If you have outgrown your house but you don’t want to move, you might be considering a renovation or extension. A well-designed and constructed extension is great way to modernise and expand your living space, but before you start, you should be aware of what you’ll need to do in relation to council approval.

In Australia, the regulations regarding which house renovations require permits can vary depending on the state or territory, as each has its own building codes and requirements. However, generally speaking, minor renovations that don’t involve structural changes or significant alterations to the building typically don’t require permits.

Here are some examples:

Cosmetic Changes

If you want to breathe new life into your living spaces with simple, transformative cosmetic upgrades, you should be able to do them without any form of permit. Whether you’re looking to repaint walls, replace fixtures, update cabinetry or completely reimagine your home’s aesthetic, small changes can make a world of difference and can be done without the delay of waiting for permission. Even a full bathroom or kitchen renovation may not need a permit if there’s no structural changes. From vibrant paint colours that energise the senses to thoughtfully curated decor that sparks joy, every cosmetic enhancement is an opportunity to showcase your unique taste and enhance your lifestyle.

Interior Alterations

Envision a home that seamlessly adapts to your lifestyle, where every space is thoughtfully designed to maximise efficiency and elevate your daily experience. This is the essence of functional interior enhancements – the art of optimising your living environment to unlock its full potential.

Whether you’re looking to create a more organised and productive workspace, establish a serene sanctuary for relaxation, or simply streamline the flow of your daily routine, removal of non-load bearing walls, updating finishes, or installing new built-in furniture generally don’t require permits if they don’t affect the building’s structure.

Non-Structural Repairs

Repairing or replacing existing non-structural elements such as windows, doors, and roofs typically don’t require permits, unless they significantly alter the building’s structure or footprint.


Unlocking the full potential of your outdoor space and creating an outdoor haven right at home is easy. With a little creativity and inspiration, you can turn your backyard into a tranquil retreat that nourishes the soul and allows you to enjoy the great outdoors.

Making changes to your landscaping, such as planting trees, shrubs, or flowers, building small garden structures like sheds or pergolas (if they’re within size limits), and installing pathways or decks at ground level often don’t require permits.

It’s important to note that even if a renovation doesn’t require a permit, it must still comply with relevant building codes, standards, and regulations to ensure safety and quality. Always check with your local council or building authority to confirm whether your planned renovations require permits, as regulations can vary widely. 

When Do I Need to Seek Approval?

If you’re planning significant house extensions, a double story addition, or your project involves substantial excavation, or new freestanding buildings like granny flats or studios you’ll almost certainly require planning and building permits.

Depending on your council, some small projects like a new deck or fence may also need approval. Similarly, rules and regulations regarding the construction of a carports, sheds, pergolas, or retaining walls vary greatly between councils. Different councils have different height or size restrictions, and rules about how close to property boundaries you can build.

Buildings under the heritage overlay usually need approval for almost anything, whether it’s local council approval or approval from the heritage council. Construction in environmentally sensitive areas and bushfire prone areas may also require some form of council approval.

In any case, if you aren’t sure whether your project requires approval or not, it’s always best to check. The penalties for undertaking construction without the necessary permits can be disastrous – you may face hefty fines and even be forced to re-do or rectify any work that has been done.

By understanding the renovation guidelines in your area, you can seamlessly blend your vision with the necessary precautions and create the home of your dreams.

If you really want to make the renovation process hassle-free, work with a reputable home builder who will take care of everything for you! From concept to completion, the team at Duncan Thompson Extensions handle everything for our clients’ house extensions. Melbourne homeowners have trusted us for over 30 years to transform their outdated homes into contemporary masterpieces that function for modern family living.

To get a quote from experienced home extension builders, Melbourne homeowners should contact us online now or call 9836 8655 today.