Building Permits: Who Holds the Responsibility for Obtaining Them?


When it comes to construction projects, one of the critical steps in ensuring compliance and safety is obtaining the necessary building permits.

If you’re involved in the construction industry or planning to undertake a building project in Victoria, it’s important to understand who can obtain building permits and their roles in the permit acquisition process.

In this blog post, we will uncover the key players involved in obtaining building permits, the process of acquiring them, the associated costs in Victoria, and the duration of these permits. Let’s explore the world of building permits together.

How to get a Building Permit

Who is responsible?

If you are the Property Owner or Agent of Owner, you are responsible for obtaining building permits.

A step by step guide

Building permits are managed and regulated by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). Before applying for a building permit, you need to appoint a registered building surveyor. You apply for a building permit through your building surveyor.

It is possible to apply for a building permit online and to obtain a building permit, you will need to follow a set process. Here’s a general overview of the steps involved:

  1. Building Documentation: 

Prepare all the necessary building documentation, including plans, specifications, and engineering drawings. These documents should comply with the relevant building codes and regulations.

  1. Application Submission: 

Submit your building permit application to the Online Permit Application Portals, local council or a private building surveyor. Ensure that all required forms, fees, and supporting documents are included in the submission.

  1. Permit Assessment: 

The building permit authority will review your application, assess the proposed plans, and conduct any necessary inspections or consultations. They will verify compliance with building codes, regulations, and any specific requirements.

  1. Permit Issuance: 

Once your application has been approved, you will receive your building permit. This document grants you the legal authority to commence construction as per the approved plans and within the specified guidelines.

building permit

How Much Does a Building Permit Cost in Victoria?

A building permit levy is based on the cost of the building work. To get an accurate estimate of the costs associated with your specific project, it is advisable to contact your local council or a private building surveyor.

You can pay the building permit levy yourself or through a person authorised to do so.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Building Permit?

The average time to obtain a building permit in Victoria can vary depending on various factors, as mentioned earlier.

In general, straightforward residential projects with complete and accurate documentation can often receive approval within 4 to 8 weeks. Otherwise, it is common for the process to take several weeks to a few months.

How Long Does a Building Permit Last and Can You Extend It?

A building permit in Victoria is typically valid for 2 years from the date of issuance. It is important to commence the building work within this timeframe; otherwise, the permit may expire, and a new application may be required.

If circumstances prevent you from starting the construction within the specified timeframe, you may be able to apply for an extension. However, it is essential to consult with the building permit authority or your building surveyor to understand the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining an extension.

What is the penalty for building work without a permit?

In Victoria, undertaking construction work without a permit can result in severe penalties. The penalty for building work without a permit is governed by the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018. Offenders can face hefty fines and potential legal consequences. The exact penalty varies depending on the nature and scale of the unauthorized construction.

 Fines can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, authorities may issue stop-work orders, requiring immediate cessation of the construction until proper permits are obtained. It is crucial to adhere to the permit requirements to avoid legal complications and ensure compliance with building regulations.

Building permits play a crucial role in the construction industry, ensuring compliance, safety, and the successful completion of projects. Understanding the responsibilities associated with obtaining building permits, the process of acquiring them, the cost involved, and their duration is vital for tradespeople aspiring to advance in their careers.

If you have further questions or need more information about licensing and building permits, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of experts is ready to assist you in achieving your goals.