Huon Valley Council, Tasmania
Huon Valley Council, Tasmania

Building FAQ

Important information concerning the interpretations of legislation and other policies is contained in this page. It is recommended that the Disclaimer be read in conjunction with the information provided

One of the core activities of The Huon Valley Council is to regulate the construction of buildings.

The Building Permit process regulates the construction and alteration of buildings by assessing proposed construction or alteration work against the requirements of the building legislation and the the-building-code-of-australia (BCA). Plumbing permits are also usually part of the building permit process.

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What legislation controls building?

2. What is the difference between a Building Permit and a Planning Permit?

3. What do I need to know about accreditation?

4. How do I find an accredited builder, surveyor or architect?

5. What are my responsibilities before I start as an owner-builder?

6. When is a Building Permit required?

7. Can I start doing works on the site before I have a Building Permit?

8. What does the Building Permit process involve?

9. How long does it take to get a Building Permit?

10. What fees will I have to pay to obtain a Building Permit?

11. If my Building Application is refused, what can I do?

12. Do I require a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)

13. Do I need a Taswater certificate?


 1. What legislation controls building?

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The relevant legislation relating to building, which a council has a responsibility to administer are the:

Building Act 2000

Building Regulations 2004

Plumbing Regulations 2004

The Commonwealth's Disability Discrimination Act 1992 may also have an influence on design and construction outcomes.

However, the single most important document controlling the detail of building construction is the Building Code of Australia (BCA). This code is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board. The BCA is given legal standing under the Building Act 2000 in Tasmania, similar to legislation in the other States and Territories. An annual edition of the BCA is produced in May. {General}

 Elements of the BCA

The BCA addresses the technical issues of design and construction of buildings and other structures. It is produced in two volumes: Volume 1 (commercial buildings) and Volume 2 (domestic buildings) and includes provisions about:

  • structure
  • fire resistance
  • access and egress
  • services and equipment
  • health and amenity in buildings
  • energy efficiency.

There is also a Guide to the BCA. {General}

 Queries regarding the BCA

  • To clarify understanding of any provision of the BCA, refer to the BCA Guide. {General}
  • If a query relates to a project specific problem, talk to an accredited building surveyor or the relevant council. Huon Valley Council has a building section that is able to assist you with any issues relating to building. Please contact the Building section on telephone number (03) 6264 0300.
  • If the query is about how to interpret a provision of the BCA, talk to the Building Standards and Regulations Branch of the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER), Ph: 1300 366 322.

 Getting a copy of the BCA

Hard copies of the BCA and the Guide to the BCA can be ordered online via the Australian Building Codes Board On-Line Shop .

A CD version of the BCA and Guide are available from the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). For all enquires about ABCB publication sales please ring 1300 857 522 or e-mail bca@abcb.gov.au.

On-line versions of the BCA and the BCA Guide are also available via the Australian Building Codes Board site on a 12 month subscription. Monthly and Limited Access subscriptions are also available.

Outlets in Tasmania for Viewing the Hard Copy BCA:

State Library of Tasmania, Reference Library - Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. Check the State Library on-line catalogue for availability.

  • Workplace Standards Tasmania Library, 30 Gordons Hill Road, Rosny Park 7018
  • University of Tasmania Hobart Campus, Morris Miller Library, Churchill Avenue, SANDY BAY 7005

 

 2. What is the difference between a Building Permit and a Planning Permit?

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A Building Permit authorises the construction and alteration of buildings by assessing any proposed new buildings, structures or alteration work against the requirements of the Building Code of Australia.

The brochure Building Application Information(53 kb)will provide additional information about the Building Permit process.

A Planning Permit authorises the development and use of land by assessing proposals against council planning schemes and the State's planning legislation. It particularly examines the impact of the proposed use or development of land on the surrounding area, whereas Building Permits focus on the proposed structure, its safety and amenity. {General}

The Planning Applications and Permits in the Huon Valley brochure provides guidelines for the planning assessment process.

You are able to lodge applications for both Building and Development permits at the same time with Huon Valley Council, however the Building permit can not be issued until the Planning Permit has been granted.

