People, Permits, Planning
This process is, and should be, closely regulated. Of course, that means people, processes, paperwork and sometimes some headaches.
So we’re here to help give you some clarity and a better understanding of how to go about getting started to make sure you’re compliant and heading for a safe and satisfying new home outcome.
Permits & Inspections
From the planning stage to on-site completion, there are a several different people involved in monitoring and making sure the construction of your home is compliant. Land use, development and building is controlled by local planning and building laws that cover everything from the building itself, to plumbing and electrical regulations and utility providers.
If your new home is going to happen on a land estate, please be aware that they sometimes have their own specific guidelines that go above and beyond other regulations.
"Don’t take shortcuts, they only lead to dead ends and lengthy diversions. Follow the process the right way once and you’ll be rewarded with a smoother process and a high quality new home to move into."
Local Council & Planning Permit
If your block needs a planning permit to build your new house, you’ll need to get in touch with your local council and investigate the process for approval of the plans and drawings. This is how you make sure that the new home you're planning will meet their standards.
If your new home passes this test, then a planning permit will be issued and from there the plans go on to the next stage of assessment by a local council building official or, in some states and territories, private building certifiers are there to get the job done too.
Building certifiers will check a wide range of items on your new home from the foundations and framing to natural light and ventilation. They will also look at fire safety, safe access and the materials used in the build.
Certification also involves a thorough check of the plans to make sure they comply with required ‘setbacks’ (the distance of the home from the property lines). Your builder will be given a planning permit / approval when your plans are given approval.
Now the fun really begins because your builder can start digging holes in the ground, laying foundations, and start the build for real.
As the build moves forward and your new home starts to reach for the sky, there will be several more checks at different stages of the build. A council or private building certifier will inspect the site to make sure your builder is following the approved plans and is compliant with the necessary codes.
The number of required inspections varies across Australia but generally include foundation / footing inspections, a frame inspection before the roof and wall cladding are applied and a final inspection to ensure full compliance and that the new home is safe to live in.
Remember, it is not the building certifier’s responsibility to check the quality of your builder’s work. Their only responsibility is to make sure it complies with the minimum regulations. It is your responsibility to double check if your building contract or plans set a higher standard than those required.
Plumbing & Electrical
Inspections and permits are also needed for a lot of plumbing and electrical work and again, exactly what is required varies from state to state. Most of the time, local authorities will be responsible for inspecting plumbing and electrical but in some cases, responsibility will lie with the utility companies.
Move on In
Ok, the end is in sight! When your new home has been completed and all the inspectors are happy, you’ll receive a certificate that give you the go ahead to move in. Happy days! You can now plan your house warming party, and that shouldn't need any inspections or certification at all!
Please note that this final certificate makes sure that the home complies with regulations and can be occupied. It might not cover all items under your contract, so please make sure you check everything when you do your own final inspection at handover.
Your Final, Final, Inspection
The most focussed and intense ‘inspectors’ during this whole process should be you and your builder, because their work, and their reputation is on the line. It’s up to them to make sure that not only does your new home meet all the minimum legal requirements, but that it is of the highest quality and gives you great value for your investment.
Before you take the keys, it’s a great idea to take the time to walk through your new home with your builder and inspect the lot, from top to bottom.