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Frequently Asked Questions FAQS

Below is a list of the most common questions about building permits and building compliance that we get asked. If your question or answer is not listed here, then please Contact Us by clicking here or calling us on

03 9018 5333

  • What is a building notice and when it can be served?
    A Building Notice is the initial step in the building enforcement process. It is a "show cause" notice that is issued to property owners. This notice is not addressed to contractors, builders, or developers. It contains reasons why it has been issued and requests the owner/s to 'show cause'. The owner or authorised agent should give in writing reasons why the Relevant Building Surveyor should not issue a Building Order requiring the owner to do or not do certain things regarding the land or building. Please note that a Building Notice does not authorise anyone to carry out any building work without a building permit. It is illegal to carry out building work without a required permit, and it is considered an offence under Section 16 of the Act. The Building Notice remains in effect until the Relevant Building Surveyor or the Building Appeals Board cancels it. A Building Order may also supersede the Building Notice. Building orders are binding on every subsequent owner or occupier of the land, according to Section 236 of the Act. If you receive a Building Notice, there are three ways to show cause: 1. Remove/demolish: You may choose to remove/demolish the structure/s and, where applicable, reinstate the structures back to their original approved condition. Before any removal/demolition work is carried out, please confirm with the officer if a building (demolition) permit is required. Officer contact details can be found in a Building Notice. 2. Show Cause - Written Representations: You can provide a written response to each item listed within a Building Notice. 3. Retain/Rectify the building works (fees applicable): If you wish to retain all or part of the building work, the Relevant Building Surveyor requires the following items to review and determine if an application to retain works without a building permit is reasonable as part of the show cause response: a. A report from a registered building surveyor identifying compliant and non-compliant matters in line with the current Building Regulations (Regulations) and Building Code of Australia (BCA). b. A report from a suitably endorsed engineer identifying compliant and non-compliant matters. c. An outline of proposed corrective rectification works to bring the building into compliance and associated timelines from the owner/s. Note: Upon completion certification from a Building Surveyor, Engineer's, plumbing, and electrical certificates confirming that the building complies with the relevant Regulations, BCA, and Standards to the satisfaction of the RBS. Providing items a-c above does not indicate that retaining the works would be appropriate nor agreed upon, and this is done at the owner/s risk and cost. Any additional requirements and/or costs incurred by a building surveyor or consultant/s are matters for the owner. Please note that providing certification for the structure/s may not remove all or any of the information placed on the land information certificate. You may have an obligation to inform any mortgage and insurance company that may have an interest in the property. If you do not respond to a Building Notice, the Relevant Building Surveyor will consider any representations made. The Building Notice may be cancelled, amended, or escalated. If the Building Notice is not cancelled, a Building Order under Section 111 of the Act may be made, requiring you to carry out any work listed. Further enforcement action may be taken if you fail to comply with the work required by a Building Order. The Magistrate at their discretion may impose any or all of the following, for example, but not limited to: • Conviction • Fines up to $462,300 for a body corporate and $92,460 for an individual for each charge. a. Section 16 of the Act, Offences relating to carrying out building work b. Section 118 of the Act, Contravention of Building Order. • Injunction (Court Order) to conduct work • Injunction to pay legal costs If you require any further explanation or wish to discuss this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us during office hours on 03 9018 5333 or
  • What is the process if I receive a Building Notice or minor building work order from my local council and I like to engage you to process the certificate of compliance-building work?
    Pursuant s.238 (1)(b) of the Building Act 1993, a building surveyor can issue a certificate of compliance-building work for the attention of a Municipal Building Surveyor and certify if a work complies with the relevant provisions of the Building Act, Building Regulation or the National Construction Code. To enable us to process your work, we need a copy of a building notice, building order and/or plans to show the scope of work. In reviewing the documentation, we will send you a fee proposal, and upon your agreement, we will arrange for an inspection of your work so our building surveyor can review the scope of the work before we accept the certification process. Once your work is inspected, our building surveyor will send you a report highlighting the relevant requirements for a compliance certificate. Our fee for the inspection and report starts from $1000+GST. Alternatively, the building surveyor may confirm the work is not satisfactory, and we will not accept to process the certification, or we may suggest that a building permit is required for remedial works. Once you address the requirements identified in our report, we can be engaged for the certification services, and our fee for this process starts from $1000+GST. If the owner agrees to carry out the relevant remedial works and those works require a building permit, our office may be engaged to provide the Building Permit services.
  • What should should I do if my building permit is expired, and there is no occupancy permit or certificate of final inspections?
    You can contact your local council to find out if there is a record of approval for your building work. If there is no record, the council may issue a building notice or building order, and we can assist you in the process so you can address the relevant requirements by the council. If there is a record, you will need to contact the relevant building surveyor who issued the permit so he/she can assist you in the process and finalise your work. Alternatively, you may contact the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to terminate the appointment of the first building surveyor and transfer the appointment to another building surveyor. If you select us for this service, we can inspect your work, review the relevant documentation and assist you in finalising your work.
  • What is the process if I have no building permit and I am in the construction process and realise that my work is unauthorised and requires a building permit?
    You may appoint a private building surveyor for a building permit for the remainder of your work. In the process of building permit, the appointed building surveyor may issue a Building Notice for the matters relevant to the building permit, e.g. footing and slab, and ask you to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Building Act. To comply with the requirements, you may be asked to provide evidence of suitability, such as a certificate under s.238(1)(b) by a structural engineering practitioner to confirm compliance with the structural requirements of the Code. Also, they may require plans to demonstrate compliance with the Building Act. e.g., siting requirements of the regulations. Alternatively, you can contact your local council and inform the council about the issue. Your council’s Municipal Building Surveyor (MBS) can issue a Building Notice and ask you to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Building Act. To comply with the council's requirements, you may be asked to engage a private building surveyor to prepare a report and/or a Certificate of Compliance under s.238(1)(b) of the Building Act for the attention of the MBS. If you select us for this service, we can inspect your work, review the relevant documentation and assist you in formalising your work.
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