The process of obtaining building permit

To be able to build a new home, an addition, a patio etc (basically anything that requires a footing) you will need a building permit. When the proposal doesn't comply with the Rcodes or local planning codes, has a Bushfire level of BAL 40 or higher, or is an Ancillary Dwelling, you will need a Planning Approval first (also called Development Approval (DA)). When you design a single home on an average block, you can avoid Planning Approval most of the time, but if it is a double storey, it is most of the time a challenge to avoid DA. For example, it is hard to keep all windows of habitable rooms within the cone of visions.

DA can take up approximately 3-6 months as the council has to inform the owners of adjoining blocks and ask for their comments and/or advertise the project for public comment. Depending on the proposal, the application has to go through the council meeting and depending on the amount of applications this can consume some time.

How long does it take to design a home?

This depends if the client knows more or less what they want (and only require drafting service) or if they would like to explore different ideas (design service). For drafting we normally have a turnover of 2-3 weeks. For exploring design concepts, this is 2-3 weeks for the first delivery, but after that there will be iterations where we fine-tune the design together with the client. This takes normally another 2-3 weeks, but depends onhow quick clients respond and can meet up. Amendments take between 1-3 working days.

The design stage is an important time, so we don't want to rush, but on the other hand it is good to keep momentum. 

Once the design documentation is finished we can submit for DA if this is required. We can submit the project for you. Meanwhile we keep you posted regarding progress and if it is likely that we would get DA (or with minor amendments), we can start working on the working drawings like Electrical Plan, Layouts and internal elevations of Kitchen and wet areas). 

How long does it take to get a building permit?

Once we receive Development Approval, we finalise the Working drawings/Construction drawings and Selection and Finishes and engage the Engineer to create engineering drawings (normally around 2-3 weeks). At this stage we prefer to involve the potential builder as every builder will have their preference of building techniques and methods. Further, we organise the Energy Efficiency report (2 days) and most of the time we get the documents certified (around 2-3 days) for a Certified Building Application (this way, the council has max. 10 working days to give the building permit). For small projects we sometimes lodge the project as an Uncertified Building Application for cost reasons. It works out that for small projects you save money when you skip the certification.


When you lodge a Building Application for projects over $20,000 you need a building contract with a builder or have your Owner Builder permit in place. So although this stage can go quite fast (around 4 weeks all together), it depends how long it takes to finalise the Selections and Finishes, round up the contract with the builder and get the finances with the bank formalised.