 3. What do I need to know about accreditation?

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To ensure buildings are constructed safely and competently, the Building Act 2000 has introduced a system for mandatory accreditation and insurance for all qualified:

  • designers (including architects, building designers, engineers and building service designers) responsible for the design of buildings;
  • building surveyors and assistant building surveyors responsible for the assessment of design and building work;
  • builders (including domestic, commercial, construction managers, fire protection services and demolishers) responsible for the construction (or demolition) of buildings.

The Building Act requires that such accredited building practitioners carry out the design, construction (or demolition) and assessment of all building work that requires a building permit and is valued over $5000.

Building work totalling less than $5000 still requires a building permit, but not necessarily a qualified building practitioner.

Building practitioners will be accredited in the appropriate Category and Class for the work that they can perform. They may be accredited in more than one Category. A Category is a broad description of the building practitioners normal work or occupation. Within each Category of Accredited Building Practitioner (ABP) there may be several Classes.

Further information on accreditation and implementation of the Building Act 2000 is available from Workplace Standards (Department of Justice). {General}

 

 4. How do I find an accredited builder, surveyor or architect?

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The names, contact details and the scope of work for all accredited building practitioners are available on the Workplace Standards website. See question 3 for further information on this topic.

 

 5. What are my responsibilities before I start as an owner builder?

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The Building Act 2000 allows genuine owner-builders who are not professional builders to construct a house on their own land. However the Act restricts an owner-builder's activity to no more than two residential buildings in ten years. {Govt Act}

As an owner-builder applying for a building permit you must complete an owner builder training course and obtain a white card then complete and sign an owner builder registration form and lodge this with your Building Surveyor.  Your Building Surveyor can provide the names of the providers of this course.

 

Application for Owner Builder Registration(69 kb)

 
 

 6. When is a Building Permit required?

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A Building Permit is required for the vast majority of structures and buildings with the exception of some minor structures such as small fences, some repair works and minor alterations. You should always check with your council before you commence any building, plumbing or repair works. {General}

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of any proposed work you wish to do, please contact the Huon Valley Council Building section on telephone number (03) 6264 0300 or view the following brochure more information.

Building Applications and Permits in the Huon Valley

A Permit is required for the following types of work:

  • new building work, including a new dwelling
  • farm buildings/outbuildings
  • renovations or alterations
  • extensions and additions
  • removing or altering load bearing walls
  • works that may involve a change of use of the premises, eg converting a shop into a residence, or converting a garage into habitable space such as a bedroom
  • garages, carports, and sheds
  • swimming pools and pool fences
  • building a deck
  • certain other structures and improvements including building retaining walls or fences over a certain height
  • demolition work is also defined as building work and requires a Building Permit.

Building work that does not require a Building Permit is set out in the Building Regulations 2004 and in the Plumbing Regulations 2004 for plumbing work. {General}

  7. Can I start doing building or plumbing work on the site before I have a Building Permit?

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No. You are not allowed to start any works on a site until you have received your Building Permit. This is because Council needs to:

  • determine that none of the works will interfere with underground services;
  • check the title for any restrictions on where buildings can go on the site.

Also, works started before a permit is issued might contravene a condition put on the permit.

Contravention of the provisions of the Building Act 2000, the Building Regulations 2004 or the Plumbing Regulations 2004 can result in an infringement notice and a fine or prosecution before a court. Councils also have powers to order the demolition of illegal works. {Act}

  8. What does the Building Permit process involve?

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The Building Permit process first involves the assessment of a proposed building or structure against the Building Code of Australia. You will need to submit detailed construction plans to an accredited building surveyor, either a private operator or one employed by council.

The Director Building Control - Specified Lists states what documents are required and the operational timeframe. The surveyor assesses the plans and then provides you with a Certificate of Likely Compliance.

The form which is completed by the surveyor can be viewed as Approved Form No. 11, Director Building Control - Approved Forms.

You will also need to apply to a building surveyor (private or council) for a certificate of likely compliance.

The Certificate of Likely Compliance indicates that the proposed work:

  • is likely to comply with the Act, Regulations and the Building Code of Australia (BCA)
  • has adequate fire protection measures put in place
  • is capable of receiving adequate light and ventilation
  • is properly provided with sanitary facilities
  • provides for the safety of users inside buildings
  • Meets all requirements of the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) (if required)

Next, you will need to fill in an Application for a Building Permit and provide:

For more information and the relevant forms that you may require, please contact the Huon Valley Council Building section on telephone number (03) 6264 0300 or visit our website at www.huonvalley.tas.gov.au.

