Do I Need Council Approval?

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In short the answer is Yes, for any alterations or additions to your building or property.

As with most things there are always exceptions. There may be State legislation exemptions, size of the project, value or simply the nature.

Our advice however, is if in doubt accept first that council approval is required then seek advice from your local council, building surveyor or designer.

Many projects have been completed without council approval, such as lower floor conversions to a granny flat or unit, decks, sheds, carports, and internal modifications.

This is all fine at the time, however if you choose to sell the property and council records are checked through the settlement process and they don’t match, all the works must be brought up to today’s standards. Even if the work was done 20 years ago. If it was illegal then, without approvals, the regulations of 20 years ago don’t apply. This can cause a lot of heartache and anxiety for you as the current property owner, the purchasers and all involved to see the sale through.

Another area of concern is that of insurance. If your property was damaged by fire or flood and it started from that illegal addition / alteration or there was a structural failure damaging property or injuring someone your insurer would have sound reason not to honour the policy. This could lead to many more concerns than if you took the time to seek council approval first.

As you can see there are many important reasons to have all your approvals in place and not risk the chance of ‘getting away with it’.

If through reading this you realise your at risk contact a designer or building surveyor and get some advice. You can search for our designers and consultants using the search feature under the ‘Find a Consultant’ heading on the right hand side of any page.

 

Comments

  1. If i already have a veranda/alfresco can i replace it. As the current one is rotting and i want to build a steel one instead. Same size and design etc….

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Generally all building works require some form of approval. A replacement veranda may be considered ‘minor works’ but still require an application, showing the design and specific materials to be used, submitted through your building surveyor.
      For a more specific answer consult your council or local building surveyor.
      Feel free to contact any of the consultants listed on this site.

  2. My investment property purchased 4-5 years ago has been found to have renovations completed to the bathroom that were not up to par. As far as I can tell, they didn’t waterproof it!
    Would the previous owners had to have council approval for the renovation? Is it an illegal renovation if they didn’t have approval?
    Thanks,

  3. paul green says:

    Can you tell us what is the largest shed that can be built on a property without Council please

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Paul,
      Recent changes to the Tasmanian Building Code allows one of the following:
      “1 exempt outbuilding of 18m2 on an allotment; or as an alternative –
      2 exempt outbuildings each of 10m2 on an allotment –
      and certain other defined criteria are also met (e.g. maximum heights, siting setbacks, no excavation or fill over 500mm).”
      We suggest you check with your local council before going ahead, to ensure all requirements are met.

    • Blue Allan says:

      Is council approval required to have a temporary container as a site office on private land?

      • admin@everythingbuilding says:

        Come councils are now requiring some form of approval in some cases. It may also be determined by how long you intend to keep the container on site.
        Our suggestion is to check with your local council’s planning and building department.
        DW

        • Lovely Ramiscal says:

          We are currently living in a rented townhouse and our neighbour own their townhouse but our garage and their garage are next to each other. We saw that their garage were closed and they have someone atleast two people living in their garage, with toilet and kitchen. We are concerned about hazard and fire safety. Where can we complaint or where can we report this for legal authorities so they can investigate if it is legal? And how do we know if it is permitted or not?

          • admin@everythingbuilding says:

            Hi Lovely Ramiscal,
            Your local council are the people to notify.
            They would usually investigate and notify the owners of any wrong doing.

            Darryn White

  4. John Valenti says:

    Hi
    Can anyone advise if I need council approval to replace my lawn (9m x 4m) with a concrete slab and still be within the landscape percentages.
    Cheers

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi John,
      You will have to direct this specific question to your local council’s planning department.

  5. stephen says:

    what would be an average soil test cost for building a garage on a slab

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Go to ‘Soil Testing’ under ‘Consultants’ and contact on of the listed businesses. They will be more than willing to assist with a costing.

  6. We are renting a property that has had a big extension added on and also a second elevated level. We have been told by council that none of the work has been council approved nor is it finished or up to standard. When we signed lease agreement we were unaware of this. Should we be living in it? Do we have legal rights to cancel lease and move out?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Kara,
      Un-approved works are UN-APPROVED works. There are implications if these works result in any form of injury.
      Our suggestion is to seek formal advice from a building surveyor and your local council.
      You may also need to consult with solicitor re your legal obligations and opportunity to cancel the lease.

  7. Am I able to put up a 3×5.50×2.25metre carport without council approval? Thanks

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      No Hamish,
      All carports need council approval.
      Basically if it has a solid roof and legally requires plumbing it needs approval.

  8. Hi there

    can I replace a garage new for old? the garage is the same size on the same building envelope?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Jacqui,
      Generally you can replace new for old. However, you will need to check with your local council to see if there were any issues with the old garage.
      You still need to lodge a building application for the new structure, which will include the demolition of the old one, which must be documented.

  9. Do I need approval to put up a wall in my carport as the carport is attached to the house via the same roof line. Basically its an incomplete garage, some houses in the area are the same, even look identical to mine.. Must have cost less to do this. Nothing structurly with be touched though.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Tarquin,
      It depends on how close your carport is to your property boundary.
      If it is to be an external wall there may be fire rating requirements to be met.
      We suggest you talk with your local Building Surveyor for an accurate assessment.

  10. Michael Galvin says:

    I built a garden shed, 10m2, away from dwellings and drainage easements, under the impression it was legal for me to do so. The West Coast Council Tasmania issued a fine and a building notice as i had to get one of the posts down to 2.4m which i did. They recommended a surveyor for a certificate of compliance and suggested i am better off demolishing it. I met the Building Order getting it the right size and rather than revoking the order they then applied Regulation 5 to meet the Building Code. I got another surveyor than the one Council uses and they recommended to Council that it meets the size requirements for exemption and although it doesn’t quite meet the building code, with only minor modifications required, the structure is sound enough for use. Council would not mediate in the Tribunal mediation sessions and then say that it has to be 9m2. Unfortunately it now has to go to court and i am wearing the costs.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Michael,
      The Tasmanian Building Regulations state what is exempt and what is not.
      Check that your shed meets all the restrictions set out under these regulations.
      Building Regs 2014

  11. do I need council approval to set 2 40 ft shipping containers 6meters apart and then join them with one roof over the top with a concrete slab on the ground in-between them its on a bush block in Bauple qld I think the land is residential

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Yes Clint,
      You would require both building and plumbing approval and possibly planning approval as well.

  12. Does putting on a roller door to a pre exhisting attached carport need approval.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      The carport is a class 10 building as is a garage.
      As long as the rest of the carport remains open, the door could be installed as ‘Minor Works’ thus not requiring full approval.
      Your local Building Surveyor can provide advice and confirmation on this.

