It’s important when buying or selling a property that you check that all the structures on the property have planning and building approval from the relevant local government authority. Quite often home buyers will purchase a property unaware that all the structures on the property might not have the required council approval. Approving unauthorised structures can be a complicated and tedious task for homeowners with some councils requiring planning and building approval for everything from a patio to a pergola. Depending on the type of structure and location, homeowners may have to apply for a retrospective planning approval and a retrospective building permit. The cost of applying for retrospective approval can be pricey with councils charging up to three times the standard application fees.

Advice for those who have properties with unauthorised structures:

1. Decide whether you want to knock the structure down or whether you want to get the structure approved. If you want to get the structure approved;

2. Liaise with your local council to determine if retrospective planning approval is required. Some local government require all structures to have planning approval, while other only require building approval.

3. Commission a drafts person to add the structure to your site plan and floor plan; or create a new site plan and floor plan for your property. You will also need the drafts person to draw elevations of the structure for the council approval. Green Start Consulting have several drafties on our team.

4. If retrospective planning approval is required you can either apply to your local council yourself or commission an industry professional to manage the application on your behalf. Retrospective planning applications must comply with the council’s local planning policies and the Residential Design Codes.

Tip: Consulting an industry professional can save time and reduce frustration in the planning process.

5. Retrospective building permits are issued by the council and require a building surveyor to undertake a site inspection and assessment to ensure the structure complies with the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards. Once your structure has been assessed you can lodge an application with the council for a building permit.

Tip: Take the stress out of apply for a building permit through commissioning a qualified private building surveyor to undertake the assessment. Private Building Surveyors can certify building plans which will reduce the council application time to 10 working days.

Contact Green Start Consulting’s experienced team for expert advice on everything you need to know to get an unauthorised structure approved.

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you

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