A Building Permit is required for most building work including sheds, retaining walls, decks, carports, verandahs, and fences.
A building surveyor is responsible for issuing a Building Permit before a building project begins.At the completion of building works carried out in accordance with a Building Permit, the appointed building surveyor will issue either an Occupancy Permit or a Certificate of Final Inspection. Without a Building Permit, an Occupancy Permit of Certificate or Final Inspection cannot be issued.
Failure to obtain the necessary Building Permit is a serious matter and offenders may be prosecuted. Not sure if you need a Building Permit? Pick up a copy of the City of Ballarat’s Building Permits fact sheet.
During property sales, purchasers or their conveyancers will often ask the vendor to verify that a Building Permit and the associated Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection have been obtained for building work carried out at the property. This is an important question as building owners take full responsibility for any illegal building work done on the property regardless of who allowed it, built it, or when the illegal building work was done.
Illegal building work may be inspected and investigated by the City of Ballarat at any time.
When a Building Permit has not been issued, the City of Ballarat ‘No further action letter’ is a non-legislative substitute for an Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection.
Buyers beware: Owners take full responsibility for any illegal building work on their property regardless of who allowed it, built it, or when the illegal building work was done.
The owner of the building must submit an Application for Initial Inspection with $432.00 payment for domestic works and $555.00 for commercial works, requesting the City of Ballarat to inspect the illegal building work. The form is available at the City of Ballarat Customer Service Centre, The Phoenix, 25 Armstrong Street South; or at the City of Ballarat website: www.ballarat.vic.gov.au.
At the inspection, a City of Ballarat officer will conduct a risk assessment on the building work and determine if the structure(s) qualify to enter into the resolution process.
If the structure(s) are considered suitable, the City of Ballarat will issue a Building Notice. The building owner has a specified timeframe, usually 30 days, to send a written response.
A Building Notice provides the following options:
Demolish and remove the illegal building work, or;
Make application to the City of Ballarat to have the illegal building work resolved.
Before responding to the Building Notice, the building owner should consider:
Costs associated with appointing the necessary consultants to resolve the illegal work including a building surveyor, draftsperson and structural engineer.
Costs associated with upgrading the structure(s) to an acceptable standard. A Building Permit is often required to carry out upgrades.
Associated City of Ballarat fees (Currently Domestic $924.00 or Commercial $1320.00)
Timeframes to complete the resolution process (approximately two to three months).
Remove or resolve When the building owner notifies the City of Ballarat of their intention to remove the illegal building work,a City officer will carry out an inspection to verify removal. There is no charge for this inspection and a successful inspection is the end of the process.
When the building owner notifies the City of Ballarat of their intention to have the illegal building work resolved, the owner must submit an application and payment to enter into resolution of the illegal building work. The application moves into Step 3 of the process.
The building owner must engage the services of a qualified and registered building surveyor. The surveyor’s role is to conduct the necessary investigations to confirm that the illegal building work complies with the Building Act and Building Regulations. The surveyor will require a full set of architectural and structural plans for assessment, and will assess the plans/documentation and inspect the building work.
The surveyor may require a structural engineer to certify important hidden or buried structural components of the building work.
Additional building work may be required to improve the structure(s), and this work will require a Building Permit.
When the surveyor is satisfied that the illegal building work meets the minimum standards set out by the Building Act and Building Regulations, they will complete a compliance statement endorsing the work.
The building owner will provide the City of Ballarat with the following documents:
A full set of the architectural and structural plans, assessed by the building surveyor;
Any structural reports, certificates, modifications,report and consent(s), Planning Permits, Building Permits, and evidence of insurance relied upon by the surveyor; and
The Statement of Compliance signed by the surveyor.
The City of Ballarat will now be in a position to issue a ‘No further action’ letter.