      • I would like to ask if this is the case in SA. It’s attached and has gable roof, this is 6200w x 10000L approved 2005. Issues are built as attached carport 70mm of boundary fence and now a bondo wall panels at 3000 high full length. So the additional weight of panel roller door , wall and then cementing over completely inside with new driveway 50mm of boundary fence. So we not only have gutters over fence we now also with all cementing we get all their water in our property . We go to the trouble of installing ag drains to stop their water to find a lack of footings should be minimal of 300×600 that being this close to boundary is an enthronement in it self. We this thing has very little footings at all. To get approval for bondo wall they have had to have engineering report done on wind. Sadly I have spoken to the engineer after report was done to find out they have not advised him of the fact it’s should have footings and also that cement and roller door was not part of the approval from 2005. I know all this because I applied for Freedom of Information. None of the paper work is correct and very poor record keeping on part of council. I have spoken to Stratco engineers and the carport is only engineered to hold its own weight additional changes the engineering is not true anymore and the engineer that has provided new report for approval of wall had no idea what was there to start with. So the out come is still this carport carries more weight and hardly any footings to support it and it could collapse plus the repairs the owner has done to brick work where all the weight is surely there has to someone that can help me as the neighbouring property as council have been useless . Would love to know your thoughts and any advise would be welcomed. To think all I wanted was for them to control water and get gutters on their side of boundary fence so we can do a lean to off the house for BBQ …. 18 months in the information I have now really it should be fixed …

        • admin@everythingbuilding says:

          Hi Shelley,
          Generally it is up to council to place a property owner on notice about any illegal works.
          There are some private practices that can assist you in your approach to council.
          I suggest contacting a Building Surveyor in your area for advice and possible assistance if you have no response from council.

          Darryn White

          • Well all I can say on applying for FOI the truth surly would have to come out and all should be held responsible for the errors. I am meeting with the mayor and doing an international review FOI. The discovery of what this has unearthed not only for council ,builder and I hope that it will be enforced to be bought up to code. I thank you for your reply

  13. Hi, I’m putting in an offer to buy a residential property. The agent says that there is a good chance that the rear deck has not been council approved. Is there a minimum size and height for decks needing approval?
    It is a small deck to level clothes line area and probably no more than 70cm high – roughly the size of a car parking space.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Darryl,
      Depending on where your planning to buy, the regulations state that if the deck is under 1 metre in height it can be built without a building approval as long as it doesn’t form part of another building approval. We always suggest discussing with your local Building Surveyor, just to confirm that this is the case.

  14. Good morning. We have an existing property in the Maitland Council in NSW. We would like to convert the two original arch garage doors into one full length door (removing the arches). Will we need council approval for this? And is there a way to put this job out to tender? Thank you

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Kylie,
      The work you have described would require a building designer and possibly engineer involvement detailing the changes and specifying structural members to span the new opening. Small projects like this may be assessed as ‘Minor Works’, thus not requiring a full building approval.
      Your local Building Surveyor could advise you on this.

  15. Hi,
    I purchased my home 7 years ago and looking back on the plans there is an extension which is not shown on anywhere. The house is old so the extension might of been done 20+ years ago. Over the course of the first couple of years I had done some renovations, knocking out some internal walls (which I had an engineer report) but also turned an exisiting front sunroom into a lounge room by replacing the walls, blueboarding and new colourbond roofing without council approval. When I asked the my builder at the time if I needed council approval, he said nah you should be alright cause there was something there already and if your neighbours are good you’ve got nothing to worry about (I know now how naive I was) so my question is, I’m possibly looking at selling sometime in the near future, and I know I will have troubles selling it, what can I do to have the work approved and certified even though the work is complete with having to rip stuff apart and costing me more money I don’t have to spend?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Bob,
      Building works can be assessed and approved retrospectively. Unfortunately they are assessed on today’s standards, so if anything has changed since the original build, it may have to be altered or improved.
      Talk with your local Building Surveyor, or contact one listed on our website. They will talk you through the process.

  16. Susan Malcolm says:

    Hi

    I am wanting to extend part of our house into a veranda which has brick walls at each end, a ceiling and a paved floor. It will mean demolishing the wall of the study and reusing the bricks for the new outer wall and building a new ( non brick)wall to form an entry within the structure. No extending beyond the original structure will take place. Is it possible to do this without council approval?
    Regards
    Susan

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Susan,
      Even alterations within the lines of the existing building require some form of approval.
      Your local Building Surveyor can advise you as to the level of approval you require.
      The bare minimum would be ‘Minor Works’ with a maximum cost of works within Tasmania of $5000.00.

  17. I’m wanting to build a 20sq meter cabin in taree where I live do I need council approvel

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Linda,
      In short, if the cabin is for residential use then yes, you will need council approval.
      A cabin would be considered a ‘Class 1’ (Residential) building so would need to go through the same process as a much larger residence.
      To confirm this We suggest you contact your local council and / or building surveyor.

  18. We’re moving house in a month council has now come to our existing house and decided that a carport structure that was put up 17 years ago needs to be pulled down. Can they make us do this ? We’re in Victoria.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Cristina,
      I’m not sure about your local council’s specific requirements, but generally councils will give you the opportunity to seek approvals, both planning and building, post construction. It is only then, if full approval can’t be reached that they would require demolition of that structure.
      I suggest you talk to your council and local building surveyor.
      DW

  19. I am planning on growing a building using living trees grafted together. Does this need council approval?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Graham,
      It depends on the intended use of the ‘building’.
      If it is intended as a class 1 dwelling then I would suggest council approval in needed, along with meeting all the Building Code of Australia requirements.
      Check with your local building surveyor or council.

  20. Hi we would like to add a toilet to our laundry, do we need council permission in NSW

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Dawn,
      Toilets create a new new plumbing connection, which generally requires council approval.
      We suggest contacting your local council to see if it applies to your property.

  21. Hi
    I just bought a unit in melbourne, and found there was not permit for the 47sqm size of deck. It was built in 2008, and my settlement date is next month. Not sure should I talk to to council about it or not.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Cherrie,
      Definitely check with your local council. If the deck is deemed to be an ‘illegal’ structure and you don’t have it sorted before settlement, then YOU OWN IT and may need to seek all the relevant approvals later at your cost.
      If council don’t require a permit, then at least you know and I would ask for that in writing.
      All the best,
      DW

      • Hi DW,
        Thanks for your reply. But I am afraid if I talked to the council and found that it is illegal structure and it won’t be fixed in the middle of conveyancing. It will be my issue after settlement. Do you think is it feasible to get a certified builder inspector to have a look at the property and give professional advice if permit is needed or not?

        • admin@everythingbuilding says:

          Hi Cherrie,
          I have been involved in few cases myself re settlement periods and the like.
          Is there anything in your purchase contract holding the vendor responsible for ensuring all works are council approved?
          Is your conveyancer able to withhold any amount from the purchase price as a bond until the deck is sorted?
          My suggestion is to talk with a building surveyor as they are the ones who certify building works. They should be able to tell you if a building permit is required or not.

    • Hi Cherie

      Just wondering how you went with resolving the issues you mentioned regarding deck construction approval?

      Thanks
      Tara

  22. Greg Richardson says:

    Hi,
    I will be putting up a shed < 20square meters (Wollongong – NSW) & not closer than 900mm from any boundary. The full project will be requiring concrete works to :
    add a pathway ( approx 12meters, connected 5m x 5.5m concrete slab potentially on a retained area no higher than one meter , and also included in the works is the concreting of 7m x 2m area under my back deck.
    I feel I have covered off the shed requirements, however I would like to know if there are any approvals required for the concrete slab's and pathways.
    Also included in the works is the concreting of 7m x 2 meter area under my back deck.
    My plan is that all concreting will be joined together as thats how the design is preferred.
    Thanks in advance, Greg

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Greg,
      If I am right in thinking, the concreting will not be structural, as the shed footings will be separate. Generally, slabs of this nature are deemed ‘infill’ or ‘pavement’ slabs so are not subject to requiring council approval.
      I am assuming you are seeking council approval for the shed, so in this instance I would show the ‘pavement slab’ areas on the plans as well. A simple notation on the plans would be adequate.
      My best advice, if your still unsure, consult with your local building surveyor or direct with council.
      DW.

