The building industry is constantly changing, it’s almost a full time job keeping up with the legislative changes. There are many misinterpretations of the current building requirements. Here are a few of the common myths and frequently asked questions explained.
A Building Surveyor is an expert in Building Regulation who’s role is to ensure new buildings are structurally sound, accessible, energy efficient and safe to occupy. They do this by ensuring all relevant documentation complies with Building Regulation prior to issuing a Building Permit. They also undertake inspections throughout the build and issue an Occupancy Permit/Certificate of Final Inspection upon completion.
The Building Regulations are legislated state-wide so the same requirements apply throughout Victoria. However many Councils and different areas do have different planning requirements and by-Laws.
This myth is based on rules outdated 20 years ago, the current rules in Victoria state that virtually all building work requires a building permit.
Almost all building work requires a building permit, except for a 3mx3m garden shed in the backyard, although even small garden sheds have additional requirements to meet.
Contrary to popular rumours neither an above ground swimming pool with a ladder, nor a spa with a cover/lid are allowed without an APPROVED Safety Barrier (fence). All swimming pools and spas ‘capable’ of holding 300mm of water or more are required to have an approved safety barrier, which requires a building permit even if it is for a spa, swim spa, hot tub, jacuzzi, above ground pool, etc.
In Victoria builders must be registered if the are carrying out, or organising building work valued at $10,000 or more. A qualified carpenter has completed an apprenticeship in carpentry and is considered a skilled trade. However that does not mean they have a comprehensive knowledge of the Building Regulations and what is required to oversee the complete build process.
Often advice given by Council officers relates to Planning Permits not being required, however this is separate to the requirement for a Building Permit. Make sure that you ask if the Council officer is from the Building or Planning Department.
In 1994 the Building Permit industry was privatised due to lengthy delays at Council. Nowadays many council’s choose not to issue Building Permits at all. For quick and fuss free Building Permits contact Approved by ED.
The Building Permit process is fairly quick, in most circumstances we say to allow about two weeks, although if all the information is provided up front they can take less than one week to be processed.
The State Government have amended the law to state only the owner can appoint the Registered Building Surveyor. This puts the power in the owners hands to ensure that the Building Surveyor is truly acting independently.
Building Permits are actually in place to ensure quality of life for the building occupants, as well as ensuring that the building complies with the relevant legislation including structural requirements. This safeguards both the current owners and any future buyers.