Building FAQs


1. What legislation controls building?  

The relevant legislation relating to building, which a council has a responsibility to administer are:

  • the Building Act 2000,
  • the Building Regulations 2004 and
  • the Plumbing Regulations 2004.

The Commonwealth's Disability Discrimination Act 1992 may also have an influence on design and construction outcomes.  However, the single most important document controlling the detail of building construction is the Building Code of Australia (BCA).  This code is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board

The BCA is 'called up' or given legal standing under the Building Regulations, in Tasmania and all States and Territories.  The BCA is produced annually, usually around May of each year.

2. What is the Building and Plumbing Permit process?  

The Building Permit process first involves the assessment of a proposed building or structure against the Building Code of Australia (BCA).   This can be done either by independent qualified building surveyor.

Council will also assess the proposal in terms of its compliance with any relevant planning conditions and any other relevant legislation.  The process may also involve assessment in terms of compliance with the Plumbing Regulations and the Tasmanian Plumbing Code (TPC), if relevant. 

3. What is the difference between the Building Permit and the Planning Permit Processes?        

The Building Permitprocess regulates the construction and alteration of buildings by assessing proposed buildings and structures and alteration work against the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA).  Plumbing permits are usually part of the building permit process.

The Planning Permitprocess regulates the use and development of land by assessing proposals against Council's Planning Schemes and the State's planning legislation.  It particularly examines the impact of the proposed development or use on the surrounding area, whereas Building Permits focus on the proposed structure and its safety health and amenity. 

4. Can I start doing building or plumbing work on the site before I have a  Building Permit?        

Under the Building Act 2004 you are not allowed to start any works on a site until you have received your Building Permit.  This is because Council needs to :determine that any of the works won't interfere with underground services check the title for any restrictions on it, in terms of where the building can go on the site. 

Also, works started before a permit is issued, might contravene a condition put on the permit.  Contravention can incur a fine of up to $5,000.

5. How long does it take to get a Building Permit?  

A Building Permit or a Notice of Refusal of a Permit must be issued within 7 days of receipt of the full application.  A straightforward application for a house or house extension, which contains all the proper information will usually be dealt with within a few days.  A more complicated multi unit development or commercial development could take the full time.  Not providing all the correct documents at the beginning can make the process extend beyond the 21 days.

6. How do I apply for a Building Permit?  

You will need to submit detailed construction plans to your local council detailing the proposed building works that you wish to get a permit for. The Building Regulations and Plumbing Regulations specify what documents are required. Your plans must be endorsed by a Private Building Surveyor and include a Certificate of Likely Compliance prior to lodgement with Council.

You will need to fill in a Building Application form, provide a copy of the title and at least two copies of the plans, showing:

  • site layout including contours,
  • soil report if relevant.
  • on-site disposal system and associated land application system details with an accompanying site and soil evaluation and design report, if relevant
  • stormwater and sewerage installation details, if relevant
  • foundation/footing details,
  • floor plan layout, roof plans, bracing plans,
  • drawings of each elevation,
  • structural details,
  • construction details where necessary
  • energy efficiency provisions, if relevant.

If building with reinforced concrete or steel, or building a retaining wall of 1m or higher, you may also need a Structural Certificate from a qualified practicing structural engineer.

11 Sticht Street
PO Box 63
Queenstown TAS 7467