Do I need a Building Permit?

Do I need a Building Permit?

Do I need a building permit? This question is asked of us upon almost every building enquiry we receive. Whilst the answer is clear, the information the consumers receive can be very misleading or over complicated.

A simplified approach and answer is almost always, yes building structures (including verandahs
& pergolas) require a building permit. Some sites such as a town house or small site may also need town planning approval, report and consent application or building modifications. Problems arising later on through non-compliance, etc can be a financial burden that should be avoided.

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a document issued by a registered building surveyor to signify that the plans and documentation for a proposed building work meets the requirements of the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006. The building permit provides approval for work to commence and is required for most new buildings, major renovations, extensions, alterations and demolitions.

Generally, verandahs and deckings for example, fall under the category of a Class 10 building project and if attached or adjacent to a dwelling are considered an extension to the dwelling.

Who issues Building Permits?

This is done by Building surveyors who evaluate and assess plans, conduct inspections and issue building permits. All building permits are lodged with your local council. Building surveyors are responsible for ensuring buildings are safe, energy efficient, accessible and meet all legal requirements.

When is a Building Permit required?

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, 222.01 KB)