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Undertaking building works

December 01, 2019

Have you got a Building Permit?

HIA gets numerous enquiries from members who have undertaken building work only to find out that that a building permit or certificate of likely compliance has not been issued for that work. This can lead to expensive legal costs and significant penalties.

In many of these cases where there turns out to be no building permit or certificate of likely compliance the owner has provided the builder with set of plans for a quote and advised that they have a permit or will be getting the permit.

Undertaking building work that requires a building permit or a certificate of likely compliance without the building permit or certificate of likely first being obtained can lead to significant penalties: (Over $16,000 for a natural person and $80,000 for a company).

Before you price a potential job and prepare the contract you should check if a building permit or certificate of likely compliance has been issued or is required.

What should you do?

Simple easy steps to confirm that a building permit or certificate of likely compliance has been obtained.

  • Check the plans have been stamped and approved by the building surveyor.
  • Ask for a copy of the building permit or the certificate of likely compliance and any other associated documents (if there is hesitation be wary!)

HIA recommends that in this situation you don’t provide a contract to the client without first seeing the building permit or certificate of likely compliance and all the approved plans.

Once you have accepted the project and have a signed contract you must provide the building surveyor with a Start Work Notice in the form of the Form 39 before you commence work.

Where the owner/client indicates an application for a certificate of likely compliance has been lodged with the building surveyor:

  • find out the name of the building surveyor and check that this is the case, and
  • ask to see the plans actually submitted to the building surveyor (these could be different to the ones your quoting on)

Residential Building work

Where the value of residential building work is $20,000 or more, you are required to enter into a written contract with the owner irrespective of whether a building permit or certificate of likely compliance is require for the building work.

For more information contact HIA Technical department on 1300 650 620 or email