Terrace renovation project in Beaconsfield

Council Approvals – What Renovations Need What? (The NSW Facts)

Has your family outgrown the home and want to add more space and rooms? A renovation or home addition is an ideal way to bring your home up to date. As you plan to go about your home improvement and renovation projects, you want to find out what your obligations are when it comes to council approval. Some structures demand the approval of the council so that you are issued with a permit to continue with the renovation or home addition work. The council approval for home renovation may seem daunting, often confusing at first. You must know what renovations need council approvals in New South Wales, Australia.

What needs council approval?

It’s important that before seeking council approval for projects you check which your council approves – approval projects vary from council to another. As a rule of thumb, you find that internal renovations don’t usually need approval from the council unless a project involves structural changes. Most external renovations, building work, and extensions will require approval. Depending on your council, a seemingly small project such as a new fence or a deck may require approval.

So, do bathroom renovations need council approval?

Since bathroom renovations are internal renovations, it would mean that you may not need a permit. However, if you are bringing down the existing bathroom to build a larger one, you might need a permit. You don’t need the approval by a council for your kitchen and bathroom renovations if you are not changing or moving the walls, or changing the doors and windows sizes.

Projects that nearly always require council approval for renovations NSW include those involving significant extensions, those involving substantial excavation and filling as well as new freestanding buildings such as studios and granny flats.

When it comes to constructing sheds, decks, fences, carports, pergolas, water tanks, and retaining walls, there are significant differences among Australia’s councils.

What the council approval process involves

Renovations and extensions council approvals often start by reaching out to your council so that you confirm the procedures and policies as well as the fees. A professional architect you engage helps draw up your plan. A building certifier has to certify the plans to ascertain that the plans are in accordance with Australia’s building code. You also want to appoint someone who acts as your Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). You may choose your building certifier to be your PCA. A Principal Certifying Authority signs off that your construction has been carried out as your plans indicated. Once the construction is ended, your PCA provides an occupation certificate.

Tips for a hassle-free council approval

  1. Have accurate information ready to be provided to council

    Make sure you provide accurate information to make it easier to process the application. Approval can take up to months, so you want to be patient. Ensure you maintain direct contact with your council when inquiring about whether your renovation work needs approval – don’t rely on friends, neighbours, or contractor’s advice.

  2. Communication

    Keep constant communication with your council during the time of preparing the documentation before lodgement. Once the lodgement of your application is done, you want to ensure you’re proactive in meeting requests for additional information.

  3. Contact the right professionals

    Deal with professionals like builders and architects to get certifications and drawings or plans for your project as it helps instil confidence in the council. Budget for the fee – it varies at different stages.

  4. Try not to make additional changes once approved

    Once you have obtained approval, avoid making changes to your project plans or drawings because alterations to approval are pretty costly and contribute to delays of the project. Ensure you start the work or the renovating process before the expiry of the approval – there is a specified period when the work must start, otherwise, you might have to get through the process again.

The Bottom Line Whether You Need Council Approval On Renovations

So, do you need council approvals for home property renovations? It’s not as easy as yes and no, but the bottom line is, you’ll need council approval on external renovations and even some internal renovations. So, it’s a worthwhile thought to contact us, and we’ll be able to help you every step of the way.