The Building Act 1993 specifies that a building permit is required in order for building work to begin. Building permit are not only essential, but in the majority of cases, they are also very important in providing a level of protection, along with many other advantages discussed below.
What does building involve?
Structure, planning, management and compliance with laws and regulations are all crucial aspects of building. In fact, these aspects are arguably even more important than the physical building process.
Is a building permit necessary?
While confusion sometimes exists as to what a building permit is and whether it is necessary, in most cases a building permit for a particular project is essential. It is dangerous to assume that a project is so small that a permit is not required, and professional advice should always be sought as to whether a permit is needed for your particular project. In fact, regulations and complexities frequently change and conditions vary from state to state and area to area and, in light of this, credible advice and guidance is infinitely valuable.
How is a permit obtained?
Outwardly, it may seem a simple act to obtain a building permit, but this is not always the case. Complexity can arise because the application process involves information that sometimes needs to be approved and/or verified by a third party.
As most people would assume, building permit are relevant to the construction of a building or other development. A building permit is a document issued under the Building Act, if the building work proposed is compliant with all provisions in the relevant legislation.
Although it may be assumed that a building permit will be issued, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the complexity of a case or the special circumstances that exist may mean that a building permit cannot be issued without additional third-party approvals or permit.
Why is a building permit important?
Essentially, building permit exist to protect occupants of buildings and their investments. The building permit process is fundamentally important to the building industry; “…it is a system of controls to establish, maintain and improve standards for the construction and maintenance of buildings, enhance the amenity of the buildings and protect the health and safety of the people using them.”
Building Act regulations are therefore strictly enforced to best protect:
- Structural integrity
- Well-being and safety of occupants
- Adjoining properties
- Fire safety, which is ensured at an equal or better level of safety.
Safe building practices are central to these regulations. These practices exist to ensure that the building is protected from collapse, and that it will be serviceable throughout its life.
The regulations, codes and documents that pertain to buildings are not always simple or easy to interpret. Given this, regulations need to be carefully read and understood, and this often requires the professional involvement and guidance of an expert.
When is a building permit issued?
The appropriate Building Surveyor will only issue a building permit when they are completely satisfied that the proposed building work, together with a building permit, will be compliant with the Building Act and relevant Building Regulations.
What are the benefits of a building permit?
In summary, building permit exist to offer protection to the building and its occupants. Among other things, building permit ensure that:
- Particular practitioners hold the appropriate insurance and are registered
- Sufficient and relevant documentation is developed to appropriately construct the building
- There is an independent review of documentation
- Independent inspection of different stages of the building work is undertaken
- When completed, the building is independently assessed to guarantee that all requirements have been satisfied and the building meets the standards required for a certificate of occupancy/final inspection to be issued.
Of course, considerable peace of mind can come with knowing that a building is safe and does not put occupants at risk of danger.
What is the penalty for not having a building permit when one is required?
Under the Building Act, a penalty of 100 penalty units (or $10,000) applies if work is carried out without a corresponding permit.
Building permit are tremendously important and exist to protect and ensure the safety of the occupants of buildings. Following the process to obtain a building permit is vital whenever any building project is proposed.