If you are undertaking any building work on your property, you’ll need to find out whether your project requires a planning permit, a building permit, or both. These permits are required by law and are designed to protect you. The Building Act 1993 (the Act) and Building Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) state that all building work requires a building permit, unless an exemption exists under the Regulations.

It’s a good idea to seek advice from your local council if you are considering building work on your property to confirm whether a building permit or planning permit is required. You can also consult a building surveyor for advice.

Building permits are documents certifying that a proposed building complies with the relevant building regulations. A building permit is a written approval by a private or municipal building surveyor. It allows the building work to be undertaken according to the approved plans, specifications and other relevant documentation.

Having a building permit provides you with protection by ensuring:

  • the building practitioners working on your project are registered and carry the required insurance
  • adequate documentation is prepared so the construction can be carried out correctly and according to building legislation
  • key stages of the work are independently inspected
  • your building is suitable for occupation.

A building permit will specify that either an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection is required on completion of the building work. For more information, see At the end of your building project.

Not all building projects require a building permit. Possible exemptions may include:

  • some minor alterations or demolitions
  • pergolas associated with houses
  • some garden sheds with a floor area less than 10m2
  • repair work for maintenance purposes.

For more information, see our Practice note: When is a building permit required? (PDF, 336.31 KB)

Before applying for a building permit, you need to appoint a registered building surveyor. You apply for a building permit through your building surveyor.

Your architect or builder can apply for the building permit for you. However, you must first authorise them in writing to make the application on your behalf. If you have authorised another person to obtain a building permit on your behalf, you should check the relevant documentation and building permit before any work begins. You should avoid signing any blank forms authorising others to represent you.

To apply for a permit, you need to:

  • submit at least three copies of drawings, specifications and allotment plans along with the completed application form and other prescribed information
  • pay the building permit levy yourself or through a person authorised to do so.

The information above is from Victorian Building Authority. For further information visit vba.vic.gov.au