Building Approvals & FAQs

Building approvals ensure buildings are constructed to standards that address health and amenity, safety (structural and fire) and sustainability.

Applications for building approvals are assessed against the building assessment provisions, which include the Building Code of Australia and the Queensland Development Code.

The approval process involves assessment by an accredited building certifier against the Building Act 1975 and associated regulations and standards, and the issue of a building permit and subsequent inspections to ensure compliance.

Building Works - Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I need building approval?

This building work includes, but is not limited to:

  • New dwellings or commercial buildings;
  • Alterations and additions to existing buildings;
  • Building removal and relocation;
  • Demolitions;
  • Carports and sheds;
  • Gazebos, pergolas and shade sails over 10 square metres in area;
  • Shipping containers located on a property for more than 90 days;
  • Fences over 2 metres in height above the natural ground level;
  • Retaining walls over 1 metre in height, or within 1.5m of a building or other retaining wall
  • Swimming pools and spas.

Some types of minor building work do not require a building approval, namely exempt development and self-assessable building work.  

NOTE: Building Approval can be obtained either through Council or a private building certifier.

What is exempt development?

Accepted building work is set out in Schedule 2 of the Building Regulation 2006 and does not require building approval.  Examples of exempt development include:

  • The construction of playground and sporting equipment and garden furniture;
  • Temporary market stalls; and
  • Minor plant covers and the like, which are not more than 3m high above natural ground.

What is self-assessable building work?

Some minor work is deemed to be self-assessable, as set out in Schedule 1 of the Building Regulation 2006, and does not require building approval. Examples of self-assessable building work include:

  • A fence no higher than 2 metres above natural ground (but not including swimming pool fencing);
  • Certain retaining walls which retain not more than 1 metre of cut or fill and which are no closer than 1.5 metres to a building or another retaining wall;
  • Repairs, maintenance or alterations to an existing building which do not change the building’s floor area or height and which do not affect a structural component or the fire safety system of the building;
  • Certain Class 10 buildings and structures (e.g. a tool shed, greenhouse, awning) that are up to 10m² in area, 2.4m in height, 2.1m in mean height, and not longer than 5m; and
  • A sun hood or sun blind projecting no more than 1m from the building.

Please note that self-assessable building work must still comply with the requirements of the Building Regulation 2006 including compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC) and the Queensland Development Code (QDC), including boundary clearance provisions for the building/structure in question.

What is the role of the building certifier?

Building Certifiers are licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) and are responsible for determining whether proposed building work complies with the Building Act 1975, as well as the BCA, associated Australian Standards and the QDC.  If it does, they will issue a building approval.

Please note a building certifier cannot approve any work which conflicts with the Balonne Shire Council Planning Scheme.

What will I need to lodge an application?

The following documentation may be required for an average dwelling. A requirement for more or less information is dependent upon the actual works proposed.

  • Completed DA application Form ‘2’.
  • QBCC builder’s insurance confirmation letter to be sighted OR owner-builder number sighted.
  • Portable Long Service Levy receipt for works $150,000 and over.
  • Application fee.
  • Three (3) copies of drawings to scale for the following:
    • site plan;
    • cross-section through the dwelling;
    • elevations;
    • floor plan for each storey, including the location of smoke alarms;
    • bracing, tie-down and framing design calculations for each storey, including engineer’s design certification (Form 15) for a steel frame;
    • soil investigation report;
    • engineers footing/slab design, complete with design certificate (Form 15)
    • energy efficiency assessment.

Contact Council or your building certifier for the exact requirements.

What is included in an approval?

The building approval will list any inspections that must take place during construction. The building certifier who issued the approval is responsible for these inspections being carried out.

What is final building inspection?

The builder for a project is required to give notice to the building certifier when the building work is completed so that a final building inspection can be carried out.  The final inspection is required to ensure that all works carried out comply with the building approval. 

Council recommends that a final inspection be arranged as soon as practicable to ensure that a final certificate is obtained to avoid unnecessary future consequences. 