  23. do i need to get planning approval to put a floor under my existing house to be used for storage?
    there is an existing door off the garage for access, no windows will be put in. how ever digging will be required upto the pillars under the house with what im thinking a smallish (60cm) retaining wall put in place to secure the foundations

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Chris,
      You may not need ‘Planning Approval’ but if your talking retaining walls and digging out you would most likely need building approval and possibly plumbing approval as you will need sub surface drainage behind the retaining wall.
      Check with your local Building Surveyor to confirm this.
      DW

  24. Hi, Do I need council approval in Sydney if the house upstairs structure has been damaged by fire and I am rebuilding the exisiting bedrooms, balcony and roof?
    Thanks,
    Vinci

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Vinci,
      Generally everything requiring a re-build with structural components will require some form of council approval.
      Depending on the degree of re-build, your building surveyor could assess it as ‘minor works’.
      My advice is check with a Building Surveyor first.

  25. Mitch hind says:

    Hi, I’m in Wyong shire, Gwandalan
    I have a large open formal lounge and formal dining. I want to convert it to a fourth bedroom and lounge room. No demo required at all, just a stud wall and door frame. The new bedroom will have existing Windows. No external changes what so ever.
    Will I need council approval?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Mitch,
      The first question is, does your house have council services, ie sewer connection. The reason I ask is because if you have an on site septic system the additional bedroom would change the loading requirements for the system.
      The works you are talking about, should be considered as ‘minor works’ from a council perspective.
      This means a full building approval should not be required.
      Council would still require documentation of the changes and assess it as ‘minor works’.
      You can check this with the planning and building department at your local council.
      DW

  26. Roselyn says:

    Do you need council approval to convert a wall to a large window?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Roselyn,
      Taking out a section of wall to fit a window is a structural change, roof load, wind bracing etc.
      The work may be considered as ‘Minor Works’ but would still required some form of council approval.
      Consult with your local Building Surveyor for more information.
      DW

  27. Hi there I have a double carport which I would like to put a roller door on and clad with color bond do I need council approval many thanks in advance Tim

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      G’Day Tim,
      A Carport is a class 10 building. A Garage is a class 10 building. Depending on where it sits in relation to your property boundary and as long as there are no ‘structural’ members being installed, I would be confident in saying you don’t need council approval. I always suggest talking with your local building surveyor, just to check all aspects of the existing building and what you proposed to do.
      DW.

  28. Hi . Can you please tell me if you can convert a garden shed into a granny flat with 1 bed with 4 people living in it .( not sure of the size of shed ) and live in it for a year with out council approval . In W.A

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Tania,
      I would think you definitely need council approval for what you wish to do.
      A garden shed is a different class of building to a granny flat, which is to be occupied.
      You would need to meet certain planning guidelines as well as needing building and plumbing approvals.
      DW

  29. Hi. Live in Wyong shire, NSW and wish to convert my garage into a studio for a relative to live in. Council advised me that I would be responsible for a contribution of $13,000 for the extra use of services. I am gob smacked at this so is there a way to legally convert my garage with power and plumbing as this seems excessive and will mean that I can’t proceed

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Lou,
      There is no legal way of converting your garage to a habitable room without going through the council approval process.
      I can not comment on the fees they have discussed for the extra use of services.
      If the garage was converted to a bedroom, as an extension of the house, this may not incur the contribution fee they have mentioned.
      Consult with your local Designer of Building Surveyor for a more accurate appraisal.
      DW

  30. Toni Sharp says:

    Hi my father inlaw built bungalow and shed extension 20 years or so ago without council ect can the council pull it down now or do anything? The property is owned by inlaws, back then they were told if its over 7yrs nothing can be done ect please help with correct info.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Toni,
      There is no time limit with illegal works.
      Council can insist you have the works approved. They generally wont force you to demolish the works until you go through the post construction approval process.
      Consult with your local Building Surveyor to discuss the process and maybe arrange a preliminary assessment of the construction before you talk to council.
      DW

  31. Hi , I’m thinking of building a brick fence at the front of my house would I need council approval?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Laz,
      Low fences are generally exempt from requiring council approval, where as high fences can require council consent.
      My suggestion is to contact your local council and discuss your options, with the height of the fence in mind.
      Brick fences can also require structural detailing due to the nature of the construction.
      DW

  32. I’m thinking of building a sunken fire pit in my back yard. Does this need council approval?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Daniel,
      If the fire pit doesn’t involve digging and retaining more than a metre deep and there are no structural elements, then there should be no need for council approval.
      However, it is worth checking with council re setbacks from boundaries and their allowance of open fires in your area.
      DW

  33. Cindy Dale says:

    Hi,
    Do I need council approval to knock out a wall between kitchen and lounge room to make it open plan living? We have had a building report when purchased the property and had the ok as its not structural. Do we need permission from council also?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Cindy,
      All changes within a building should have a formal record, whether it be full building approval or a minor works notification.
      In your case, removal of a non load-bearing wall should be considered as ‘Minor Works’.
      This still requires the preparation of plans and formal assessment.
      Your local Building Surveyor can provide you with more information.
      DW

  34. Margeurite says:

    I have found a house I like that appears to have had some structural work – removal of internal walls to create an open plan area. Also the foot print of the house on the land is slightly bigger than shown in the Section 32 documents.
    My understanding is work was done over 7 years ago. If I buy the property will this become my problem?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Margeurite,
      If you purchase the property with any works that haven’t been approved, it becomes your problem.
      In most states it is not mandatory for the Vendor to ensure all approvals are in place. It is your choice to insist that all works be approved before purchase, or not.
      Have a read of “8 Tips when buying Real Estate.”
      DW

    • It’s much easier to untndsraed when you put it that way!

  35. Cath White-Murphy says:

    Hello,
    Could you tell me what type of approval do I need to build a yurt house/granny flat, I live in Lake Macquarie nsw?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hello Cath,
      Any form of structure to be used as a dwelling must have, at minimum, council building and plumbing approval.
      Depending on the nature and design of your Yurt house / granny flat you may also require a Planning permit.
      My suggestion is to consult with the planning department at your local council for more specific information.
      DW

  36. I live in Brisbane, do I need council approval to fill in our unground swimming pool?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Jade,
      If the swimming pool appears on council records, then you may need to apply for the de-commissioning and removal of the pool.
      Filling in the hole shouldn’t require council approval.
      Consult with your local council for more specific information.
      DW

  37. Steve mortimer says:

    Hi I live on the central coast, I’d like to swap out an existing window for sliding doors. 3m wide doors. How should I find out what size beam I need ? And who should I be getting involved relation to surveying and council ? Thanks.
    Steve.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Steve,
      I suggest contacting a local building designer in your area. They can provide the documentation you need and advise of the process in your area. Generally they would have the relevant consultants on hand along with assisting you with the council process.
      DW

  38. Kate Smith says:

    Hi I have just put in an offer for a home and one of the rooms has a 2.218 ceiling height. What can this room be used for and as it has large windows can it be used as a study?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Kate,
      A study is classed as a ‘Habitable Room’ under the regulations set out in the Building Code of Australia (BCA)
      The minimum approved ceiling height for a ‘Habitable room’ is 2.400.
      The only rooms allowable to be under 2.400 are Kitchens, Bathrooms, Laundry, Airlock, Passages, Pantry, Storeroom, Garage, and attic rooms.You can download a copy of the BCA.
      Room Heights are explained under ‘Health and Amenity’, Part 3.8.2
      DW

  39. Hi,
    I want to build a granny flat in my backyard. Do i need council approval for a Garage removal?
    How can I apply through the council?
    which department?
    Thanks

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Ro,
      You require approval for demolition as well as construction.
      Talk with both the Planning Department and Building Department at your local council.
      DW

  40. Are building surveyors required to report any non compliant work to the Council? We’ve discovered some apparently illegal work done long ago, but pulling it down would be exorbitantly expensive if it turns out we cant get retrospective approval.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi David,
      All building works require the appropriate approvals.
      Whether the building surveyor reports the works or not, you should still seek retrospective approvals.
      DW

  41. I thought it was interesting that you mentioned getting council approval before demolishing anything. If you have council approval, that will help the insurance company like you mentioned. It may help to contact contractors and the council to make sure all permits are in order before beginning projects.

