Voluntary house raising scheme

Voluntary House Raising is where the floor level of buildings is raised to reduce flood damage to houses.

We are applying for funding under the upcoming Department of Planning and Environment 2022 Floodplain Management Grant to assist property owners who want to raise their floor level.

The 2022-2023 funding round is currently open. Council is unlikely to find out the outcome until November 2022. Based on past state funding allocations, we are likely only to be awarded funding for two houses. Therefore, Council will need to apply for state funding each year.

If we are successful, we will contact eligible property owners on the priority list to let them know.

Eligible properties under the Voluntary House Raising scheme

To be eligible under the scheme properties need to be:

  • With floor heights below the Flood Planning Level (0.5 metres above the 1% predicted flood level).
  • Not identified in a designated Voluntary House Purchase area
  • Constructed prior to 1986
  • Constructed of a material that is suitable for raising (for example, wood, not brick).

Shortlisted properties have been ground-truthed to confirm their eligibility for the scheme. The Voluntary House Raising eligible property list is confidential due to the sensitive, property specific information it contains.

Benefits of Voluntary House Raising

Benefits of VHR include:

  • reduced flood damage to houses and their contents
  • reduced personal loss, stress and post-flood trauma
  • reduced frequency of household disruption
  • reduced clean up after floods
  • improved safety (if isolated).

How much is the Voluntary House Raising subsidy?

Generally, the subsidy is a ratio of 2:1, which is the standard grant offered by the department. This means that the grant covers 2/3rds of the amount and the property owner pays the other.

The amount depends on:

  • location
  • minimum height.  

Councils can also elect to ‘cap’ the subsidy to support equitable access to landowners. 

Grant payments can be claimed in three stages.

  • Stage 1 - House raised, foundations and columns in place.
  • Stage 2 - All steel work completed, and façade completed.
  • Stage 3 - all works required by the Development Application have been completed and signed off by Principal Certifying Authority.

What costs are eligible for funding?

Cost that can be covered by the funding include:

  • Plan and document preparation, including surveying costs.
  • Development application costs,
  • Site preparation,
  • Disconnection of services and provisions of temporary services,
  • Preparation for and raising of the floor to at least the Flood Planning Level.
  • Installation of supporting structure for the elevated floor,
  • Reconnection of Services,
  • Installation of front and back doorsteps or ramp and associated safety rails,
  • Costs associated with inspections and approval by the Council.

Costs not covered by the funding

  • Additional features, improvements, renovations, and substitutions of services requested by the homeowner such as landscaping and concrete floor to the understorey,
  • Any relocation costs incurred during work,
  • Remedial works to the house if the house needs to be brought up to a standard to allow it to be raised.
  • Retrospective works.

As a homeowner what do I have to do?

Council is only a facilitator of the grant. It is the owner’s responsibility to:

  • Obtain three quotes for the work,
  • Once an agreement has been signed by Council and the owner, the owner is to engage the approved contractor.
  • It is the owner’s or their contractor’s responsibility to obtain development consent and have Construction Certificate issued prior to work commencing,
  • Obtain a surveyor’s certificate showing the floor has been built in accordance with the approvals and Flood Planning Level.

What if my property is not identified as part of the scheme?

If your property does not meet the criteria, and is not on the priority list, it is unable to access the Voluntary House Raising grant funds.

Owner initiated and funded house raising can occur subject to development approvals.

What if I don’t want to wait for funding under the VHR scheme?

In this instance, owner initiated and funded house raising can occur subject to development approvals from Council being obtained. VHRs funding cannot be sought retrospectively.

Floodplain risk management strategy

The scheme is part of an overall floodplain risk management strategy not a stand-alone program.

The Scheme incorporates recommendations from the:

It also uses the following information to complete an assessment of properties eligible for the scheme:

  • Latest flood studies
  • Topography data
  • Floor level survey
  • Historic flood records
  • Dwelling type.