Building FAQs


The following advice is of a very general nature only. Precise advice on a building project should be sought from a private building surveyor or registered building professional.

New home builders are advised to see the New Home Builders Guide for more information.

When a building permit is needed

The Building Act 1993 states that a person must not carry out building work unless a building permit has been issued for the work. Building work means any work in connection with the construction, demolition or removal of a building. Some minor building work is exempt from the requirement to obtain a building permit.

The difference between a building permit and a planning permit

A planning permit considers whether the proposal is appropriate for the land and the area, whereas a building permit relates to the structure, use of the building or works being undertaken. A planning permit does not remove the need to obtain a building permit.

A planning permit must be obtained before a building permit can be issued, however you can apply for both at the same time.

It is also important to note that building permits are subject to mandatory inspections throughout the building process. These inspections must be undertaken by a qualified building surveyor or building inspector.

Where to find information about being an owner-builder

An owner-builder is a person who carries out domestic building work on his or her own land, who is not in the business of building. Building regulations mandate that Victorian owner-builders can only build or renovate one home every three years and cannot build multi-unit developments, such as apartments or units.

Owner-builders are responsible for:

  • Obtaining all permits required.
  • Supervising building work and/or carrying out the work themselves.
  • Ensuring the work meets relevant building regulations, standards and other laws.
  • Arranging for building inspections as required by law at particular stages of the building work.
  • Obtaining an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection from the relevant building surveyor on completion of work.

How to find a registered building practitioner or private building surveyor

A list of private building surveyors and registered building practitioners in the area can be found in the Yellow Pages or visit the Victorian Building Authority’s website.

The Building Appeals Board

The Building Appeals Board is an independent statutory body established under the Building Act 1993. The Building Appeals Board hears appeals and disputes in relation to building control matters.
To contact the Building Appeals Board phone 1300 421 082 or email

Building permits for swimming pools and spas

A building permit must be obtained for a swimming pool or spa with a depth greater than 300mm. This includes toddler’s pools. It does not matter if the swimming pool or spa is above-ground or in-ground or a mixture of both.

A swimming pool and a spa with a depth greater than 300mm must be protected by a safety barrier/fence. A building permit must be obtained for a pool or spa safety barrier. The safety barrier may be a fence but can also be a wall.

Report and consent

Report and consent is required when the building proposal falls outside of the Building Regulations, and may include items such as setbacks, height, design, car parking and fences to name only a few.

Some applications are required to be advertised for two weeks and some require referral to outside authorities. It is advisable to allow up to six weeks to have your application completed, however most applications are completed in a much faster timeframe.

Property Information

Council can often provide information about your property, including any building permits or certificates of final inspections within the past 10 years; house and site plans; any current building notices or orders on the property; stormwater discharge points; whether the land is subject to flooding, termites or snow fall; and mandatory inspection approval dates.