Initial Steps of Your Project

Building terminology

  • Building plans
    • Building plans form the basis of a Building Permit. They consist of endorsed council plans (if applicable), working drawings, structural engineering plans, soil reports and other technical information about how the proposed building will be constructed.
  • Planning Permit
    • A Planning Permit is required for some renovation and extension work but should not be confused with a Building Permit. A Planning Permit is a legal document that allows for a particular development on a piece of land.
    • A Planning Permit is generally concerned with the size of a building, its impact on neighbouring properties and its external features and does not usually focus on the technical side of the construction. A Planning Permit alone does not allow building work to proceed but it is required for a Building Permit to be issued.
  • Building Permit
    • A Building Permit is a document issued by the Relevant Building Surveyor (RBS) certifying that proposed building work will comply with building laws, regulations and codes
    • The Building Permit application process begins by lodging a Form 1 – Application for A Building Permit with the RBS. This form is taken from the Building Regulations 2018 and details the proposed work, the parties involved and other details of the work. After this is received by the RBS there is generally a period of correspondence between the builder, designer, and engineer to ensure the design of the proposed work complies with relevant Acts, Regulations, Codes and Standards. If anything related to the design or documentation needs to be clarified or changed to comply, this will be detailed in a response letter – generally called a Request for Additional Information. Once the RBS is satisfied with the design and the other particulars of the documentation, and all mandatory fees and levies have been paid, they will issue a Form 2 – Building Permit
    • The quality and thoroughness of building plans has a significant effect on how long it takes to get a Building Permit. Poorly prepared or incomplete plans can result in a delay of three months or more between submitting the Form 1 and being granted a Building Permit.

The work involved in getting Building Permit approval can vary greatly.

For example:

An extension to an existing home on a large block in Reservoir generally does not require a Planning Permit or involve a heritage overlay. This means there is relatively little work in obtaining a Building Permit so long as the working drawings are thorough and comply with Acts, codes, regulations, and standards.

A home extension in an inner-city suburb such as Abbotsford, however, requires significantly more work and documentation to get Building Permit approval. A job like this may have complicating factors such as a party wall easement with both neighbours and may also involve a Heritage Overlay, town planning, overshadowing diagrams, council permits for the use of equipment on-street, and many other documents.