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Planning and building permits

Rebuilding after a bushfire is a big job. Everybody has different circumstances and will make different choices, and that’s okay

We know that not everyone wants to rebuild straight away. You can access these supports when you are ready.

Permits are an essential part of rebuilding and this page highlights some of the information you’ll need to know to rebuild successfully and safely.

Permits you will need

To rebuild you usually need a planning permit and will always need a building permit.

A planning permit is a legal document that gives permission to use or develop land in a particular way and is issued by your local council.

A building permit is a written approval that allows building work to go ahead and provides you with protection relating to the safety, health, amenity and sustainability of your build.

Planning permits

For people rebuilding a bushfire impacted home, you will likely need a planning permit.

You might also need a planning permit for rebuilding sheds, outbuildings, and water tanks. This will depend on factors such as shed size, and distance from property boundaries, houses, and waterways.

Planning permits are issued by your local council. A planning application may address a range of matters relating to your property and proposed build. Your application will be assessed based on the information you provide, and the requirements of your local council’s planning scheme.

Before submitting your application:

  • Engage early with your local council and the Rebuild Support Service to understand application requirements, determine what approvals you need and what professional assistance is needed to prepare your application and supporting paperwork.
  • Develop a site plan. This is the plan of where you want to rebuild your house and sheds. On the plan, show building outlines and distance from property boundaries. You can make this plan yourself or contact the Rebuilding Support Service for support to engage a building professional to provide you with a site plan.
  • Determine who will submit the application, the Rebuild Support Service or your builder can apply on your behalf if you prefer.

Planning permit application checklist

This is an example checklist. Depending on the nature of the application, additional information may be requested.

Requirements for a planning permit application will vary council-by-council but generally ask for the following information:

  • Completed application form.
  • Recent Certificate of Title.
  • A final version of your site plan and development plans. Plans must:
    • be drawn to scale and fully dimensioned
    • show the site, floor layout and elevations, clearly showing building height above natural ground level, floor/roof levels that relate to the site contours and building materials.

Building permits

You will need a building permit to rebuild successfully and safely.

You will need to engage with a registered private building surveyor so they can help you get your building permit. To ensure the surveying process remains independent, your builder can't appoint the building surveyor.

Building surveyors

It is the role of the building surveyor to ensure that the build will meet all current building regulations.

This means complying with a range of requirements, some of them include:

  • your Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating
  • having adequate foundations for your property’s soil conditions
  • achieving a 6-star energy efficiency rating
  • applying for a building permit.

To apply for a building permit with your building surveyor, you will need to provide:

  • copies of drawings, specifications, and allotment plans
  • the completed application form
  • other prescribed information.

You may be required to pay the building permit levy fee. Additional information may be required depending on your situation, such as land surveying.

When your private building surveyor is satisfied that your build will meet all regulations, they will issue a building permit.

Your building surveyor will:

  • specify the mandatory inspections that will be required throughout the course of the building work
  • provide requirements for the certificate of a final inspection and/or certificate of occupancy on completion of the building work.

Occupancy permits

You cannot move into your new home until you have received an occupancy permit from your building surveyor.

Your occupancy permit confirms that your building surveyor is satisfied that the building is suitable to be occupied.

Either the owner or the builder can apply for the occupancy permit. Before issuing it, the building surveyor may request certificates or statements from people involved in the construction.

There are a range of rebates available to help with the costs of obtaining permits.

The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments have made up to $27,000 in rebates available for landowners whose properties were destroyed or significantly damaged by the 2019-20 Eastern Victorian bushfires.

Reviewed 16 October 2022