When do you need a Building Permit?
A Building Permit is required for all major building projects including new homes, home extensions, garages and commercial projects. A permit is also required for many small projects including sheds, retaining walls, fences, decks, carports, verandahs, swimming pools and spas.
Building Permits are required for these projects regardless of the cost of the building project. To confirm if a particular building project requires a permit, visit the Planning Desk at the City of Ballarat, The Phoenix, 25 Armstrong Street South during business hours. Bring a detailed floor plan, site plan, and copy of title for assessment and advice.
How Do I Get a Building Permit?
A building surveyor is responsible for issuing a Building Permit at the commencement of a building project.
The surveyor should be engaged at the very start of the process, and can advise on documentation necessary to obtain the permit.
After the Building Permit is issued, the building surveyor will carry out a series of inspections at different stages throughout the project to ensure that the building work meets minimum standards.
What Projects Require a Building Permit?
- New homes
- New bungalows, outbuildings or studios
- Re-locatable buildings
- Commercial buildings
- Additions to a building
- Re-blocking or re-stumping
- Adding or removing structural parts of a building
- Alterations to a commercial building including layout changes
- Alterations to, or introduction of, an Essential Safety Measure including fire hose reels, fire hydrants, exit doors,fire extinguishers, exit signs, emergency lights, sprinklers.
- Verandahs (roofed structure)
- New verandahs
- Impermeable shade sails
- Pergolas (unroofed structure)
- New pergolas with a floor area greater than 20m²
- Permeable shade sails with a floor area greater than 20m²
- Converting a garage or shed into a habitable room
- Changing the use of a room/area in a residential or commercial building
Swimming pools and spas
- New swimming pools or spas capable of a water depth greater than 30cm
- Pool or spa safety barriers
- On corner blocks, front and side timber fences greater than 1.5m in height, within 3m of the front or side street boundary.
- On corner blocks, front and side masonry/brick fences greater than 1.2m in height, within 3m of the front or side street boundary.
- On corner blocks, any fence greater than 1m in height within 9m of the street corner point, measured in both directions along the boundary line of the block.
- Any side fence, between properties that is greater than 2m in height.
- Front and side timber fences greater than 1.5m in height, within 3m of the front boundary.
- Front and side masonry/brick fences greater than 1.2m in height, within 3m of the front boundary.
Decks and landings
- All decks and landings
Sheds, garages and carports
- All garages, sheds and carports
- A retaining wall within 1m of a boundary or another building
- A retaining wall greater than 1m in height
Masts and Antennas
- Greater than 3m above the building to which it’s attached
- Greater than 8m above the ground.
- Demolition/removal of any building with masonry features
- Demolition of a building with a floor area greater than 40m²
Projects NOT Requiring a Building Permit
- Replacement of non-structural external building components, for example weatherboards, doors or windows, if the building is not on a Heritage Register and the work will not adversely affect the public.
- Replacement of non-structural internal building components, for example kitchens, bathrooms and laundry units, if the building is not on a Heritage Register and the work will not adversely affect the occupiers.
- Wood heaters
- Construction of a steel or timber garden shed at the backyard of a dwelling, which has a floor area less than 10m² and is less than 3m in height, or less than 2.4m in height when within 1m of a boundary.
- Construction of a timber pergola at the backyard of a dwelling, which has a floor area less than 20m² and is less than 3.6m in height.
Changes to domestic building insurance
As of 1 July 2014, builders will need to provide domestic building insurance when the cost of building work is greater than $16,000 (previously, insurance was needed for building works greater than $12,000). This will save costs for relativley small projects and reduce regulatory burdens on businesses.
Domestic building insurance will now cover up to $300,000 (up from $200,000) to fix structural defects for six years, and non-structural defects for two years. This will provide coverage more in line with current building costs.
For more details see the Victorian Building Authority Website
Council's Building Department is available for all general and technical building enquiries during normal business hours or contact the Building Services team online via e-Services
Council continues to provide a free advisory service to the industry and the community in respect to all building control matters. Council will continue to undertake all other duties in respect to administering and enforcing the Building Act 1993 and all relevant building regulations.
All building permit applications should be made to a registered building practitioner.
Retaining walls : A 600mm high timber retaining wall is proposed to be located 400mm
from a boundary. A Building Permit is required as the retaining wall will be supporting or
protecting adjoining land
Decks / landings : A low timber deck is proposed to be constructed. A Building Permit is required for all decks or landings
Garden sheds : A 4.0m(L) X 2.4m(W) X 1.8m(H) freestanding steel garden shed is proposed to be installed at the backyard of a dwelling close to the rear and side boundary. A Building Permit is not required as the shed is less than 10m² and less than 2.4m in height
Verandahs (roofed) : A verandah is proposed to be constructed attached to a building. A Building Permit is required for all attached verandahs
Pergolas (unroofed) : A 6m(L) X 4m(W) X 2.7m(H) timber and shade cloth pergola is
proposed to be constructed attached to a building. A Building Permit is required as the pergola is greater than 20m²
Carport : A 6m(L) X 4m(W) X 2.7m(H) timber framed and metal roofed carport
is proposed. A Building Permit is required as the carport is greater than 10m²
Change of use : A garage is proposed to be used as a habitable room.
(a) A Building Permit is required to upgrade the building to reach the minimum standards required for the new use
(b) An existing retail shop is proposed to be used as a restaurant A Building Permit is required to upgrade the building to reach the minimum standards required for the new use
Swimming pool or spa : A spa with a depth greater than 30cm and with a lockable lid is
proposed. A Building permit is required as the spa depth exceeds 30cm and a lockable lid is not an approved safety barrier