When do you need a building permit?
A building permit is needed for all major building projects including new homes, home extensions, garages and commercial projects. A permit is also needed for small projects including sheds, retaining walls, fences, decks, carports, verandahs, swimming pools and spas.
Building permits are needed for these projects regardless of the cost to build. To find out if a building project needed 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 start of a building project.
The surveyor should be included at the very start of the process, and can advise on what is needed to get a permit.
After the building permit is issued, the building surveyor will carry out inspections at different stages during the project to make sure the building work meets minimum standards.
What projects need a building permit?
- New homes
- New bungalows, outbuildings or studios
- Relocatable 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 that do not need 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 in 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
Builders will need to provide domestic building insurance when the cost of building work is greater than $16,000. This will save costs for relatively small projects and reduce regulatory burdens on businesses.
Domestic building insurance covers up to $300,000 to fix structural defects for six years, and non-structural defects for two years.
For more details see the Victorian Building Authority website.
You can talk to our Building Services team during business hours on 5320 5500 or contact them online via eServices.
We have a free advisory service for the industry and our community for all building control questions and queries.
The City of Ballarat follows and enforces the Building Act 1993 and relevant building regulations.
All building permit applications should be made to a registered building practitioner.
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.
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.
A verandah is proposed to be constructed attached to a building. A building permit is required for all attached verandahs.
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.
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) A garage is proposed to be used as a habitable room. 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.