Green Light to Build: Steps to Follow When Getting a Building Permit

Posted on: 5 February 2020

When constructing a new house or making some home improvements, you need a permit to show you have met all the structural, health and safety requirements. Constructing a building – whether residential or commercial — without a building permit is illegal in Australia, and it attracts hefty fines and losses. A building permit is a critical even when constructing additions such as carports, fences, garage, pergolas, verandas, retaining walls or decks — just to mention a few. Here's what to do when getting a building permit:

Make a Good Project Plan

If you have a building project, get its scope first and identify the expertise needed to complete it. If you are building a new house, consult an engineer and architect to help you plan the project and create the right designs. They know the mitigation techniques the project needs to reduce natural hazards among other future risks. It's even cheaper when integrating these mitigation techniques in the property's upgrade and maintenance. The department issuing building permits expects a qualified general contractor to carry out the mitigation, rebuilding or construction work.

Consult a Code Official

Schedule a meeting with a local code representative before you apply for the building permit. This prevents any potential problem or future risks that could cost you money and time. The code official assesses your project and determines if you need a building permit for it. During the pre-application meeting, the code official knows the documents needed to get the permit and any other local requirements to meet. You don't just require a building permit when doing some mitigation work or building a new structure but also when rehabilitating a historic building, doing major repairs and alterations and installing plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems.

Wait for the Review Process

After submitting your permit application document, wait for it to be reviewed. Here, the code official reviews the document to find out if it complies with the local construction, building code, environmental and zoning requirements. If you plan to build a complex property, the code official will assess the project design before they issue the building permit. The review process may take more days, depending on your construction designs and local building rules. However, a design expert could help you complete the necessary documents to shorten the waiting period. If the design plans satisfy the code official, they will issue the building permit, and if they don't, the official will recommend what to correct to get through the review process.

Get the Permit

The construction project only starts after the building permit has been issued. The permit outlines the local building requirements, approved plans and other applicable regulations the project should stick to. It also indicates the application, review and inspection fee you should submit. If you have some air conditioning, heating, plumbing or electrical work, you may need a separate permit.