Large-Scale Renovations

Large-scale renovations on any building often comprise structural changes, which require a building permit from council.  A planning permit is also required if your building falls in a heritage overlay or the renovations are for commercial purposes.

Repair, Renewal or Maintenance

Health and Safety

Heritage Overlay

Your ‘property information’ is generally referred to in connection with mortgages, zones, overlays and easements affecting your property.  In turn this may affect your building plans, please check the following page for details on how to view this information:  Property Information.

Structural alterations to a building include:

  • Increasing or decreasing the floor area
  • Increasing or decreasing the height of the building
  • Underpinning, re-stumping or otherwise replacing the footing of a building.
  • Removing or altering any supporting element, such as a supporting or retaining wall

You will need a building permit to safely make a structural change to your house, particularly if you ever want to sell it.

If you have encountered suspected asbestos as a part of your renovation, please see the following section before work continues:  Encountering Asbestos.

Repair, Renewal or Maintenance

Generally ‘repair, renewal or maintenance’, - as long as it does not involve anything structural - is free of the requirement for building permit.

However, this exemption relies upon using the materials ‘commonly used’ for the same function as the ones being replaced. In other words, you can use the current equivalent of the materials being replaced.

For example, installing a skylight when repairing the roof would not qualify for the exemption from a building permit.

Health and Safety

If there are risks to the safety of the public and occupants, or if renovations limit or damage some essential safety measures such as fire exits, then renovations can be considered unsafe.  For example if the machinery for your building project blocks exits preventing evacuation in the event of a fire, it is unsafe for anyone in the building.

If a building project can possibly endanger the public or occupiers of the building, a building permit will be required for renovations.  Other requirements such as road closure or occupation permits may require a planning permit as well.

Heritage Overlay

You will need a planning permit if the renovation will be visible from outside the building or removes ‘period features’. See here for more information on renovating buildings under the Heritage Overlay.





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Last updated: 28 October 2015