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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. What legislation controls building?

2. What is the Building and Plumbing Permit process?

3. What is the difference between the Building Permit and the Planning Permit Processes?

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

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

6. How do I apply for a Building Permit?

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

1. What legislation controls building? [Top of page ]

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

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 'called up' or given legal standing under the Building Regulations, in Tasmania and all States and Territories. The BCA is produced annually, usually around May of each year.

1.2 What does the BCA cover? [Back to main question ]

The BCA addresses the technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and structures. It covers issues such as:

1.2 Who manages the BCA in Tasmania? [Back to main question]

The Building Standards and Regulations Branch of the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER), manages the BCA in Tasmania. It is located at 30 Gordons Hill Rd, Rosny Park, 7018.

Ph: 6233 2010.

1.3 If I have a query about the BCA, who do I ask [Back to main question]

(Council to include contact details for the relevant building control officer) {local content}

Ph: 6233 2010.

1.4 Where can I get a copy of the BCA? [Back to main question ]

2. What is the Building and Plumbing Permit process? [Top of page ]

The Building Permit process first involves the assessment of a proposed building or structure against the Building Code of Australia (BCA). This can be done either by independent qualified building surveyors or by council employed building surveyors.

Council will also assess the proposal in terms of its compliance with any relevant planning conditions and any other relevant legislation. The process may also involve assessment in terms of compliance with the Plumbing Regulations and the Tasmanian Plumbing Code (TPC), if relevant. Many councils also have a by-law in relation to connecting to sewers and on-site wastewater disposal systems.

2.1 The Building Permit process is concerned with the following issues:

Once the building surveyor is satisfied that all these issues have been addressed and meet legislative requirements, a Building Permit can be issued.

2.2 The Plumbing Permit process is concerned with the following issues:

Building and plumbing 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:

3. What is the difference between the Building Permit and the Planning Permit Processes? [Top of page ]

The Building Permit process regulates the construction and alteration of buildings by assessing proposed buildings and structures and alteration work against the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. Plumbing permits are usually part of the building permit process.

The Planning Permit process regulates the use and development of land by assessing proposals against Council's Planning Schemes and the State's planning legislation. It particularly examines the impact of the proposed development or use on the surrounding area, whereas Building Permits focus on the proposed structure and its safety health and amenity.

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.

Demolition also requires a Permit. The building work that does not require a Building Permit is set out in the Building Regulations 1994 and the Plumbing Regulations 1994 for plumbing work.

4. Can I start doing building or plumbing work on the site before I have a Building Permit? [Top of page ]

Under Section 45 of the Local Government (Building and Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 1993 you are not allowed to start any works on a site until you have received your Building Permit. This is because Council needs to :

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

Contravention of Section 45 of the Act can incur a fine of up to $5 000.

5. How long does it take to get a Building Permit? [Top of page ]

A Building Permit or a Notice of Refusal of a Permit must be issued within 21 days of receipt of the full application.

A straightforward application for a house or house extension, which contains all the proper information will usually be dealt with within a few days. A more complicated multi unit development or commercial development could take the full time. Not providing all the correct documents at the beginning can make the process extend beyond the 21 days.

The Local Government division of the State Government produces an annual report entitled 'Measuring Council Performance in Tasmania'. The report details many issues relating to council performance, including providing data on the number of days on average that it takes to obtain building approval from each council.

For 2001-2002, The city councils averaged 21 days, the medium size councils averaged 9.1 days and the small councils averaged 14.3 days. The State average worked out at 13.1 days.

6. How do I apply for a Building Permit? [Top of page ]

You will need to submit detailed construction plans to your local council detailing the proposed building works that you wish to get a permit for. The Building Regulations and Plumbing Regulations specify what documents are required.

You will need to fill in a Building Application form provide a copy of the title and at least two copies of the plans, showing:

If building with reinforced concrete or steel, or building a retaining wall of 1m or higher, you may also need a Structural Certificate from a qualified practicing structural engineer.

6.1 Private Certification of Building Plans [Back to main question ]

Private certification of building plans is permitted under the Building Regulations Amendment of 1999. This allows you to use a private building surveyor to assess your building plans.

The surveyor will assess the plans against the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and provide you with a Building Surveying Certificate. The private building surveyor may also carry out any required building inspections depending on the arrangements with the Council.

You will need to submit your Building Surveying Certificate with your building plans, and Building Permit Application form to council in order for council to issue you with a Building Permit.

When you use a private building surveyor to certify your plans, Council will usually issue you with a Certificate of Occupancy and Certificate of Completion. The Certificate of Occupancy indicates that the building is suitable for occupancy. A building must not be occupied until such time as a Certificate of Occupancy is issued. A Certificate of Completion will be issued when the process is completed.

A private building surveyor can deal with the building issues. If however your proposal requires a Plumbing Permit, you will need to refer to Council as it currently deals with all plumbing matters.

6.2 Housing Indemnity Insurance [Back to main question ]

In addition to the various plan details, if you are building or extending a house and the cost is more than $5,000 you will need to ensure that your builder has a Housing Indemnity Policy . This policy is required under the Housing Indemnity Act 1992 .

Housing Indemnity Insurance provides cover for six years from the completion of the building for:

If you are an owner-builder you do not need a Housing Indemnity Policy. However if you sell your house within 6 years of construction you will need to:

Further information about the Housing Indemnity Act can be obtained from the State Department of Justice and Industrial Relations.

7. What fees will I have to pay to obtain a Building Permit?[ [ Top of page]

Councils charge Building fees to cover the costs of assessing building applications and determining compliance with the relevant legislation. The fees vary depending on the nature of the building proposed. They may also vary depending if you are using the private certification process or if the council surveyor is doing the full building assessment.

7.1 Building Construction Training Levy [Back to main question ]

In addition to the council building fee, Council will also collect a Building Construction Training Levy on behalf of the State Government. This levy was introduced in 1991 under the Building and Construction Industry Training Act, 1990. This levy is charged on any building project over $5 000 and is calculated as 0.2% of the estimated cost of the building, as indicated in the contract or as on the building application form. It is usually paid to the council when lodging the building application but can also be paid directly to the Tasmanian Building and Construction and Industry Training Board (TBCITB).

 

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