  42. Hi There,
    Im on the Central Coast NSW
    Have purchased a property and have had a drafts man draw up plans to re build,
    Plans are going into council and I would like to know if we can start to pull down our existing garage and outside laundry before our DA is approved.
    Both buildings are not attached to the original house which will also be pulled down
    We will not be replacing anything on the old garage or outside laundry until we have our DA approved

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Nicole,
      Normally you would require building approval for any demolition associated with the re-development.
      You could apply separately to get a head start if you wish.
      Discuss your options direct with council or you building surveyor.
      DW

  43. Hi
    I’m just purchasing a house in Melbourne, built 12 years ago.
    It has a pool already in place.
    Within the section 32 there is a letter from the council saying a recent inspection of the ‘barriers’ took place and everything was compliant – there are no barriers however there is a lockable security door onto the property.

    In the Sec 32 pack, there is no obvious planning permit for the original building of the pool and I can’t seem to establish if it was built with the house or after.
    I’ve been told that the pool was built ‘before a building permit was required and the fact the council have inspected the ‘barrier’ and considered it OK and well maintained, then by default, the council accept there is a pool in the garden’
    This seems feasible but stretching the assumptions a bit.
    I’m reluctant to contact the council directly and ask if it’s accepted in case it opens a can of worms.

    Does the explanation seem OK that by virtue the council inspect and approve the barrier, by default they accept the pool is OK?
    Thanks

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Dave,
      It may seem feasible based on the recent council inspection, but not guaranteed.
      Unfortunately the question needs to be asked direct to council.
      As long as the safety barriers are compliant, there is little else for a swimming pool to comply.
      Normally you wouldn’t require a ‘planning’ permit, only building and plumbing approval.
      It would be worth asking the question as an email or letter so you get a written response.
      DW

  44. Hi

    We have an old bungalo in Willoughby Council with a huge 32 degree pitch. I had my carpenter convert it to a large attic “storage area” with strengthened floor joists, etc., and he lined it nicely with gyprock. It has turned out to be huger than I expected (2.7m high over a large portion) thanks to the carpentry wizardry (of course certified by an engineer).

    We’d like to now put in a staircase and bunch of skylights and make it habitable.

    Firstly, do I need council approval for the staircase? I had planned to put these in straight away as I’m getting sick of climbing up and down the ladder!

    Second I understand I need approval to make it habitable, but I’m now not clear on whether or not I should have gotten approval for the storage? Will I need to get a building certificate for the attic “storage” adhoc or should I just go for the DA and call it existing?

    Thanks

    Don

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Don,
      You definately need approval.
      If you intend to use the attic as a habitable room then apply for that.
      Your building surveyor will assess the structural integrity and BCA requirements and advise accordingly.
      DW

    • Vivian says:

      Hi Don, do you know if the storage in attic will require council approval? I have a similar situation here….im doing research all over the internet. thanks a lot!!!

  45. Hi guys
    Great forum, really helpful info.
    I’m considering placing an offer on a house that has some unapproved work.
    They’ve turned a space listed on the original plans as ‘alfresco’ into an enclosed rumpus and additional bedroom. They’ve utilised the existing roof structure and just walled and windowed it in.
    Reading this forum I understand I would have to get it approved retrospectively as the vendor does not want to get it certified now.
    Is there a risk it might not meet building codes or setback requirements etc? I don’t want to buy and then bring it to council for approval only for them to tell me to demolish the lot.
    Would a building inspection pre settlement provide useful info on this?
    Is this a common situation?
    Appreciate the help.
    Cheers
    Chris

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your comments.

      Because the room is under the existing roof line there would be little reason why council would not support an approval.
      Your best bet is to engage a building surveyor to pre assess.
      DW

  46. Jonnine Ford says:

    My landlord has covered in and renovated under the house I rent, without council approval. Now she wants me to rent it out as a separate residence. I am thinking this is not legal. Any advice.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Converting any single dwelling into 2 or more dwelling units requires full council approval and there are stringent guidelines that must be met.
      DW

  47. Hi.
    8 years ago we enclosed our carport to make an extra bedroom. Upon enquiring about any permits required, we were told that because the carport was a continuation of our house (eg….all under the one roof line and no weight bearing walls would therefire be required) that it was just called “filling in an existing space” and no permits were required! This seems to be posing a problem now we are trying to sell. We tried to do the right thing at the time and was told there was nothing we needed to do. Any advice? Thanks.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Kris,
      You can apply for your approvals post completion of the works.
      Your local Building Surveyor will guide you through the process.

      Darryn White

  48. Jacqui Jumisic says:

    I’m thinking of buying a house on an already subdivided property which is 298 sam. It has a battle-axe block behind. In Brisbane City Council area – Greenslopes.
    The house has an external set of stairs. I’d like to weather proof them and ideally cover them in somehow to make them secure/lockable. The stairs go out, down to a landing halfway down and then run from the landing down parallel to the back boundary fence. The stairs running parallel are approx 10 inches from the back boundary fence.
    Can you suggest what some options might be/ what might be possible (without going through cumbersome approval processes) ? e.g could I cover them in with palings so its still deemed to be open but still able to be secured? Could I add an awning and if so what kind would be possible?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Jacquie,
      To enclose the stairs that close to the boundary would most likely require a fire rated system.
      There may also be other requirements to be met.
      Council approval would be required.
      DW

  49. Hi – we have an embankment on the street front of our property. I aim to build a natural stone retaining wall less than one metre on the embankment with sloped garden up the remaining height. There is a small wall at the bottom only reaching about 500 in height before it recedes 1.5m to where I want to start the wall. Do I need approval for this?
    Thanks
    Glenn
    .

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Glenn,
      You may need council approval if the wall is close to the boundary.
      It also depends on where it sits in relation to the low existing wall.
      My advice is to discuss with council and allow them to verify. Ask for formal advice in writing to prevent any possible future problems.
      DW

  50. Hi, I bought a property in NSW 15years ago which already had a shipping container on the property when we bought it. When did council bring in the legislation to ban shipping containers. Do i now have to remove it???

