If you’re thinking about a home extension, either single or double storey, and you have your design ready to go, it’s time to apply for some permits and think about engaging a builder and building surveyor. Don’t think of the permit application process as a negative, as it’s there to ensure your build is safe, legal, and respectful of both the environment and the community.

What are Permits?

As an integral component of the construction process, building approvals are required in almost every build or renovation project to ensure that basic health, safety and ecology standards are met.

Planning permit – a legal document giving permission for land to be used for development purposes. They’ll also cover elements like aesthetics and boundary regulations.

Building permit – written approval from a registered building surveyor that your building project is ready to commence. It indicates that your plans and specifications comply with council or safety regulations, and allows building work to start.

Do I need Planning Permission?

Before you start your home extension or renovation, you or your agent must find out from the local council whether you need a planning permit. If so, you must get one before you can get a building permit.

It’s best to check with your local council, however, the basic rules state that planning permission may be required if the extension:

  • Covers more than half the area of land surrounding your home
  • Extends towards a road
  • Increases the overall height of the building
  • Extends more than 6 metres from the rear of an attached house
  • Extends more than 8 metres from the rear of a detached house
  • Is taller than 4 metres
  • Is more than half the width of your house
  • Uses different materials to those of the original house
  • Includes a balcony or raised veranda

Councils may not provide you with a permit if you don’t meet their regulations and/or your neighbours complain or object about the nature of your home extension. With this in mind, you should also consult your neighbours when you begin planning your home extension.

How Do I Obtain Permits?

As the home owner, it is your responsibility to make sure any planning and building permits are obtained prior to commencement work. Fortunately, you can nominate someone like your builder, architect or draftsperson to act as your ‘agent’ and have them source the permits on your behalf.

Appointing a Building Surveyor

A builder may recommend a private building surveyor, but you are free to appoint a private building surveyor of your choice. The building surveyor who issues your building permit should inspect the site at the completion of specific stages of work. It is the builder’s responsibility to advise the surveyor when work on each stage is complete and ready for inspection. You will also need to ensure that you have receive a copy of the required Certificate of Final Inspection or Occupancy permit when the work is complete from the building surveyor.

How Long is A Building Permit Valid?

The typical length of validity for a building permit will vary on some factors, including the nature of the building works. Generally, a building permit has a commencement validity of around 6-12 months and a completion validity of around 6-36 months.

Final Tips

  • Obtaining permits may be lengthy. Councils may take some time to process applications, so be patient.
  • If your application is rejected it may be possible to appeal. Be sure to talk to a professional first to make sure it’s worth your while

Don’t be overwhelmed by the planning application process. At Duncan Thompson Extensions we are here to help take away the stress and get your extension up and running quickly, we will talk you through the entire application process and communicate with you every step of the way. From Hawthorn to Hampton, Templestowe to Toorak, we are the leading home extension builder in the eastern and south eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Contact us today to find out how we can turn your vision into your new home.