Illegal Building Works

A building permit is required for most building work including

  • sheds
  • retaining walls
  • decks
  • carports
  • verandahs
  • fences

A building surveyor is responsible for issuing a building permit before a building project begins. At the completion of the building works, the appointed building surveyor will issue an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection.

You need a building permit before an occupancy permit of certificate or final inspection can be issued.


What is a 'No Further Action' Letter?

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.

We may inspect and investigate illegal building work 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.


How to obtain a letter


The building owner advises Council in writing via email to of the illegal building work. An inspection by a Council officer will be undertaken. At the inspection our officer will conduct a risk assessment of the building work and determine if the structure(s) qualify to enter into the resolution process

At the inspection our 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, then we will issue a building notice. The owner has a specified time frame, usually 30 days, to send a written response.

A building notice provides the following options:

  1. Demolish and remove the illegal building work
  2. Make application to have the illegal building work resolved.

Before responding to the building notice the 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
  • Time frames to complete the resolution process (approximately two to three months).


Remove or resolve
When the owner notifies us of their intention to remove the illegal building work, one of our officers 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 owner notifies us 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.

Resolution of Works Application Domestic

Resolution of Works Application Commercial



The 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. They will assess the documents 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 the Building Act and Building Regulations, they will complete a compliance statement endorsing the work.



The owner will provide us with the following:

  • 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
  • The statement of compliance signed by the surveyor.



We will now be in a position to issue a ‘No further action’ letter.