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Tamara,
      Not necessarily all councils require a level of approval for shipping containers, however some are requiring approval for new placement in some areas.
      If you are concerned, you can check with your local council.
      DW

  51. Mark Camilleri says:

    Hi, we have a company coming in to install 6m long bifold doors on the external wall of our rumpus. It will replace two window door combinations. In between each window door combination is a section of wall roughly 600 wide which is structural.
    They are supplying an engineer to knock out the support wall and the window door combos.
    I’ve questioned them on council approval and they say it’s not required. We are in Kuringah council.
    I’ve rung council and there answer is generic. I’m certain they just want our hard earned cash

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Mark,
      All structural changes to a building require some form of approval.
      We suggest you talk with your local Building Surveyor. They may assess and approve your project as ‘Minor Works’, avoiding the full building approval process, but still providing a documented change to the building.
      DW

  52. Hi, do dormer windows normally require permits, or are they considered minor works? Consideration is a farmhouse in Baw Baw shire, rural Victoria.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Susan,
      The addition of dormer windows is a structural, aesthetic and roof plumbing alteration to the existing dwelling. It will also alter the energy efficiency and insulation values.
      I am of the opinion that it would require council building and plumbing approval, with the possibility of planning approval as well.
      If the farmhouse has heritage values, this also would need to be considered.
      I suggest talking with a local designer and building surveyor for more specific advice.
      DW

  53. Andy Hutchinson says:

    Hi. We want to put an outside office (from these guys – http://inoutside.com.au) in our garden. We’re looking at about 6mx3m. There is sufficient room in the back garden for it to be well clear (more than a metre) from the boundary fences. Many of the companies that sell these structures refer to 10a exemptions from the building code, but it seems to me that this is rather dubious as many of the uses they also refer to on their websites (studios, offices, study rooms etc) would be considered ‘habitable’. Can you tell me what boxes I’ll need to tick with my council (Shoalhaven in NSW) so that it meets all relevant regulations. Many thanks.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Andy,
      A 10a building is a non habitable building, as you have mentioned in your comment.
      If the home office was an addition to the dwelling, it would be considered ‘habitable’, therefore a 1a addition.
      In my opinion the outside office will also be a 1a.
      Your local building surveyor can verify this.
      DW

  54. Hi I’m wanting to remove my garage roller door and replace with a window what sort of if any approval do I need and will the council charge me anything to do so? Thanks

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Shannon,
      If your removing the roller door then it may be that you are changing the room from a garage to a habitable space.
      This may require a planning approval for a change of use, along with meeting the BCA (Building Code of Australia) requirements changing from a class 10 to class 1 space.
      Plans and fees would apply in this case.
      DW

  55. Ramzy Rizkalla says:

    Hi, My friend has a 2 story home, he would like to rent out the ground floor. is he needs a council approval in NSW to separate the electricity and the gas supply and all he needs to do is to make a new timber wall to separate the ground floor from the back entrance door to his 2nd floor,
    What is your advice.
    thanks

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Ramzy,
      Renting out the lower floor of your friends home is more than just separating the services.
      Council must first approve of the dwelling being split, having a lower floor flat and there is quite a bit of work that would need to be done to the building.
      Te big ticket item is the two floors must be fire separated.
      His / Her local Building Designer / Architect and / or Building Surveyor can provide more specific advice, along with Council itself.
      DW

  56. KATE ROADLEY says:

    Hello, we are in the process of getting a builder to split our double garage into a single and the other half a lounge room, with internal access from the hall to the future lounge. We are installing a window to the front. Does this require approval (Vic) There is no works structurally. Just a window and freestanding wall.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Kate,
      Please refer to my comments to Andy.
      Same applies to you.
      Going from a 10a space (garage) to a 1a space (lounge) is a change of use, therefore requiring council approval.
      DW

  57. Legal question if anyone can help me.
    I have building approval in Penrith which includes a house a detached garage. My builder included garage in plan is per council requirements however it is stated that it will be build separately by owner. Am I legally obliged to build a garage? I don’t want waste my money and build it at all. I want to install a cheap carport. I can see that the carport does not require the approval from the council. My land is a battle axe block and neither the garage nor a carport can be seen from the street. My builder promised that I’ll be able to get interim building certificate and be able to move in and will get the full one when I finish fence, garage, landscaping. Is it possible to get on without the garage? Do I have to go to a court? How can I appeal?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      You can apply for an amendment to the original approval, altering the garage to a carport, or deleting it.
      It is standard practice to alter plans after the construction phase in some cases.
      DW

      • admin@everythingbuilding says:

        Hi Dave,
        Generally fences or screens up to a certain height don’t requure approval.
        A brick fence would require a footing so may require a ‘minor works’ permit.
        Check with your local Building Surveyor.
        DW

  58. Sally Wilson says:

    My neighbours (adjoining semi) intend to knock down the back wall and extend 3 mts out. They also intend to reconfigure the interior e.g. adding a wall to make a 3rd bedroom and rebuild a new bathroom in a new location. Also change doors and windows. They say they don’t know a DA as they have done it before! Creating angst between us as I insist on a DA. Who is right?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Sally,
      Not all building projects require a DA, subject to complying with council’s planning scheme guidelines.
      Building approval would be required and council would require a DA when the building application is lodged if the project is outside the planning scheme guidelines.
      If concerned, you can talk with your local council.
      DW

  59. Hello

    Do I need a building approval to construct a freestanding brick wall to screen a shed? 3m x 2m . Byford Wa

  60. Do I need to get a demolish permit to take down a standalone garage? If I do need a permit, just wondering if I still need to get a permit if it actually collapse because of storm damage, earthquake etc..

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Dan,
      Generally you require council approval for any building demolition but there is no process if the building is damaged or falls down due to a natural event.
      DW

  61. Pavla Miller says:

    hello,

    I plan to build a timber shed on flat ground on a concrete slab well away from any boundaries on a bush block on Flinders Island. There already is a house there, and the shed will not have any plumbing. What is a maximum floor area and height of such a shed before it requires council approval?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Pavla,
      There are currently two options with outbuildings.

      This extract from the Tasmanian Building Regulations 2014 explains what can be built without requiring approval.
      Please note though, the regulations will be changing, possibly by January 2017.
      There will be variations to the below information but we don’t have the specifics yet.

      Type 1 exempt outbuilding means a non-habitable outbuilding where –
      (a) the total area does not exceed 10 square metres; and

      (b) no side is longer than 3.2 metres; and

      (c) no part is more than 2.4 metres above finished ground level; and

      (d) it is not situated within one metre of a drain or service easement; and

      (e) if it is situated in a bushfire-prone area, it is not within 6 metres of any habitable building;

      Type 2 exempt outbuilding means a non-habitable outbuilding where –
      (a) the total area does not exceed 18 square metres; and

      (b) the roof span does not exceed 3 metres; and

      (c) no part of the building is higher than 2.4 metres above finished ground level; and

      (d) no part of the building is closer than 900 millimetres to any other building on the site or to the property boundary; and

      (e) no part of the building is located forward of the building line; and

      (f) no excavation or deposit is greater than 500 millimetres in depth; and

      (g) it is not situated within one metre of a drain or service easement; and

      (h) if it is situated in a bushfire-prone area, it is not within 6 metres of any habitable building.

      Happy shed building.
      DW

  62. Kylie Cary says:

    Hi,
    I had a builder out to quote me to put in a new door way going from my bedroom into a past bathroom.
    I intend on turning the bathroom into a walk in robe and ensuite bathroom.

    I have already removed pre existing tiles to wall and a rusted out bath tub.

