Making improvements to your house or business may be a thrilling experience for everyone. When settling on the final specifics of a project, it is easy to lose sight of some critical measures before taking action.

The criteria for a construction permit differ from state to state, but at least one permission is usually necessary when renovating.

Taking on a DIY project may be really rewarding, but before you storm in with the sledgehammer and start bashing down walls, be sure you have the necessary licenses. Delaying your project by a week or two isn’t a major sacrifice – it’s a lot better than paying a hefty fine to your local council for unlawfully carrying out building work, or even having to entirely demolish your work!

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is one required for any work on a building. This includes work on the structure of the home, to specific additions and extensions to the property, and even digging up a patch of your lawn to put in a garden. If you plan on changing the use of any part of your home or changing how your business operates, you may need a permit too. Speak with your local council to determine precisely what you will need to gain permission for each part of your project.

What Home Renovations Require a Permit?

Minor interior and exterior renovations are free from building permits. If you’re only replacing the built-in cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom, you won’t need one. The same holds true for replacing doors and windows, as long as the opening remains the same size.

The following are examples of expected improvements that will almost certainly need a permit:

Carports, garages, and sheds

If your structure fits one or more of the following conditions, you must get a Building Permit:

  • 2.4m height or more 10sqm in size or greater 1m or closer to your property’s boundaries
  • linked to another structure, such as a shed with a roof that adjoins the home

Footprint changes

A permit is necessary when the plan or footprint of your home is altered, and changes are made to any bedrooms in the house, including decks, sheds, and garages.

Replacement windows or doors

A permit is necessary for any new openings to the house, such as a new window or door. If the opening already exists, replacing an existing window or door does not require a permit.


A permit is frequently required when installing or removing hose bibs outside your home.


A permit is frequently required when installing new electrical wiring or increasing circuits.

Structural Changes

Permits are required for projects involving alterations to the house’s support system. Changes to a balcony or deck may be included.

Siding and wall cladding

When making wall cladding or siding alterations, most towns will often require a permit.

Water heater

When installing a new water heater, a permit is necessary.


A permit is required for any alterations to the roofline or re-roofing that includes structural elements.

How to apply for a Building Permit

Before applying for a Building Permit, a Building Surveyor with current and necessary registration is required. Once obtained, you will need to do one of the following to apply for a Building Permit:

  • Apply through a municipal or private building surveyor of your choosing.
  • Pay a charge, Building Permit Levy, and send at least three copies of designs and specifications, as well as allotment and completed application form, and other necessary documents.


Building Permits are there to protect the public, and ensure that all work being performed on a house is done with some thought to safety and the future needs of the home and business. While they can be a little bit of a headache, they’re definitely worth it. Make sure you speak with your local council for more information and guidance.

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