Building Permits

Does Council Issue Building Permits?

Council do not issue building permits. When the privatisation system was introduced for the issuing of building permits in Victoria, Council resolved not to compete with the private sector in issuing building permits (effective from 1 September 1997).

Building permit applications may be lodged with any privately operating building surveyor. The Yellow Pages lists companies that issue building permits under its Building Surveyors and Building Consultants sections.

Council's Building department provides a statutory Building Control function.

Do I need a Building Permit?

The answer is probably yes, a building permit is required for most building projects. Building permits enforce regulations that are designed to protect your building and, more importantly, those who occupy them.

The issuing of a building permit ensures the building work is built in compliance with the Building Act 1993 (the Act) and Building Regulations 2006 (the Regulations).

The Act and Regulations state that building work should not commence until a building permit has been issued and that the building work must comply with the permit and the approved plans. Council is obliged to initiate legal proceedings in respect to illegal building work.

Building permits ensure:

  • The required building practitioners doing the work are registered and carry the appropriate insurance.
  • Adequate documentation is prepared to construct the building.
  • Independent review of the building documentation occurs.
  • Key stages of the work are independently inspected.
  • The work is structurally sound and meets health and safety requirements stipulated in the Act and Regulations.
  • Your building is independently assessed as suitable for use or occupation.

A building permit requires work inspections at various mandatory notification stages such as foundations, reinforcement, frame, prior to occupation, and upon completion of building work.

Once approved, a building permit has a period of time in which building work must commence and be completed. As part of the process, the relevant building surveyor who issues the building permit must follow the project through to the end, carrying out building inspections, issuing an occupancy permit and/or a certificate of final inspection on completion of the building work.

Exemptions

There are some minor types of building work that are exempt from a building permit.

In certain instances the exemptions remove the necessity to obtain a building permit but still require the owner to make sure the building work complies with the regulations. In these cases the owner may still require professional assistance from a Registered Building Practitioner.

For more information on circumstances when a building permit is not required, please download the Victorian Building Authority's Practice Notes 2016-32 "When is a Building Permit Required?" or go to the Victorian Building Authority website.

Owner Builder Information

Generally an owner-builder is defined as a person who constructs or renovates a building on their own land, who is not in the business of building.

An owner-builder is responsible for obtaining building permits, supervising or undertaking the building work, an ensuring building work meets building regulations and standards.

To carry out domestic building work valued over $16,000, an owner-builder must first obtain a Certificate of Consent from the Victorian Building Authority. A Certificate of Consent is an individual's written approval to act as an owner-builder on their own land in Victoria, conditions apply.

To find out more about owner-builder requirements, complete the owner-builder application kit or obtain a Certificate of Consent, go to the Victorian Building Authority website or call 1300 815 127.