A LULL in local development is expected to hit council hard this year, with planning staff predicting a $90,000 drop in revenue for building certification.
The prediction also took into account the increased number of developers that have turned to private certifiers instead of submitting applications to council.
After forecasting an income of $173,000 for building inspections, complying development certificates, occupation certificates and construction certificates for 2011-12, council has dropped its expectations to less than $90,000 for this financial year.
Council acting planning director Graham Gordon said the past two years had seen a serious downturn, with a 50 per cent drop in development applications (DAs) from five years ago.
“Having private certifiers in the local market has really added a level of competition we didn’t have in the past,” Mr Gordon said. “Competition is a good thing to have, but we have to be realistic about it and set a realistic budget.
“Griffith is also in a period of uncertainty, which makes people more reluctant to invest. Hopefully once our water issues are resolved and some confidence is restored we will see development pick up.”
Mr Gordon said council’s lost revenue should not be automatically taken as a negative sign for the local building industry, with competition potentially the biggest issue. But local certifier Ben Dartnell said the past six months had been quiet for his business, too.
“Things have dropped off noticeably since Christmas,” Mr Dartnell said. “If you added what I’ve done this year to what council’s done, it would still be substantially less than the same time three years ago.”
In a typical year, council would have processed more than 250 DAs by August, but only 120 have been submitted so far this year. Most typical applications can be processed by private certifiers but those with unusual parameters or to be built on flood-prone land must be submitted to council.
Developments within the city’s major subdivisions and package homes are primarily handled privately.
Local developer Zep Lanza said he wasn’t surprised council had budgeted for a tough period.
“Things haven’t been great building-wise for the past few years,” Mr Lanza said.
“People are being cautious, but it’s not just Griffith, it’s the same everywhere else. Building materials don’t stop going up and property values aren’t going anywhere.”