A general rule of thumb is that most internal renovations do not need a permit, unless there are structural changes taking places, such as walls or plumbing being moved.
But outside structures, changes and additions are more likely to be subject to a permit, especially if they exceed certain sizes. All councils have different rules, so be sure to check with a qualified person or your local government authority before proceeding with any renovations. Read on to find out why.
When do you need a permit?
Substantial extensions, new free-standing buildings, such as a large shed or granny flat will require a permit. In some cases, what seems like a simple or non-intrusive project like a new deck, a pergola or a retaining wall will also need a permit, and this varies from council to council. There are also rules on how close to your boundary you can build.
When do you NOT need a permit?
Some low-risk projects may be exempt from requiring a permit. See this list from the Gold Coast City Council website.
- A garden shed up to 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10sqm, 5 metres long and not located in the front or waterfront setback areas
- A fence not more than 2 metres high (except swimming pools, and waterfront areas)
- A one-metre high retaining wall (if no loads are imposed above it, such as a building or driveway)
- Deck up to 1 metre high and 10sqm when not located in any required setback area.
- Roofed patio up to 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10sqm, 5 metres long when not located in any required setback area.
What happens if you don’t have a required permit?
Worst case scenario, if you proceed without a permit and the council becomes aware, they can order for all completed works to be removed. This will end up costing extra money and extending the timeline on your project. We think that’s motivation enough to get it right from the start.