    Do i need council approval to remove floor tiles and have fitted a spa bath tub in a different location in that bathroom
    There is already drain pipes there from laundry sink i will be removing.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Kylie,
      This a Council specific question.
      Some councils will allow alterations within an existing bathroom without approval, whilst others do require, at least, a ‘Minor Works’ application.
      Check with your local council Building and Plumbing department. They will provide you with their specific requirements.

      Darryn White.

  63. Hi,

    I replaced old cladding on my holiday home, which was damaged and turned out to be asbestos so I got in a licensed asbestos removalist, with DuraTuff cladding, which I understand has a very high fire rating.

    Did I need to get a building approval to replace old cladding?

    Also I replaced old rusted corrugated roofing with new (same style) and installed insulation and sisalation underneath. Also replaced the old gutters and downpipes which were broken.

    Did any of this need building or plumbing approval. I thought at the time all I was doing was replacing old broken items with new. But am now not so sure.

    Thanks

    Steve

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Steve,
      Generally replacing ‘like for like’, with no structural changes can be done without the consent of council.
      At worst, a ‘Minor Works’ application submitted through your local Building Surveyor would cover any remedial works carried out.

      Darryn White.

  64. Hi,

    here’s a list of stuff I want to do on my place – what will I need building approval for before I can start?

    1. Replace old rotting external doors with new externally rated doors
    2. Replace windows with ones of same width, but different height (windows look out onto empty crown land)
    3. replace the wiring in the house and upgrade the switchboard
    4. replace faulty plumbing
    5. Install a new water tank (15000 ltrs) and connect by pump to the house
    6. Cut down overgrown bush, including boobyalla trees surrounding house ( has been unlived in for over 10 years but block used to be clear)
    7. Remove old water tank stands (concrete)
    8. Spray round up on thistles that have grown over the property
    9. Remove old barn doors form the shed and close off the wall
    10. Install 2 small new windows for natural light in shed – windows look out onto crown land

    Need to make sure as the neighbours are apparently very quick to go to council about anything in the area.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Cam,

      Most of what you are intending to do would either need no approval or at maximum a ‘Minor Works’ approval.
      Any structural changes, such as fitting new windows do require building approval.
      Is the property Heritage Listed?
      If so, you would require a ‘Works Application Approval’ from the local Heritage Authority.
      Contact your local Building Surveyor and have them assess the works you wish to carry out.

      Darryn White.

  65. Hi, expert

    I am selling my property which has a carport next it.
    I didn’t ask for the document from the previous owner.
    It was built in 1980. Did the carports need approvals back then?

    regards
    Lee

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Chun Lee,
      You would need to ask your local council that question.
      Generally all new structures require / required some form of approval.
      If it required approval in 1980 and doesn’t have any, then it would still be required.

      Darryn White

  66. Marco Morelly says:

    Hi
    I am trying to buy a block of land, the owners have done some alterations nd a bit of cut amd fill in the area and Im pretty sure that they cut some trees down when they did it
    (This was done without council approval)
    Or at least they dont know cus when i went to the council to find out a bit more about the land and restrictions.. they dont know about it
    They actually have a very old contour map..
    So my questions is: if I buy the land , can I get fines for all the alterations or trees cut down by the previous owners ? And dont approve my building design? Or they would bck to the previous owners and make them pay?
    I just dont want to get in troubles
    Thank you very much

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Marco,
      I have never heard of anyone getting into trouble over tree removal by a previous owner.
      If your concerned, I suggest contacting council and advising them that you were not responsible and provide photo evidence.
      It is up to them as to what action they may / may not take.

      DARRYN WHITE

  67. Cath White-Murphy says:

    Hello again,
    I need to know can I replace a old paling fence (just about to fall down) with colourbond fencing,I will cover the cost,it’s about 4m long,do I need council permission,next door is a rented property,trying to create some privacy…..
    Kind Regards
    Cath …..

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Cath,
      Generally for a standard fence up to 1800 high you don’t need council approval.
      ‘Colorbond’ fences are acceptable and light weight so would be ok.
      If you like, check with the planning department at your local council, to see if there are any planning restrictions.
      It would be surprising if there were.

      DARRYN WHITE

  68. Timothy SMITH says:

    Hey, were looking at building two rooms within an existance room (60sqm rumpus). No external windows or external doors, just two internal doors. Will we need aporoval?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Timothy,
      If the wall is a non load-bearing partition wall it doesn’t require building approval.
      However council require up to date plans of any changes, so you should lodge a ‘Minor Works’ application to council through your local Building Surveyor.

      Darryn White

  69. Hi I want to renovate my existing patio – change roofing and install composite decking. the current floor is cement, so the decking will be placed over it. do I need council approval please?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Ramona,
      Replacing ‘like for like’ doesn’t generally require council approval.
      If the decking is going straight on top of the concrete, you won’t require council approval.
      To play it safe, contact the local ‘Building Surveyor’ in your area.

      Darryn White

  70. Hi, I’d like to change four brick piers under my house to steel columns (something like a UniPier) and go in the same spot. The floor to ceiling height is 2.1m.
    Do I need council approval to do this. I live in the Blacktown area.

    Thanks, Richard

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Richard,
      What you propose to do is considered structural work, so would require some form of approval.
      My suggestion is to contact your local Building Surveyor and discuss your project.
      They may suggest lodging a ‘Minor Works’ application with council.

      Darryn White

  71. do i need council approval to put 2x transportable dongas on my property in nsw classed at rural 1?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Krystie,
      Even transportable dongas require council approval.
      Check with your local council, as you may also require planning approval on top of building and plumbing approval.

      Darryn White

  72. I have a brick veneer house and would like to paint it like a cement look do I need council approval thankyou

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Louisa,
      Painting and / or rendering a home doesn’t need council approval, other than the possible intended colour.
      Check with your local council re any planning restrictions in your area for specific colours.
      Some councils require this.

      Darryn White

  73. Also I replaced an old kitchen with a new kitchen

    Also bathroom and laundry but I put all the new stuff the same as the old would I or should of got council approval

    Thank you

  74. Annette Furtado says:

    HI, I would like to remove the roller door from the garage and put up a plastered wall in its place so that I could use the garage as a storage room. Do i need council approval for this.

    Thank you
    Annette

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Annette,
      You may need to check with council, because by turning your garage into a storeroom you may be removing a ‘required’ parking spot.
      Even if you don’t park there currently.
      If you have plenty of on site parking it wouldn’t be a problem.

      Darryn White

  75. Hi, I have an alfresco adjacent to my dining area. I want to enclose the alfresco with sliding doors I need also to have concreting work on top of the existing concrete floor of the alfresco floor to be the same level as floor inside . Do I need to have a council approval for this??

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Froxy,
      You may not need full council approval, however you may need to lodge a ‘Minor Works’ type application with your local building surveyor.
      Your local council will require up-to-date details of the alterations to your house.

