity to address another concern raised at the meeting – the proper supervision of private certifiers.

Cr Ian Petersen referred to the recent interstate case of a relatively new unit block which had to be condemned, despite certifier approval, after it was found to be an engineering death-trap, forcing the eviction of residents.

He was responding to Cr Graham Engeman, who raised concerns about one Rainbow Beach situation, involving private certification of a building which did not conform to council boundary requirements.

“We’ve seen a lot of privately certified buildings with the wrong setbacks,” Cr Engeman said.

Cr Petersen said the interstate unit block case was a good example of the dangers.

“They were privately certified and they’re a death trap,” he said.

The meeting heard building applications in the Gympie region were down, after years of growth in defiance of the statewide trend.

“It’s the first time they’ve been down for quite a long time, but it seems to be in line with the rest of Queensland,” Cr Petersen said.

“They’ve been quoting reduced rates of building approval for quite a long time (elsewhere). We’ve been bucking the trend, but now we’re in it.”

But, downturn or not, the value of building approvals in the region was still substantial.

The report, for July, showed 26 dwelling approvals, with a total estimated cost of $6.312 million.

Another 60 “other” structures took the total for the period to $8.9 million. Outside of Gympie itself, Rainbow Beach was the building hot spot, with approvals totalling $1.2 million for the month.

Cooloola Cove was in second place with approvals worth just over $589,000. In Tin Can Bay, houses worth $390,000 were approved.

In the former Kilkivan Shire, one new dwelling approval was valued at $177,000; and in the former Tiaro shire, three dwellings were worth $564,917.

There were 55 privately certified building agreements and 31 council certified applications for the month. The $6.312 million dwelling figure for July compared to $7.836 million in July last year.

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