A building surveyor can advise on technical building issues. For example, if building with reinforced concrete or steel, or building a retaining wall of 1m or higher, you may also need a Structural Certificate from an accredited structural engineer.

Council will assess the proposal in terms of its compliance with any planning conditions, by-laws and other relevant legislation. If your proposal requires a Plumbing Permit, refer to the council. Contact the Huon Valley Council building section on telephone number (03) 6264 0300. Please also refer to the Plumbing and Drainage information for general advice.

The Plumbing Permit indicates there will be adequate:

  • sanitary drainage to a sewerage system or on-site waste water management system
  • hot and cold water supply
  • provision for stormwater from the buildings and their surroundings
  • fire fighting water supply.

The building surveyor may carry out the required building inspections depending on the arrangements with the council. Building work may involve a series of inspections at various stages of construction to determine if it is being constructed correctly and in accordance with the permit documents.

Typical inspection stages are:

  • foundations;
  • footings and floor slabs construction;
  • framing up;
  • Occupancy Certificate and Certificate of Completion (see below for details).

At the final stage, a building surveyor will certify your plans and issue you with an Occupancy Certificate and Certificate of Final Inspection. A building must not be occupied until an Occupancy Certificate is issued, indicating it is ready for use. {General}

Contact the Huon Valley Council building section on telephone number (03) 6264 0300 for more information.

9. How long does it take to get a Building Permit?

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A Certificate of Likely Compliance from a building surveyor must accompany an application for a Building Permit from council. The surveyor must process a request for a certificate within 21 days.

Council must then send a Building Permit or a Notice of Refusal of a Permit within 7 days of receiving the application for the permit or a period agreed between the applicant and the council but only when any other relevant permits have been issued.  ie. Planning, SPP, Taswater.

10.  What fees will I have to pay to obtain a Building Permit?

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Building Surveyors (private or council employed) charge market rate fees for their services. {General}

Councils charge building fees to issue building permits.

The Huon Valley Council has a set of fees listed on its website. If you have any questions regarding the amount of fees you must pay or what the fees are, please contact the Building section on telephone number (03) 6264 0300.

Other levies

In addition to the council building fee, there are the Building Construction Training Levy and the Building Permit Levy which are collected by councils.

The Training Levy was introduced in 1991 under the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Act 1990. This levy is charged on any building project over $12,000 and is calculated as 0.2% of the estimated cost of the building, as indicated in the contract or on the building application form.

It is usually paid to the council when lodging the building application but can be paid directly to the Tasmanian Building and Construction and Industry Training Board (TBCITB). Visit the website for further information. {Govt Act}

The Building Permit Levy came into existence with the Building Act 2000. Calculated as 0.1% of the total estimated cost of building and plumbing work valued at $12,000 or more, it must be paid before council issues a building permit.

This levy is paid into a special fund and used solely to develop a better regulatory environment for Tasmania's building industry. {Govt Act}

11. If my Building Application is refused, what can I do?

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If a building application has been refused, there are usually slight changes that can be made which will make it acceptable. You can discuss this with council's building surveyor in ways in which your application can be amended and therefore successfully lodged.

Another course of action can be to contact the Building Standards and Regulation and discussing the situation with their officers. {General}

Under Part 12, Division 2 of the Building Act 2000 you can appeal a refusal to issue a permit (or non issue of a permit) to the Building Appeal Tribunal.

The Building Appeal Tribunal is established under the Building Act 2000 as an independent tribunal. The Tribunal considers cases relating to:

  • a condition of the permit
  • occupancy or temporary occupancy
  • protection work
  • the Building Surveyor
  • the Permit Authority
  • the Building Regulations 2004 or the Building Code of Australia (BCA)
  • the Plumbing Regulations 2004 or the Tasmanian Plumbing Code 1994
  • the General Fire Regulations 2000.
12. Do I require a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)

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 A large majority of dwellings and or additions will require a BAL.  The building surveyor in conjunction with your building designer will detemine if a BAL is required.  Certain measures may be incorporated in the design of your dwelling to meet BAL requirements.

13. Do I need a Taswater certificate

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All bulding applications (dwellings, garages, additions etc) that are located in a sewer and or water district will require either a certificate of certifiable work or an exemption from Taswater.  Most other applications will only require an exemption from Taswater. 

 

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