Building Permits


Do I even need a permit in Gippsland?

If you are undertaking any building work on your property, you’ll need to find out whether your project requires a planning permit, a building permit or both. At Smart Choice Building Permits we strongly recommend you take the time to read over the information on this page. A good suggestion would be to ‘bookmark’ the page now and refer to it before, during and after your building project.

Don’t take chances

These permits are required by law and are designed to protect you. The Building Act 1993 (the Act) and Building Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) state that all building work requires a building permit unless an exemption exists under the Regulations. Don’t risk it, make sure you understand what is required.

If you are considering building work on your property to confirm whether a building permit or planning permit is required, you can contact one of the 6 main councils in Gippsland and of course, Smart Choice Building Permits and Inspections, Traralgon.

Why would I need a planning permit?

Planning permits give permission to develop or use land in a certain way. In most cases you’ll need a planning permit for a new home, extension, renovation or an additional dwelling on the land.

Where can I get a planning permit from?

The local council is responsible for issuing a planning permit. If you need a planning permit, it must be issued from your local council before you can obtain a building permit.

The contact details for the 5 main councils in Gippsland are:

You may need to engage a town planner to determine if you require a planning permit for your building project.

What homework do I need to do in order to apply for a permit?

Planning permit applications submitted to council may need to include the proposed design, planning report, shadow diagrams and other relevant documentation.

Why are building permits needed?

Having a building permit provides you with protection by ensuring:

  • the builders working on your project are registered and carry the required insurance
  • all documentation is prepared so the construction can be carried out correctly and according to building legislation
  • key stages of the work are inspected independently
  • your building is suitable for occupation

A building permit will specify that either an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection is required on completion of the building work. For more information, see At the end of your building project on the VBA website.

Are building permits always necessary?

Not all building projects require a building permit. Some may not even need one including:

  • some minor alterations or demolition work
  • pergolas associated with houses
  • some garden sheds with a floor area less than 10m2
  • repair work for maintenance purposes.

For more information, see When is a building permit required? (PDF, 336.31 KB)

Who will be helping me with my building permit?

Under the regulations of the Victorian Government, before applying for a building permit, you need to appoint a registered building surveyor. This is where we come in. As registered building surveyors, you can refer to us for your building permit process.

Can I authorise someone to apply for me?

Your architect or builder can apply for the building permit for you. However, you must first authorise them in writing to make the application on your behalf. If you have authorised another person to obtain a building permit on your behalf, you should check the relevant documentation and building permit before any work begins. Please do not sign blank forms, be sure to know what you are signing.

What will I need to include in my application:

  • submit at least three copies of drawings, as well as specifications and allotment plans along with the completed application form and other required information
  • pay for the building permit levy.

What do I need to know about the levy?

This is based on the cost of the building work.

For building permit applications accepted by the RBS on or after 1 July 2019, the levy is paid directly to the VBA. This should happen before a building permit number is provided and the building permit can be issued.

A building permit application can be considered ‘accepted’ if the RBS has been appointed by the applicant and the application contains all the information required for SC Building Permits to:

  • apply to the VBA for a building permit number
  • estimate the costs of work and calculate the levy due.

When is the building permit issued?

Smart Choice Building Permits cannot issue a building permit for your project until any required consent of a reporting authority is received. For example, we may need consent from the local council or water authority if you want to build over an easement or the siting of a carport.

We can decide to issue a building permit with or without conditions. The building permit issued may be a permit for the whole of the proposed building work or for a stage of the proposed building work.

Our job will be to specify on the building permit, the mandatory inspections that will be required throughout the course of the building work. We can vary the required inspections or carry out additional inspections if they think this is necessary. We will state whether you need an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection on completion of the building work. For more information, see At the end of your building project on the VBA website.

If you intend to carry out building work close to an adjoining neighbour’s property, Smart Choice Building Permits may require you to perform work to protect your neighbour’s property. Find out more at Protecting adjoining properties on the VBA website.

In some instances, we may refuse to issue a permit. If this happens, you can either alter the application to comply with the Regulations or appeal the refusal of the permit to the Building Appeals Board.

For building permits issued after 1 July 2019, it is important to monitor the cost of building work and you should maintain records of the cost of work throughout the building process. For more information, please refer to At the end of your building project on the VBA website.


How do I know when building work needs to commence and be completed?

The Regulations specify commencement and completion dates for building work associated with a building permit. If works have not commenced or completed within these times, then the building permit will lapse.

Type of building work RequiredCommencement date*Required completion date
Houses and outbuildingsWithin 12 monthsWithin 24 months of the date of issue of the building permit
Swimming pools and associated barriers or fencesWithin 12 monthsWithin 6 months of building work commencing on the swimming pool or spa
Re-erection of houses and out buildingsWithin 6 monthsCompleted within 12 months of the date of issue of the building permit
* from the date of issue of the building permit

All other building work Within 12 months of the date of issue of the building permit Within 36 months of the date of issue of the building permit

What if things do not go as planned?

If you can’t commence or complete the building work in time, you can ask us for an extension. You must do this before the relevant date passes. Smart Choice Building Permits may grant an extension for you if the extent of the building work warrants it.

What about lapsed permits?

According to the Victorian Government guidelines, if a building permit lapses but building work continues, that work then becomes illegal and the relevant building surveyor may issue a building order to stop building work.

The building work may have been required to be inspected at one of the mandatory inspection stages and where works have continued, it is difficult to determine if the building work complies after it has been completed.

If an owner does not comply with the building order to stop building work, then we will refer the matter to the VBA for further action.

Please keep in mind that Smart Choice Building Permits may refuse to approve the work or may require a part of the building to be exposed to be satisfied that the work is appropriate before issuing an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.

If a building permit has lapsed and all that is required by the relevant building surveyor is certificates to demonstrate compliance (e.g. plumbing), then a new building permit may not be required. We may issue the occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection once the compliance certificates have been submitted satisfactorily.

If a building permit lapses and building work is not complete, a new building permit will be required to enable completion of the unfinished building work. This requires a new application for a building permit.

The application must be made to Smart Choice Building Permits unless you have obtained an approved termination of our appointment from the VBA. We will require plans that show the work to be completed and payment of fees and levies relative to that work will need to be paid.

Note: Additional fees may be incurred in relation to lapsed building permits. It is our duty to keep you well informed beforehand about those fees, should they occur.