Steffan Harries

Building Approvals

You have your town planning permit. What now? You'll likely need to move onto your building approval.

Building approval, also known as certification, is necessary for any development that involves undertaking building work according to the Planning Act 2016 (PA) and relevant building legislation. This page explains what a Building Approval is and when you might need it.

What is a Building Approval?

Building approvals involve an assessment based on the Building Code of Australia (Volumes 1 and 2 of the National Construction Code) and Queensland’s building and plumbing regulations. These codes and regulations cover important aspects such as:

  • Sound design and construction for safety
  • Adequate fire safety measures
  • Protection against pests
  • Proper sewerage and drainage systems
  • Minimum standards for energy and water efficiency.

Typically, building approvals are issued once for a specific structure or building. However, building legislation may require technical inspections at different stages of the building process, including completion.

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Who can do a Building Approval?

Accredited private building certifiers issue building approvals. However, some Council can also provide building certification services upon request. It is in your best interest to obtain quotes from multiple certifiers before choosing a building certifier. Of course, our planners can also provide some recommendations.

The Planning Act 2016 and the Building Act 1975 require a private certifier to lodge building work documentation with Council.

What is the Building Approval process?

After obtaining Development Approval (DA), the next step is to obtain Building Approval (BA) before commencing construction. BA can also be referred to as building permits, development approvals, or building certification.

To determine whether building approval is required, organisations should consult with a Private Building Certifier who is knowledgeable about the Building Regulation. Minor structures or repairs that are exempt from DA or self-assessable may also be exempt from BA.

Here are the steps involved in obtaining BA:


Do you need a building approval?

If you plan to construct a shed, pool, patio, or replace your roof, it is likely that you will need approval from a building certifier.

The structure will undergo assessment based on the Planning Act 2016 (PA) and other relevant building legislation. This assessment ensures compliance with codes and regulations, taking into consideration factors such as:

  • Safety in design and construction
  • Adequate fire safety measures
  • Protection against pests
  • Proper sewerage and drainage (if applicable)
  • Meeting the minimum standards for energy and water efficiency

Common building projects that require building approval include:

  • Building Class 1a: Dwelling houses, additions and alterations, aged accommodations, utility rooms, sunrooms, etc.
  • Building Class 10a: Pergolas, patios, shipping containers (over 30 days on residential property), open shade/shelter/huts, storage sheds, decks, greenhouses, cubby houses, carports, animal accommodations, garages, gazebos, etc.
  • Building Class 10b: Flag poles, aerial/antennae/satellite dishes, fences (over 2m, swimming pool fences), pontoons, retaining walls, screening walls, detached decks, sunhoods, signs, roofing, portal pools and spas, swimming pools, etc.

If you have any doubts or questions, it is always advisable to contact your local council or a local building certifier. Ignoring concerns may lead to financial expenses for remedial actions and could result in fines from the council or potential legal action.

When do you not need a Building Approval?

Certain works may be classified as accepted development, according to the Building and Planning Act 2016. This means that while a building approval may not be required, the owner still has a responsibility to ensure that the structure meets standards in terms of structural quality, size, and adherence to planning scheme guidelines and Queensland Development codes.

Examples of accepted development include:

  • Small tool sheds, stables, or similar structures up to 10 square meters in area.
  • Fences not exceeding two meters in height (excluding swimming pool fencing).
  • Retaining walls up to one meter in height (subject to specific conditions).

For a comprehensive list of accepted (exempt) building works, please refer to Schedule 1 and 2 of the Building Regulation 2006. You can find the full list by following the provided link.

Before you get to you Building Approval, you might need a town planning permit. Get in touch with one of our planners now to discuss.

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