Most building work, including demolition, must have a building permit prior to the commencement of the project.
The building permit has a very practical purpose. It ensures, among other things, that the work is done to a safe standard, those doing the work are registered and carry insurance, that adequate documentation is prepared to correctly construct the building, and that throughout the project, the work is independently inspected and is suitable for the proposed use.
Works done without a permit where one was required will cause delays when you later choose to sell your property or if an insurance claim is made. Furthermore, you risk a fine for undertaking works without a permit. Penalties for such breaches can range from 500 penalty units ($79,285) for an individual to 2500 penalty units ($393,925) in the case of a body corporate.
A building permit cannot be issued retrospectively for the works already carried out.
While every project is different, the following are examples of works that will need a building permit. Speak to a private certifier to check whether the works will require a permit.
- New homes, bungalows, outbuildings or studios, including relocatable buildings.
- Commercial buildings.
- Additions to an existing building.
- Structural alterations to an existing home or other building, including adding or removing structural or load bearing parts of a building.
- Re-blocking or re-stumping a building.
- Alterations to a commercial building including layout changes.
- Alterations to, or introduction of, an Essential Safety Measure including fire hose reels, fire hydrants, exit doors, fire extinguishers, exit signs, emergency lights, sprinklers.
- New verandahs, decks or patios on a building.
- Construction of a pergola (unroofed structure) associated with any other building.
- New pergolas with a floor or permeable shade sails with an area greater than 20m².
- Impermeable shade sails on a non-residential building.
- Converting a garage or shed into a habitable room.
Swimming pools and spas
- New swimming pools or spas capable of a water depth greater than 30cm.
- Pool or spa safety barriers.
- On corner blocks, front and side timber fences greater than 1.5m in height, within 3m of the front or side street boundary.
- On corner blocks, front and side masonry/brick fences greater than 1.2m in height, within 3m of the front or side street boundary.
- On corner blocks, any fence greater than 1m in height within 9m of the street corner point, measured in both directions along the boundary line of the block.
- Any side fence, between properties that is greater than 2m in height.
- Front and side timber fences greater than 1.5m in height, within 3m of the front boundary.
- Front and side masonry/brick fences greater than 1.2m in height, within 3m of the front boundary.
Decks and landings
- All decks and landings.
Sheds, garages and carports
- All garages, sheds and carports more than 10m2 in area, more than 3m high or constructed of masonry.
- A retaining wall within 1m of a boundary or another building.
- A retaining wall greater than 1m in height.
Masts and antennas
- Greater than 3m above the building to which it is attached.
- Greater than 8m above the ground (if not attached to a building).
- Demolition/removal of any building with masonry features.
- Demolition of a building with a floor area greater than 40m².
- Replacing corrugated iron roofing with concrete or terracotta roofing tiles.