Planning vs Building Approval

What is the Difference between Planning Approval and Building Approval?

Planning approval and building approval are two separate processes. Often a particular use or development of land may require approvals under both processes. Separate applications are required.

The planning approval process involves assessment of a proposal to use or develop land against the rules in a planning scheme. The planning process is mainly concerned with the impacts of a proposed use or development upon neighbouring land.

Some of the issues that planning looks at are:

Will a proposed development affect the neighbour’s enjoyment of their land by causing privacy, or overshadowing problems?

  • Is a proposed development positioned far enough away from boundaries?
  • Is a proposed building too high?
  • Is the proposed use of the land appropriate to the area?
  • Will a proposed development affect the streetscape?
  • Does a use or development have enough car parking?
  • Will the proposed hours of operating of a use affect neighbours?

Building approval involves an assessment of a proposed use or development against the Building Code of Australia and the Plumbing Regulations. The building approval process mainly involves issues such as:

  • Is the building soundly constructed?
  • Have adequate fire protection measures been installed?
  • Is the building capable of receiving adequate levels of light and ventilation?
  • Is the building property sewered and drained?
  • Are the building's features safe for users?

The building and plumbing process may also involve a series of inspections at various stages of construction of a building to ensure that these issues have been adequately addressed.

Since 2010, Council no longer surveys building plans or provides an inspection service. Please refer to "Building Surveyors" in the Yellow Pages for a list of private building surveyors.

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