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Building Permit v Planning Permit…

What Is The Difference?

Building permits

Building permits are issued by a registered building surveyor (either in Council or a licensed external practice) and generally relate only to the construction aspects of a particular building or development.

If you plan to do some building work around the house, you should check to find out whether you need a building permit.

You may need a building permit for the following types of works:

  • building extensions and renovations

  • carports

  • pergolas

  • verandahs and decking

  • garages and sheds

  • building removal

  • retaining walls

  • re-stumping an existing building

Planning permits

However, there are times when a planning permit may also be required.

Planning permits are legal documents giving permission for a land use or development to occur on a specified parcel of land.

If a planning permit is required, it must be obtained before a building permit can be issued, & whilst both applications can be made at the same time, we recommend obtaining a list of planning requirements from the Surveyor who first assesses your Building Permit application. This will allow you to apply for all necessary Planning permissions at one time.

You generally need to obtain a Council planning permit to change the use of land, or to construct new or change existing buildings.

You may need a planning permit to:

  • extend your home

  • change the use of land or buildings

  • prune or remove a tree

  • subdivide land

  • build 2 or more dwellings (units/townhouses)

  • remove or vary a covenant/restriction

If you live in a multi-dwelling property, like a group of units or a dual occupancy site, you will likely be required to apply for an amendment to the Existing Planning Permit to “record” for the changes you want to undertake.

A planning permit does not remove the need to obtain a building permit.


If you have a construction project in mind always assume it will require a permit. Your local Council’s website will have plenty of information about this topic. Of course, if you are still unsure of the permit process you can call Permit Plans on 1300 022 240 for experienced help.

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