When a building permit is required

Building Permits are required for almost all new buildings, alterations, demolition and change of use.  A permit must be obtained before the works commence.

You need a building permit for most commercial, industrial and residential developments. This enforces regulations that are designed to protect, owners, buildings and those who occupy them.

Building permits ensure that work is compliant with the Building Act 1993, Building Regulations 2018, National Construction Code and other standards.

This can include the following, regardless of cost of works:

  • new buildings
  • alterations and additions to current buildings
  • modifications to property drainage
  • pergolas (unroofed), verandahs & shade sails
  • decks and balconies
  • change of use of a building (such as warehouse to dwelling, or garages to rumpus rooms)
  • minor structures (carports, roller doors)
  • outbuildings (garages and sheds for storage)
  • fences and retaining walls
  • demolition of an existing building
  • structural works
  • swimming pool or spa.

Where a building permit is required, this must be granted prior to the commencement of any building works.

The Victorian Building Authority provides a PDF document called 'When is a building permit required' which provides guidance on when you do and don't need a building permit.

Appointing a building surveyor

Once you determine you need a building permit you need to select a building surveyor. The building permit and building surveying industry privatised in 1993 which means that Private Building Surveyors who work independently of councils, may issue a building permit within Victoria.

You have a choice between a variety of Private Building Surveyors - the Victorian Building Authority's website has a find a  practitioner function to assist, or you can use our services.

Our building staff have technical skills, expertise, and industry knowledge to assist you with your building projects. Find out more at Using Council to apply for a Building permit.

Deregistered building surveyors

When a private building surveyor is deregistered, or their registration is cancelled, please contact the Victorian Building Authority on 1300 815 127 for further information and advice.

Building permit fees

Your building permit fee will be determined by the building surveyor you choose.

If a private building surveyor is engaged, you will also be charged a statutory lodgement fee for each new building permit document submitted to Council regardless of cost of works.

You will also be charged a State Government Levy if the works cost more than $10,000.

How long does a building permit last?

Once approved a building permit has a period of time in which building works must commence and be completed.

As part of the process the building surveyor who issues the permit must follow the project through to the end, carry out inspections, issue an occupancy permit and / or a certificate of final inspection on completion of the works.

You cannot appoint or change another building surveyor once an appointment is made.

Any changes to the dates on the permits must be discussed with your building surveyor.


  • Building works must:
    • commence within one year of the building permit issue date
    • be completed within two years of the building permit issue date
  • Relocated dwellings must be:
    • commenced within six months of the building permit date
    • completed within 12 months of the building permit date.


Building works must be:

  • commenced within one year of the building permit date
  • completed within three years of the building permit date.

Swimming pools

  • Works must be completed (including safety barriers) within six months of the commencement of the building work.

Page last updated: Thursday, 24 August 2023