Mornington Peninsula Shire has employed two investigators and two prosecutors in a crackdown on illegal buildings.
Seven owners or builders have been prosecuted in the past five months and a further 15 cases are already listed with the Magistrates Court or are under investigation.
The investigators and prosecutors make up a “compliance arm” in the shire’s statutory building unit.
The team is responsible for the investigation, enforcement and prosecution of breaches of the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018.
The court has imposed fines of up to $25,000 for works done without a building permit as well as recording a criminal conviction for the person who carried out the works. The court can also order the removal of the building work.
The mayor Cr Bryan Payne said council “works hard to investigate illegal building works to protect the amenity of our beautiful peninsula”.
“A focus for the team will be on the regulation of building works carried out on the peninsula without building permits being issued,” he said.
“Council takes illegal development in the peninsula very seriously and the penalty reflects the seriousness of the offence.”
Building permits require compliance with the Building Act, regulations and building code of Australia and adequate insurance.
Inspections are undertaken during the building process to ensure compliance. If detected carrying out building works without a building permit, builders or owners could face a council order to remove the unauthorised work.
Building carried out without a permit may also invalidate household insurance and warranty insurance for the building work.