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Building your home

The Building Services unit undertakes the statutory duties of a Municipal Building Surveyor and maintains the standards of amenity, habitation and safety in Buildings.

To achieve this, the unit undertakes the following duties:

  • providing an efficient, quality building surveying and inspection service
  • providing an efficient timely and quality building permit service
  • providing administration, enforcement and compliance with the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006
  • providing quality customer service to all clients in assisting with general building permit applications and enquiries
  • maintaining registers and data base records in accordance with the Act and Regulations
  • issuing Building and Occupancy permits as well as Certificate of Final Inspection
  • conducting both mandatory and non-mandatory inspections on building projects
  • receive, record and process consent and report application for variations to the regulations
  • receive, record and process consent applications for demolition works (section 29A Building Act 1993)
  • deal with complaints regarding buildings
  • provide storm water legal point of discharge
  • resolving lapsed / expired building permits
  • provision of property information, such as flood, property and building approval certificates to solicitors, conveyancing agents, developers, builders and owners
  • receiving, recording and filing external building permits
  • providing building information such as archived plans and documents
  • provide regulatory advice
  • receive and administer the security deposits/guarantees that are submitted with applications to re-erect houses
  • receive, coordinate and reconcile the State Government Levy that is paid with a Building Permit Application.

Owner builder vs builder

Deciding whether to employ a builder or become an owner builder for your building works is a major decision when planning your works. The below information is provided to assist you with this decision.

Being an owner builder

Choosing to be an owner builder can be difficult, the below links may provide you with a better understanding of what this involves and assist you in making your decision.

Where the value of works are over $12,000 (cost of works must include all material and labour at a commercial rate), an Owner Builder Certificate of Consent is required. An application form is available at the below link. Please note this is not a Council form.

Employing a builder

If you engage a person to carry out any building work for which the contract price is more than $12,000, that person must ensure that the work is covered by domestic building insurance. The details of the insurance are required to be included on the domestic building contract by the Registered Building Practitioner. If you engage this person before the building permit is issued, you must notify the relevant building surveyor when you make the application for the building permit.

If you engage this person after a building permit has been issued, you must give the relevant building surveyor written notice of the engagement within 14 days, including the building practitioner’s registration details. If you do not comply with this requirement, you may be prosecuted by the Building Commission. If more than one trade is carried out by the same tradesperson for more than $5,000 (for example, the carpenters who construct the Frame work also carries out the fit out of architraves, skirtings and doors), they will be required to be registered and enter into a major domestic building contract. For work valued over $12,000, they must also provide domestic building insurance.

Planning permits

It is important not to confuse planning permits with building permits. Building permits relate to the method of construction of a building or development.

Planning permits are legal documents giving permission for a land use or development, and may be required for all building work. If a planning permit is required, it must be issued before the building permit can be issued. A planning permit does not remove the need to obtain a building permit.

Planning permits relate to the zoning of the land including whether the land can be used for residential or commercial developments. Not all projects need a planning permit.

The best way to find out whether you need a planning permit is to contact Council’s planning department.

An application for a planning permit should include all necessary supporting information, such as plans, reports, a site analysis, etc.

Fees are usually applicable.

What to know when planning to build

Property information

Information can be obtained as to whether a proposed building or land is in an area declared as liable to flooding, uncontrolled overland drainage, termite infestation or bushfire in accordance with Building Regulation 326(2). This information can be obtained by completing a ‘Request for Building Information’.

Drainage - storm water legal point of discharge

All storm water collected from a lot must be discharged to a drain connected to the Council’s infrastructure often referred to ‘Storm water Legal Point of Discharge’. The legal point of discharge may be located in the road reserve or in an easement or point on the lot.

Site drainage is the responsibility of property owners and should be installed by a licensed plumber.

To obtain more information regarding the location of the legal point of discharge, applicants are required to contact the Building Department.

Dial before you dig

Before commencing any excavation works you must be certain of the location of all underground services. Dial Before You Dig is an Australia-wide community service than can assist in the location of underground services and hence minimise the likelihood of any damage to the services arising from excavation works.

Further information can be obtained by dialing 1100 or visiting the website.

Building over an easement

Details of any easements that may exist on a property may appear on a property title. Land set aside for easements will commonly be shown on the plan of subdivision and will show any dimensions relevant to the easement and specify the type of easement and who has control over the easement. Easements are usually reserved for the location of services.

