We recently received an enquiry from a person who had purchased a block of land some time ago – the land is located in an area well known for having land slip and stability problems.

At the time of purchase, the Contract contained a GEO Technical Report which indicated that whilst the land was located in an area classified as “High Risk” it could be safely developed for the purposes of erecting a dwelling house if certain design principles were adhered to, namely the use of low impact foundations and footings and the installation of adequate drainage works to cope with rain water runoff.

Following completion of his purchase the owner obtained further GEO Technical assessment and prepared house plans for a timber pole framed home which he had hoped would have a low impact in terms of its effect on the land. Unfortunately, on lodging his building plans with Council, the owner had discovered that Council has in more recent times adopted a policy restricting development on high risk sites, notwithstanding that the GEO Technical information available indicates that the site can be safely developed. The owner is now in a situation where he must either convince Council to permit the proposed development, or alternatively, appeal Council’s decision through the Land and Environment Court.

Buyers intending to purchase land located in potentially high risk areas, would be wise to make enquiries with the Local Council prior to purchasing to ascertain whether or not they will be permitted to build not withstanding that there might be a positive GEO Technical advice available to the effect that the Land can be built on.