      Darryn White

  76. I bought an old house for one dollar. To get it bush fire compliant as a class 1 building was too hard (mostly because the fire planners do not understand the Bernulli principle. It’s only been known to physicists since 1738 so I am sure they will understand how it affects wind next to steep hills one day soon. Arguing with them is slightly less worthwhile than arguing with some council employee with a TAFE diploma about the mathematics of building materials science (it’s abysmal in quality – how it is allowed to exist let alone be used to set standards should be an affront to all Australians. Trust me, I have a PhD in this) so I shrugged and accepted their ruling that it would be too hard to bring a sound 40 year old Australian hardwood house to modern standards which are supposed to ensure a 25 year workable lifespan. The house will become a class 10A shed – which the planners agreed was no fire risk and I get a 130 square meter shed for a dollar plus my labour – which based on having done this several times in another country will take me less than a week – the net value being thus a long way under $5000 – unless I am to value my time at the rates of the professionals I am legally forced to hire to work on my class 1 house – who do worse job and know less about it than I do. It is on my approved development application – I therefore will have planning consent for it. I have an owner builder permit. However, it would be foolish to imagine that I can do the cheap, effective and safe process of cutting it apart, winching the sections onto my truck, and putting them together without several reams of paperwork and large fees and zero guarantees or acceptance of responsibility. I already know I have to apply for permission to demolish the house and take safety measures to ensure the welfare of neighbours and passers-by – the nearest of whom is more than a kilometer away – but the same rules apply as if in central Hobart. But what other delights await me? I know it’s bigger than 25 sqm and taller than 3 meters so there are regulations. But I am damned if I can find them.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Dave,
      Based on what you have expressed I would suggest contacting on of the local Building Surveyors listed on this site and they can explain your options based on the current legislation and the new legislation which will be in place January 2017.

      Darryn White

  77. chris kohen says:

    hello,
    i wanted to purchase a property that is an ex teachers cottage on land that was a school in NSW. None of the buildings,home,school yard toilet block,outbuildings etc have council approval tho all built by state govt and all services are currently connected and rates are paid on water,garbage etc.
    Some real estate agents have informed me that buildings older than 7 years that have received no complaints are then considered to comply and don’t need council approval.Is this correct?
    thank you

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Chris,
      Normally it is the case that structures built without approval remain ‘illegal structures’ until the appropriate approvals are sought.
      In this case I am unsure as to where you stand.
      My advice is to check with the local council. They will provide you with the definite answer you require.

      Darryn White

  78. We have just bought a house and it has a big outside alfresco built into it and deck. I would like to put glass and sliding doors in it rather than cafe blinds. Do l need permission for something like that or is there something better l could use to enclose it from rain.

    Thank you

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Chezza,
      By enclosing the area with glass you may be effecting the natural ventilation to other rooms.
      You can have ‘borrowed’ ventilation from the new enclosed space but this may have to be assessed.
      Consult with your local building surveyor as this may just be considered as ‘minor works’ or ‘un-notifiable’ works.

      Darryn White

  79. Hi Darryn,

    Thanks for your forum. Im wanting some advice on what to expect / what i need to do to make this legal. We want to convert our garage to a photography studio. The garage wall forms the boundary to our neighbours and the other side wall has a door to the laundry. We want to change the roller doors to sliding doors, plaster the walls and put down floating floors. Thanks

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi James,
      Changing your garage into a studio is defined as a ‘Change of use’ under your local council’s planning guidelines.
      You need to check with your local council re impact on the parking in your area along with your intended use.
      The physical changing of the spaces is quite straight forward, as long as you meet the planning requirements.

      Darryn White

  80. If we want to use a crane parked on the road (no footpath) to transport goods to the back of our property (likely 50t crane), do we need approval to do so?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Mel,
      Check with your local council or road authority.
      There would be some requirement to notify them due to any traffic disturbance and safety concerns.

      Darryn White

  81. Stuart Thorn says:

    Hi
    I am looking at renovating a 1980’s on suite bathroom .. ie particle board floor etc etc. I visited Hobart Council offices today to try and clarify as to whether I need to have a licenced waterproofer do the water proofing or is it something I can do?
    Their response was very none committal .. you would think there would be a document that laid it all out for a home renovator.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Stuart,
      Replacing ‘like for like’, under the new Building Act 2016, with non-structural repairs, replacement of components and maintenance of existing building, is considered ‘Low Risk Building Work’ Category 1
      and can be done by the owner, competent person or licensed builder.
      I your case I would suggest that the works in the bathroom fit into this category therefore you as the owner or competent person can do the work.
      For absolute verification on this consult one of the building surveyors listed on this site.

      Darryn White

  82. Would my parents need to get council approval to move a window from the back of the house to the side of the house?
    They had extensions done to the back, which meant the window backed onto the room and that meant no air into the back room.
    So they moved the window to the side of the house.
    Neighbor has complained saying it impeaches on his privacy?
    Not sure why he can have windows facing the side of my parents home but he says they can’t have one facing his?
    Mind you he is the biggest whinger ever put on earth so that doesn’t help.
    Any information appreciated.
    Thanks.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Lisa,
      There is a high chance your parents would need planning approval for the relocated window.
      There are generally guidelines re windows facing neighbouring properties which are close.
      I suggest you talk with your local council or have a licensed designer have a look at it for you.

      Darryn White

  83. Haide Groves says:

    Hi
    We bought a large house on acreage that has town water but no sewerage (we have septic with grey water overflow). The house is a 2 storey brick with steel frame. The 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom are all upstairs and downstairs is bricked on the outside but not “sealed” or separated into rooms. I have a couple of queries.
    1. We would like to change upstairs to having 2 en-suited bedrooms & a small study and put in 2 en-suited bedrooms, a media room and gym room downstairs as well as a lounge area and wet bar . My question is – if we are not on town sewerage and are not changing the number of bedrooms in the house (only the convenience of extra toilets), do we need to get building approval from the council? (Redlands in Qld).
    2. The previous owner builder was an engineer and went a bit mad on the amount and thickness of the steel beams downstairs. We would like to put in a couple of glass sliding doors that would look out to the pool area. There are steel posts that are 2.4m apart supporting a steel beam and we would look at putting the doors in between these without compromising any of the existing structure (the brickwork already has cracks in that the building and pest guy told us was nothing more than a veneer really and did not do anything to hold up the upper floor). Will these need approval?
    3. The floor downstairs is currently large cream tiles on concrete and as I said earlier, there is no sealing work or rooms (just one big area downstairs) where you can see all the joists, plumbing, wiring, etc from upstairs. The distance from the tile to the bottom of the joist is just on the 2.4m minimum, so what we are looking at doing is removing the old tiles and polishing the concrete so that when we put in the plasterboard for the ceilings, it should still come in at just on the 2.4m minimum. The problem is, there are bigger wider beams that run in a cross section across the whole downstairs that we cannot always hide in walls and I want to know if the ceiling height has to be the same everywhere or can there be a majority minimum height of 2.4m with the occasional area that is lower and still be legal?

    Thanks

    Haide

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Haide,
      Any changes you wish to make, including new en-suites, will require plans and some level of approval, depending on Queensland’s regulatory requirements.
      For the ceiling down stairs, the Building Code of Australia does allow for ‘projections’ into a room below the ceiling height of 2400.
      Considerations are depth of the projection, (clearance below the projection no lower that 2000) and placement of smoke alarms around the projections.

      Darryn White

  84. Hi

    We’ve had a spiral staircase, internal wall and window put into our house to create a downstairs rumpus and study (the rumpus or ‘utility room’ was already there, we created internal access to it though. The builder assured me that no council permit required, but I now realise he was wrong.

    If I was to go through the retrospective approval process, with costs involved, would it be reasonable to expect the builder to contribute to the costs and if any amendments are needed expect him to do them to bring it up to standard?

    We’re planning on selling this year, and I’m wanting it to not come to bite us during that process. Realising my naivety.

