Building law stipulates that all building work requires a building permit, unless the work is specifically exempted under the regulations. A building permit is written approval from a registered building surveyor certifying that your plans comply with the Building Regulations. You must have this permit before any work can begin. The same rules apply to alterations, demolitions and removals.
To find out whether you need a building permit, phone Council's Building Unit on 9262 6333.
Before applying for a building permit, you need to choose a building surveyor. Council has building surveyors on staff. For more information, phone the Building Unit on 9262 6333. Alternatively, search the phone directory for building surveyors in your area. Once you've found a building surveyor, Council recommends that you confirm that they are a registered building practitioner at the Building Commission website.
To obtain a building permit, complete an application form and submit it to your appointed building surveyor. The agent can apply on your behalf for the permit, but you must authorise the architect or builder in writing to make the application.
Always check that a permit has been issued before any work commences. It is important to remember that it is the owner's responsibility to get the required permits.
You must provide evidence that your builder is registered with the Building Practitioners Board if your project is worth more than $5000. If the work is worth more than $12,000, you will also need to show evidence that your builder has the correct insurance.
You can check if your building practitioner is registered by searching on the Building Commission website (see link at bottom of page).
The building permit application form needs to be accompanied by three sets of plans drawn to an professional standard and, depending on the nature of the building project, a range of other documents such as:
Your building surveyor will advise you which documents to submit. It is essential to provide all requested information, as delays may occur on your project until you are able to provide all the necessary documents and details.
If all the information you provide is accurate and complete, a building surveyor should issue or refuse a permit. If your permit application is refused, you can either change the design to comply with the Building Regulations or seek a dispensation from the regulations in some limited circumstances.
Some building projects may involve a variation to the regulations and, therefore, need special approval. In some cases, a registered building surveyor has the authority to assess whether or not the design will achieve the intent of the regulations and, if so, still issue a permit.
In some circumstances, only the local council will be able to approve a building project not in accordance with the regulations. In these cases, you will need to seek a dispensation, known as a ‘consent and report’, from Council. Your building surveyor will advise you, should this be necessary.
The need for a dispensation may occur in the following circumstances (but not limited to):
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