Building permits enforce regulations that are designed to protect your building, and, more importantly those who occupy them. Council does not currently issue building permits.
We can offer general advice and guidance to residents. If you would like to talk to a building surveyor to arrange a building permit, here is a list of registered surveyors that can assist.
Building permits relate specifically to the carrying out of building construction. However, sometimes a planning permit is also required depending on the project. We suggest speaking with our Planning team to determine if a planning permit is also required.
Is a building permit required?
Some minor works are exempt from obtaining a building permit but you should always contact our Building Department to discuss your project before starting works to ensure you comply with the Building Act and Building regulations.
An owner-builder is someone who takes responsibility for domestic building work carried out on their own land. If you become an owner-builder, you will take responsibility for:
- Ensuring a building permit is obtained and paying the building permit levy
- Supervising or undertaking the building work
- Ensuring the work meets building regulations and standards
- Notifying the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) if the estimated cost of works has increased at the end of the project.
If the value of the domestic building work you’ll be doing is over $16,000, you’ll need to have a certificate of consent from the VBA to be an owner-builder. The value of the building work includes labour costs and materials. It’s the estimated cost if you were to engage a registered builder to do the work. Your building surveyor or architect can help with calculating the cost of the work. To become an owner-builder in Victoria, you’ll need to meet several eligibility criteria. For instance, an owner-builder can only build or renovate one house every five years and must intend to live in the house once it is completed.
To find out more please visit the Victorian Building Authority website here.
Warning for potential owner-builders:
Do not submit an owner-builder application if you intend to engage one builder to do all the building work – you will not qualify as an owner-builder. Instead, you will need to enter into a domestic building contract with a registered building practitioner. Be wary if a builder or tradesperson asks you to sign a building permit as an owner-builder, even though they will be doing the work. This is risky and may end up costing you a lot more than you expect. The builder may be unregistered or trying to avoid their legal responsibilities.
Contact us or your lawyer to get advice before you agree to become an owner-builder in these circumstances:
- You and a builder, contractor or tradesperson must enter into a written contract for domestic building work costing more than $5,000
- A builder, contractor or tradesperson must give you domestic building insurance for work costing more than $16,000
- Warranties still apply
Selling an owner-built house
If you sell your owner-built home within six and a half years after the domestic building work has been completed (ie. from the date of issue of your occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection), you must:
- Obtain a defects report by a prescribed practitioner regarding the domestic building work. The report must not be older than six months and a copy must also be provided to the homebuyer
- Obtain owner-builder domestic building insurance covering the domestic building work and provide the homebuyer with a certificate of the insurance. Please note that the insurance may only come into effect if you die, disappear or are insolvent.
Note: If a registered building practitioner carried out the work under a major domestic building contract, the work should be covered by their domestic building insurance. However, you will also need your own domestic building insurance to cover any building work you completed. Domestic building insurance covers non-structural defects for two years and other defects for six years. After six years, the property is no longer covered by domestic building insurance.
If you sell your owner-built home on or after six years, but within six and a half years of completion of building work, you need only provide a defects report. A buyer of your home who finds defective building work that did not appear on the required defects report can make a claim against you for breach of statutory warranties. If the defective work was carried out by a registered building practitioner, then you may have a claim against that practitioner.
Forms and helpful information:
- Request for property information and legal point of discharge
- Report and consent form
- Application for Occupancy permit for a place of public entertainment and/or sitting approval for a prescribed temporary structure
- Application for report and consent for proposed demolition
- List of registered building surveyors
- Building File retrieval request form
- Victorian Building Associated website – being an owner-builder