Build costs leave sour taste for Hilda

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Developments contributions have left a sour taste and a dent in the budget of retiree Hilda Liddall.

Mrs Liddall and her husband bought a 850m2 section of land at Mayfield a few years ago and have been living in a bus on site while they build a small home.

The 40m2 one room dwelling has been built by Mr Liddall and two grandsons and with a starting budget of just $32,000.

The self-build has saved the couple an estimated $50,000 in labour costs.

costs had been factored into the budget initially, including estimated building consent fees of $2500 from Ashburton District Council.

Unfortunately what had not been made clear enough to the couple was that development contributions would also be liable on the project.

“I was told the permit would cost $2500, so we budgeted for $3000.

“I was amazed when later I found out development contributions of $4892 were also liable and overdue.”

Mrs Liddall said she had spoken to council staff on more than one occasion for clarification and had requested hard copies rather than online copies because she had only a phone to read emails.

“If I’d known from the start that we would be paying $11,000 to council on such a tiny build, they we would never have gone ahead with things.”

Mrs Liddall said that amount included driveway costs of between $2000 and $2500, which council insisted they pay, and revised building consent fees of $4000.

“It’s been a shambles and we’re not really getting anything for the development contributions we’re paying for.”

There was still no sewage on the land and a septic tank was not allowed, so a holding tank was planned, she said..

The development contributions are being paid as a contribution to district-wide infrastructure improvements like the new civic centre, EA Networks Centre, art gallery and heritage centre and are not for water or waste at the property.

“If we were in town or Lake Hood it might be different, but we’re not,” she said.

Council acknowledged communication with the Liddalls could have been better, but is sticking firm to the fact that everyone applying for a building consent is given a project information memorandum (PIM) that tells them what is needed and the costs involved in what they are proposing.

the inquiries with Mrs Liddall in a better way at times,” council chief executive Hamish Riach admitted.

There were lessons to learn from the process, he said.

Council will enter into a payment plan with the Liddalls for the $4892 owing, but will not waive the fee.

A code of compliance certificate will not be issued until the development contributions are fully paid.

The Liddalls are assessing their options and finances and may use savings earmarked for the interior of the build to pay the outstanding amount.

-By Mick Jensen