Permit us to explain permits

22 September 2011 - 10 min read

There aren’t many things you can do in a modern world that don’t come with some form of paperwork and building a brand new home, or even making modifications to your established home, is no exception.

Permits are not something a builder issues or grants themselves, they are granted by the Building Commission to ensure a safer build all round.

A permit will actually give you better peace of mind, as the Building Commission is the governing body of builders, which means they can ensure your builder is properly registered and insured and construction is compliant, achieved by reviewing documentation and by independently inspecting the work.

You can read more about permits on the Building Commission website relevant to your State.

There are a couple of different types of permits required during your build and your builder will handle the administration of them but if you’d like to know what goes on, keep reading!

At Porter Davis, your permits are included as part of your procedure of purchase (you can grab a copy from your local display centre).

Prior to the commencement of building:

Building permit

  • Signifies that the building surveyor has approved the documentation relating to the proposed building work prior to commencement.
  • A building permit is a system of control on the construction of all building works to ensure proper and compliant building.
  • The permit will specify when an occupancy permit is required or when a certificate of final inspection is necessary.

Planning permit

  • Gives permission for land use or development.
  • Not always required, your Council’s Town Planning Office will be able to advise.
  • A planning permit doesn’t remove the need for a building permit.

On completion of building work:

Occupancy permit

  • Signifies that a building surveyor has approved your building work and is not suitable for occupation.
  • It is an offence to occupy a newly constructed building without an occupancy permit.

A certificate of final inspection

  • Is issued for extensions or alterations to an established home that doesn’t require an occupancy permit.
  • Your building permit will indicate if you need a certificate of final inspection.


Standard building permits are generally included in your new home price, however there are exceptions including when you need additional applications above the minimum requirements. These can include developer approval, asset protection, dispensation, town planning – or any other permit required in order to get a standard Building Permit issued.


The time from lodging to completion depends on a few different factors, not least including what permits need to be applied for and varies from build to build. If the land has been titled and released, a Building Permit has been known to be issued within 48 hours, but this isn’t always the case.


The most common reason for permit delays is the release and title of land but a few other things can also stall it.

  • Once titled property information is registered with the relevant authority, it can still take up to 4 weeks to process the title release.
  • Owners can also delay the permit process by not complying with Building Regulations.
  • Design Guidelines needing developer approval can also hold up permits.