You require building approval, also called certification, for development that involves carrying out building work under the Planning Act 2016 (PA), as well as under specific building legislation.
Building approvals require assessment against the Building Code of Australia (forming Volumes 1 and 2 of the National Construction Code) and Queensland’s building and plumbing regulations. These codes and regulations address issues such as whether the building:
- is designed and constructed soundly and will be safe
- has an appropriate degree of fire safety
- has adequate protection from pests
- is adequately sewered and drained
- meets the minimum energy and water efficiency standards.
While building approvals are usually only issued once for a specific structure or building, building legislation may require various technical inspections at different stages of the building process, including completion.
Accredited private building certifiers issue building approvals. However, Brisbane City Council can also provide building certification services upon request. It is in your best interest to obtain quotes from multiple certifiers before choosing a building certifier.
The Planning Act 2016 and the Building Act 1975 require a private certifier to lodge building work documentation with Council.
Building certifiers are responsible for lodging building approvals and certification information with Council.
There are some development functions that a building certifier cannot handle. You must arrange these approvals through Council. Examples include:
- any town planning matters that are not accepted development, subject to requirements under Brisbane City Plan 2014
- houses more than 9.5 metres high from the natural ground level in the majority of residential zones
- redevelopment or removal of heritage and character buildings.
The following activities require a decision or engagement with Council:
- building work on sites with vegetation protected by the Natural Assets Local Law 2003
- building work that impacts on stormwater infrastructure may require a request for referral agency response (Queensland Development Code build over or near stormwater). A building certifier or Registered Professional Engineers of Queensland (RPEQ) engineer can assess minor building work. Stormwater must connect to a legal point of discharge from your property. You can download the following factsheets to help you connect properly:
- depositing material on footpaths. This requires an application/notice to work on Council property
- vehicle crossings and driveway gradients. This requires an application/notice to work on Council property
- erecting signs
- soil and erosion control for site works
- relaxation of boundary clearances, known as a siting variation.