Before anything is built, you will need a building permit for your construction – and depending on where you’re building and what your plans are, you may also need to get a planning permit and consent from your neighbours too, which may involve putting signage up at the front of the site to describe your intentions.
Council approvals and building regulations
Your house should already be designed with the local council regulations in mind, and will need to take into account the council’s neighbourhood character overlay, heritage overlay or ‘master plan’ (if they exist). These are rules determining things like what colour a roof can be, how high fences can be, what colour bricks can be and so forth – the idea being to maintain a certain look and feel in the neighbourhood.
If your building plans vary from the requirements of Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006 (or various local council or state-based clauses or requirements), you may need to apply for special planning permission. Things that will affect whether or not you need planning permission include things like:
- the size of the block (greater than 300m2, or 500m2 in some places)
- site setback (how far the house will be from the front or the side edges of your property)
- the height of your house, and in particular whether or not it interferes with the neighbours’ views or light and so forth.
What is ‘public notification’?
If your plans fall outside the regulations and the council believes it may affect your neighbours, your plans may need to be advertised and your neighbours might have a say in whether or not you’re able to build the way you want.
Public notification involves:
- putting an ad in the newspaper detailing specifically what you’re proposing
- putting a sign up in front of the site detailing the specifics
- notifying any affected neighbours of your intentions in writing
At this point in the application process, neighbours are able to comment on your plans – and possibly submit any objections they have to how you’re hoping to build.
If you are planning on building something that falls outside of the regulations or guidelines, it’s always a very good idea to discuss your intentions with any neighbours who might be affected as soon as you possibly can. A bit of friendly communication can make a massive difference, and will save everyone a lot of time, money and effort!