Planning and building services

What is the difference between a Planning Permit and a Building Approval?

Planning Permits and Building Approvals are two separate and distinct approvals. Generally, Planning Permits relate to the use and development of land, whereas Building Approvals relate to the structural matters and compliance with the building regulations. Depending on the buildings and/or works, some proposals require both Planning and Building approval, others require only one.

Planning Permits can only be issued by Council, VCAT or the Minister for Planning, while Building Permits can be obtained from any registered Building Surveyor, either through Local Government or Private Building Surveyors.

If I have a Planning Permit, do I need a Building Permit?

Planning and Building Permits are different in what they approve and in their purpose. These permits are two separate and distinct approvals and where Planning Permits are sometimes required, Building Permits are generally always required to construct, alter, extend or demolish a building. Alterations are defined as any structural changes to the building or changes to the original footprint. Please contact Councils Building Department for more information regarding permit requirements for alterations.

It should be noted that the Planning Permit must be issued before the Building Permit can be issued. You can apply for the Building Permit at the same time as applying for the Planning Permit or at any time prior to the Planning Permit being issued. This may reduce the time waiting as the permits can be assessed concurrently.


Planning and Building Permits enquiries and requests for inspections can be booked by telephoning Northern Grampians Shire Council on 5358 8700. If you wish to speak to a Planning Officer in person please make an appointment.

Alternatively, you can email us at:

Community Map

Your property can now be accessed via our Community Map, click on the link below and search for your property to get access to Planning information applicable to your property Click here Community Map 

Home swimming pool and spa safety

Pool Fencing Laws

  • If a Victorian residential pool or spa has a depth of 30cm or more (300mm), it is required to be surrounded by safety barrier regardless of the pool size. This includes inflatable pools and spas with lockable lids.
  • All pools and spas built after 2010 require a four-sided barrier (isolation fence), with no direct access from the house or any other building to the pool or spa.
  • Safety barriers must be a minimum of 1.2 metres high.
  • Barrier gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • It is illegal to leave a pool or spa gate propped open.
  • Climbable objects such as pot plants, eskies, pool pumps and chairs must be moved away from the barrier.


  • A building permit is required before installing a new pool, spa, or barrier.
  • This permit needs to be issued by a registered building surveyor.
  • Building work must start within 12 months of the date that the building permit was issued.
  • During construction, if a new pool is filled with more than 30cm of water it must have a temporary safety barrier put around it.