An approval that has not had a satisfactory final inspection has the potential to impact on future property transactions or may affect the outcome of insurance claims.

Please note that a building approval will lapse after a certain period of time which is nominated on the building approval.  If all works are not completed and inspected before the lapsing date, the building approval lapses and a new approval will be required to complete the project.

However, the building certifier must send the property owner a reminder notice between 3 and 6 months before the lapsing date.   

The building certifier may extend the currency period provided an extension is requested before it lapses. 

What ‘class’ is a building?

Class 1

Class 1a

A single dwelling being a detached house, or one or more attached dwellings, each being a building, separated by a fire-resisting wall, including a row house, terrace house, town house or villa unit.

 

Class 1b

A boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like with a total area of all floors not exceeding 300m2, and where not more than 12 reside, and is not located above or below another dwelling or another Class of building other than a private garage. 

Class 2

A building containing 2 or more sole-occupancy units each being a separate dwelling.

Class 3

A residential building, other than a Class 1 or 2 building, which is a common place of long term or transient living for a number of unrelated persons. Example: boarding-house, hostel, backpackers accommodation or residential part of a hotel, motel, school or detention centre.

Class 4

A dwelling in a building that is Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 if it is the only dwelling in the building. 

Class 5

An office building used for professional or commercial purposes, excluding buildings of Class 6, 7, 8 or 9. 

Class 6

A shop or other building for the sale of goods by retail or the supply of services direct to the public. Example: café, restaurant, kiosk, hairdressers, showroom or service station. 

Class 7

Class 7a

A building which is a car park. 

 

Class 7b

A building which is for storage or display of goods or produce for sale by wholesale.

Class 8

A laboratory, or a building in which a handicraft or process for the production, assembling, altering, repairing, packing, finishing or cleaning of goods or produce is carried on for trade, sale or gain. 

Class 9

A building of a public nature.

 

Class 9a

A health care building, including those parts of the building set aside as a laboratory. 

 

Class 9b

An assembly building, including a trade workshop, laboratory or the like, in a primary or secondary school, but excluding any other parts of the building that are of another class. 

 

Class 9c

An aged care building. 

Class 10

A non-habitable building or structure.

 

Class 10a

 A private garage, carport, shed or the like. 

 

Class 10b

 A structure being a fence, mast, antenna, retaining or free standing wall,   swimming pool or the like. 

 

Class 10c

 A private bushfire shelter. 

Building Classes are set out in the Building Code of Australia.

What is a certificate of classification?

A Certificate of Classification is a final inspection certificate that contains information about the class of a building and any use restrictions.  It is required for any building other than a detached Class 1a dwelling and a Class 10 building/structure.

Section 114 of the Building Act 1975 requires building owners to obtain a Certificate of Classification for all commercial building development approvals (including commercial and residential units) prior to the occupation or use of the building.

In addition, please note that a change of classification or use for an existing building requires an approval (under Section 111 of the Building Act 1975) from a Building Certifier prior to commencement of the new classification or use.

It is also a requirement under section 108A of the Building Act 1975 (where a Certificate of Classification has been given for the building on or after 1 July 1997) that building owners ensure the Certificate of Classification (for a Class 1b to 9 building) is displayed as near as practicable to the main entrance of the building.

Where the premises are occupied by multiple tenants (e.g. a shopping centre), and individual tenancies have a separate Certificate this will need to be displayed in addition to the Certificate for the building itself.

Penalties are enforceable under the Building Act 1975 for failing to obtain and display a Certificate of Classification.

Can I do my own building works?

Residential building work is the only type of work able to be performed under an owner-builder permit.

If you want to carry out building work on your own land, you will need to obtain a QBCC owner-builder permit where the value of work is $11,000 or more (including GST).

Contact us

For further information, please contact Council's Planning and Development Officer on (07) 4620 8888 or email council@balonne.qld.gov.au