    Thanks
    N

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi N,
      Regardless of whether the approvals were sought before construction or after, you would be up for fees.
      It is council’s discretion to place a fine on parties that seek retrospective approvals, however some councils will be more lenient if you
      instigate the process yourself.

      Darryn White

  85. Hi
    My daughter is converting her garage in Wollongong into a self contained studio.

    I found the following info which I thought would apply ….but she was told by builder that she would need a DA because it was free-standing. Is that true??
    Thanks
    Bob

    “Private Certifier will asses the prepared Complying Development application

    Section 149 Certificate SEPP – Compliance Guide
    This comprehensive guide lists the critical steps to checking your Section-149 Certificate for compliance with the SEPP. What’s the SEPP?
    The ‘SEPP’ is the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy for Affordable Housing, often abbreviated as the ARHSEPP or AHSEPP. This stands for Affordable Rental Housing SEPP. The AHSEPP was released by the NSW Government in 2009 and allows many properties to gain approval for a granny flat. Specifically, compliance with the SEPP is a win for developers because:
    1. Compliance with the AHSEPP saves time by allowing a Private Certifier (or Council) to approve granny flat proposals within just 10 working days. Here, we have our own Private Certifier, who approves around 4 to 5 granny flats every week.
    2. Compliance with the AHSEPP saves money because you can get the cheaper approval as a Complying Development Certificate (CDC). It means you don’t need to apply for a separate Development Approval (DA) and Construction Certificate (CC). You can also save money because the ‘conditions of consent’ are generally more relaxed for a CDC versus a combined DA and CC”.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Bob,
      Converting a building from a Garage to a Studio is deemed a ‘Change of Use’ under most council planning schemes.
      It is most likely that in your daughter’s case a DA would be required.
      Check with one of the ‘Private Certifiers’ or council to confirm.

      Darryn White

  86. What is the approval process from application for approval of construction to occupation of a 2 story dwelling in NSW???

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Kuma,
      The process in all states is very similar.
      All involve a planning application, if required, and the building / plumbing approvals, specific to the project.
      Time-frames will vary from job to job.
      Your local council and / or designer can provide you with the specific process for your needs and area.

      Darryn White

  87. john clark says:

    hi was wondering I am looking at lining the walls to the inside of a external carport away form the house thus not making any changes to the structure will this need any approvals in devonport tasmania

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi John,
      The new Building Act 2016 has many allowances for repairs and maintenance to Class 10 Structures, of which the carport fits into.
      Lining the walls converts it from a carport to a garage which is still a class 10 structure.
      As long as you meet all the council planning scheme guidelines and are not in a bush-fire prone area I suggest, your alterations would be considered ‘Low Risk Building Work’.
      I recommend you talk with a local building surveyor to confirm my thoughts, as the Building Act can be and has been misinterpreted.

      Darryn White

  88. Hi Guys,

    Could you please tell me if i need to be licensed to put a new window of the same size in my home?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Greg,
      Generally replacement ‘like for like’ doesn’t require any council applications. If you increasing the size of the window it may require the form of a ‘minor works’ application.
      I suggest you check with your local building surveyor to verify.

      Darryn White

  89. Reinhold Krueger says:

    Hi Darryn, I wanted to build a garage on our current parking site within the Kingborough Council in Tasmania and received a permit but later found that it would cut across a sewerage line, and so was not within guidelines. Now I would like to place a 6x3m Hgh Cube shipping container on the site, with suitable setbacks etc. It would be placed on concrete pads and be used as a studio and/or spare room for very occasional visitors ie. habitable. Does a container as such require council approval (I see that new regulations allow up to 18 sq.m structures to be built without permits); also is it really a ‘building’, being transportable?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Reinhold,
      It is very unlikely that you will get approval for any structure over a sewer main. Taswater can verify this if you contact them direct.
      As you mentioned, you can build a ‘Class 10’ structure up to 18m2 as an owner builder, without formal approvals, but only if it meets all council planning guidelines and doesn’t interfere with any assets, such as underground drains.
      A shipping container does fall under this same classification but still needs to meet the same guidelines.
      A studio or spare room is considered a ‘Class 1’ structure or Habitable space therefore falling outside the above mentioned allowances.
      My advice is to discuss your options with council or a building surveyor. Some are listed on this website.

      Darryn White

  90. Hi Darren,
    Do I need council approval to get a portable building granny flat placed in my back yard in NSW?
    A local company manufacturing portable buildings website state “Portable Buildings are actually classified differently as the structure is pre-built in a factory and arrive to your site fully assembled, along with the fact that they are ‘portable’ which means they can be picked up and moved/transported at anytime. Temporary / Portable structures does not require council approval in the ACT or NSW”
    I look forward to hearing seeing your comments. Kind regards, Joe

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Joe,
      There may be specific guidelines or allowances with your local council but as a whole you require some form of approval, or at least assessment for any structure on your property.
      My suggestion is to talk to your local council and outline exactly what you are planning and ask for written clarification as to the level of council involvement.

      Darryn White

  91. Hi guys,
    I want to install an ensuite in our current bedroom. Will I need approval for that?
    Located NSW

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi David,
      An ensuite involves new plumbing and waterproofing as part of the build.
      These two items alone generally require council approval of some form.
      Consult your local building surveyor for specific clarification.

      Darryn White

  92. If something is not captured under an exemption (Timber retaining wall)
    in regards to distance to easement (closer than 1.5) but complies with height requirements (under a meter) would it be likely possible that it could be rebuilt to fall under the exemption instead of demo or would it be more likely they require build details and fees for a permit?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi S.P,
      It depends on which state and local council you are with.
      Some state laws do differ so I can not provide specific guidance.
      Talk with your local Building Surveyor for clarification of what you can do.

      Darryn White

  93. Hi.
    Council instructed me to remove a brick fence at the front of my property, due to some cracks, that it had no DA approval, that it did not comply with todays building codes and that I had constructed it with permission. The letter was in the form of a threat if it was not removed within 4 weeks it would incur up to $1 million fine. From the date I received letter a week had elapsed as they posted in general mail. I rang the officer concerned stating I would repair the cracks, he was adamant that no repairs to be made and to demolish.
    No record was found of DA’s in council records but council records advised they lost a lot of record from a flood in file room. I have owned the property for 10 years and have found previous owner over 21 years ago who built wall with council approval, since then 4 different owners before myself.
    Do I have recourse.

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Leon,
      Unfortunately it sounds like your word against council’s.
      There should be some opportunity to apply for planning approval prior to demolition.
      If that fails then they may be able to enforce their determined action.
      This could become more of a legal battle so discussing your options with a legal representative could be your best option.

      Darryn White

  94. I am looking at buying a house <10 yrs old in Launceston Tasmania. It has a standard double garage on the street front but down the side underneath the back of the main part of the house it has a rumpus/workshop area which has its own external door, is fully finished (plastered, light fittings, power points, carpet etc) it also has a complete bathroom and a kitchenette- type area. Next to the external door there is a small single roller door – I wish to remove this and fit a window, so this room can be utilised as a normal living area.
    Would this require approval?

    • admin@everythingbuilding says:

      Hi Jeff,
      My suggestion is to check with council, as it may be determined by what the area is ‘officially’ classified as.
      Many garage areas are converted to living spaces without council consent, which potentially can cause issues in later years.

      Darryn White

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