When is a planning permit required?

Are you thinking of building your dream home? Designing and building a home that is uniquely yours can be an exciting adventure, but before a brick is laid, there are plenty of things to consider. Just one of these is a planning permit.

A planning permit is a legal document that provides consent to use or develop your land in a particular way and ensures you comply with regulations.  It usually contains a written document that includes the required conditions and the plans are what have been approved under the permit. This is not to be confused with a building permit, which is a separate document.

A building permit relates to the methods and carrying out of construction works to a building or development.  A registered Building Surveyor will issue this permit and will ensure that the plans and associated documents relating to construction comply with building regulations. A planning permit is required before a building permit can be approved and issued.

There are plenty of reasons one might need to apply for a permit of this type – for example, if you want to subdivide the land or construct a dual occupancy, you must get approval. However, there are also some other lesser-known situations that require consideration.

Here are some examples of when a permit is required:

  • Demolition – ensure the property isn’t heritage listed
  • Tree removal – an arborist report may be required to determine the condition of trees and vegetation
  • Retaining wall – you may be asked to look at property zoning, measure the wall and assess the wall’s position in relation to property boundaries.
  • Construction and works relating to a dwelling on a lot less than 500 square meters
  • Development and use of a multi-unit development
  • Changing the use of the land
  • Carrying out exterior works to a dwelling located within a Heritage Overlay
  • Constructing a tennis court or swimming pool

If you are going through the planning permit process, allow time (you may be surprised that it could take 6 – 12 months to go through the process to get all of the conditions approved). There can be a few amendments and submissions to get the documentation correct for approval.

With so many elements to consider, it may initially seem confusing as to whether you need a planning permit at all. The Planning Scheme website is an excellent resource for any questions you may have, as is your local council authority.

Each local government area will have its own new format scheme, so even if you have embarked on a project like this before, it is worth double-checking the limitations and considerations.

Penalties can apply if you don’t adhere to conditions that are outlined in your approved permit and if specified requirements aren’t met, the permit can expire.

Don’t let a paperwork issue slow down or halt your dream home. Make sure you thoroughly investigate whether you need a planning permit before commencing construction.