Apply for a building permit

What is a building permit?

The primary purpose of a building permit is to protect the safety of users and occupants by ensuring buildings comply with local standards.

You will require a building permit before undertaking almost any building or demolition work. A permit confirms that a building surveyor has approved your plans and documents before your project begins.

If you are planning to build, extend or demolish, you need to understand your responsibilities. We will work with you to ensure your work is compliant and that it meets safety and building standards.

How do I apply for a building permit?

Since the introduction of the Building Reforms Program 2019 which commenced on 1 July 2019, the way a building permit is issued has altered slightly. Council can still issue you with a building permit, although the internal process has changed and all building permit applications submitted to council, or any other Relevant Building Surveyor, now need to be sent to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) for a permit number to be issued. The VBA levy will now need to be paid to the VBA, by the nominated levy payer, prior to the permit being issued. This is now a statewide process. Council will make every effort to assist with this new process but, this will also depend on the information supplied with the application and the payment of the levy to the VBA.

Our professional, qualified and experienced staff can provide you with reliable and accurate advice through their knowledge of regulations and awareness of local building issues.

For further information on the new changes please go to the VBA website "Frequently asked questions".

You may also apply for a building permit from a private building surveyor. You can find a building surveyor through the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors or the Victorian Building Authority

Are you a business wanting to apply for a building permit?

If you are ready to apply for a permit for building works for your business, please visit The Process for Obtaining a New Permit to start your business application process.

If you need assistance with starting, running or growing your business, please visit our Business Enabling webpage.

Are you an individual, property owner, project manager, builder or owner builder wanting to apply for a building permit? 

If you are anyone other than a business wanting to apply for a building permit, please apply through the online application below.

Lodge a building permit online

Once the plans and structural details are complete, and you have all the required documents, you are ready to apply for a building permit.

Click here to apply for a building permit online >>

Once we receive your application, we will email you with the application fee.

You will be required to pay a building permit application fee which is calculated based on the cost of works.

Where the cost of the building work is greater than $10,000, the Building Act 1993 requires a building permit levy of 0.00128 cents in every dollar of the cost of the building work to be paid on top of the application fee.

Payment options:

In person - at our Customer Service Centers in Stawell and St Arnaud during business hours.

Over the phone - by calling 03 5358 8700 and quoting your building permit application number which can be found in the email detailing the application fee.

Apply for report and consent

A report and consent must be obtained for the following:

  • A design that doesn't comply with the current Building Regulations.
  • Permission to demolish a building on any parcel of land.
  • Permission to build on land that has been designated as flood zone.

Refer to the fees and charges for the relevant pricing.

Building - consent and report form >>

Once a building permit is issued, work must begin within 12 months, and be completed within 24 months, from the date of issue. This time may be extended if you apply to the building surveyor before the permit expires.

Swimming pools and spas, and the required barriers, must be completed within six months of the date of issue.

Extension of time to complete works

If you are unable to complete your building work before your building permit expires, you must apply to us for an extension of time while the permit is still active.

If you lodge an extension of time letter after the permit has lapsed, you will be required to apply for a new building permit. This will entail the submission of all documentation and the payment of all fees.

The commencement and completion dates are clearly noted on each building permit.

We will only consider an application for an extension of time if you:

  • submit a letter requesting an extension and a reason for why the work could not be completed on time
  • pay the relevant fees

Variations to a building permit

If designs need to be changed or alternative materials used during the course of construction, you must first get permission from the building surveyor who issued your building permit.

When we issue your building permit, we will list the inspections required. Once you have reached each mandatory stage, you must book an inspection.

To book, call us on 03 5358 8700, at least 24 hours before your preferred inspection time. This ensures we can deliver a fair and efficient service to both builders and owners.

With the exception of new buildings, all works will require a certificate of final inspection. Once we have completed the final inspection, we will issue you with this certificate. 

A building permit application can be made to the Northern Grampians Shire Council Municipal Building Surveyor or a private building surveyor.

An agent can appoint a building surveyor on your behalf, but Consumer Affairs Victoria suggest you choose your own, so you can be confident of their independence. You can find a building surveyor through the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors or the Victorian Building Authority.

By choosing council’s Municipal Building Surveyor you will have easy access to a wealth of local knowledge which can ensure efficient and coordinated processing of your application.

You can only appoint one building surveyor to a building project. Once you have made an application for a building permit and the building surveyor has begun carrying out their functions for your project, that person will then be known as the relevant building surveyor for your project. This applies even if you have not signed a contract or provided written confirmation of the appointment.

Prior to issuing your building permit, your building surveyor will let you know if you need to protect an adjoining property from potential damage from your building work.

If building work is close to, or adjacent to, adjoining property boundaries, then you may be required to carry out protection work in respect of that adjoining property. Please see the Victorian Building Authority for more information.


Once the building project is complete, the building surveyor will issue an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection.

Occupancy permit

A building permit states whether you need an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection. Building work for a new home, including units or apartments, always needs an occupancy permit.

Your building surveyor issues an occupancy permit when your building is considered suitable for occupation.

Certificate of final inspection

Your building surveyor issues a certificate of final inspection for extensions or alterations to existing homes and for garages, fences and outbuildings.

Extensions and alterations do not need an occupancy permit.