A structure, such as a dwelling, garage, shed, verandah, fence etc., cannot be located over an easement without prior consent from the party that will benefit or favour. Where a property contains a drainage easement, the owner of the property must prior to locating any structures over the easement make an application to the Council’s Building Department under regulation 310 of the Building Regulations 2006.  

An application to build over a Council easement can be made by completing the Report and Consent Application Form.

Other easements that may appear on a title include sewage, water, electricity, gas and telephone. Consent must be obtained from the relevant authorities prior to the establishment of buildings over their easements.

Termite management in buildings

Loddon Shire is a designated termite prone area under Regulation 803 of the Building Regulations 2006.

Any person intending to carry out building works within the municipality will be required to implement construction techniques that meet the requirements of the National Construction Code and the Building Code of Australia to prevent infestation.

Registered Building Practitioners

The Building Regulations 2006 outline the various categories and classes of building practitioners. The ability to be registered is based upon the nature and extent of the practitioner's qualifications and experience. The following categories and classes of building practitioners are some of the practitioners that are currently required to be registered with the BPB:

  • building surveyor (unlimited/limited)
  • building inspector (unlimited/limited)
  • quantity surveyor
  • engineer (civil/mechanical/electrical/fire safety)
  • draftsperson (building design - architectural, interior, services)
  • builder (commercial builder - unlimited/limited)
  • builder (domestic builder - unlimited/limited/manager)
  • builder (demolisher - low rise buildings/medium rise buildings/unlimited)
  • erector or supervisor (temporary structures - class 1 and 2).

Bush fire requirements

In line with the 2009 Victoria Bushfires Royal Commission (VBRC) recommendation, extensive state-wide mapping has been undertaken to designate bushfire prone areas for building homes. The Minister for Planning has determined that specific areas are designated bushfire prone areas (BPA) using the best available science taking into account factors such as weather, topography and vegetation and provides a more targeted approach to the protection of Victorians.

Bushfire attack levels explained

 Bushfire attack level (BAL)  Radiant heat exposures (AS3959) and levels of exposure Description of predicted bushfire attack and levels of exposure 
 BAL - LOW  Insignificant

 The risk is very low, radiant heat on the building is insignificant to warrant specific construction requirements, however ember attack may still occur.

If you are in a designated BPA, you must however construct to a minimum BAL 12.5

 BAL - 12.5  0 to 12.5 kW/m2  Primarily risk of ember attack; risk of radiant heat is considered low.
 BAL - 19  12.5 to 19 kW/m2  Risk is considered moderate with increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by wind borne embers; increasing likelihood of exposure to radiant heat.
 BAL - 29  19 to 29 kW/m2  Risk considered to be high with increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by wind borne embers; increasing likelihood of exposure to radiant heat.
 BAL - 40  29 to 40 kW/m2  Risk is considered to be very high. Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by wind borne embers; increasing likelihood of exposure to radiant heat and some direct exposure to flames possible.
 BAL - FZ

 40 kW/m2 plus

(flame contact)

 Risk is considered to be extreme. Direct exposure to flames from fire front is likely in addition to high levels of radiant heat exposure and ember attack.

The Victorian Building Authority and Loddon Shire Council recommend the following to assist in reducing the risk of damage to homes in bushfire prone areas:

  • use building materials appropriate for the conditions and your bushfire attack level (BAL)
  • ensure you will have suitable defendable space about your proposed dwelling by removing any overhanging tree branches, take out shrubs over 1 metre high, keep grass short and clean up debris about your proposed building site that could easily catch fire.
  • download the Country Fire Authority (CFA) fire ready kit form their website or by calling the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 for a copy.
  • ensure you have a bushfire survival plan in place and practice it regularly
  • get involved in community meetings about fire preparedness in the neighbourhood. Go to the CFA website for meeting details.

For further information please visit the CFA website and the Building Commission website.

It should always be borne in mind that the measures contained in Australian Standard (AS) 3959 - Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas, cannot guarantee that a building will survive a bushfire event on every occasion. This is substantially due to the unpredictable nature and behaviour of fire and extreme weather conditions.

Septic tank requirements

For further information see Related Links - Septic and waste water management.

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