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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about our services

Residential Approval FAQ

I’m doing some alterations / extensions at home; do I need a Building Plan approval?

Any structural building work including – carports, pergolas, decks, verandas, alterations / extensions, garden sheds and retaining walls higher than 1m require a Building Approval.

When don’t I need a building approval for a Retaining wall?

(Building Regulation 2006 Schedule 1 & Building Act Section 21)

Building approval is not required, for a retaining wall if:

  1. There is no surcharge loading over the zone of influence for the wall; and
  2. The total height of the wall and of the fill or cut retained by the wall is no more than 1m above the wall’s natural ground surface; and
  3. The wall is no closer than 1.5m to a building or another retaining wall.

Can I build closer than the required boundary setbacks?

A Relaxation Application (Siting Variation) will be required for any building work that is located within boundary setbacks that are nominated by law under Building Regulation 2006 and Local Planning Schemes. All Construction Approvals, upon initial assessment of your plans will inform you if a Relaxation (Siting Variation) will be required.

What distance from my front boundary alignment do I have to come back to build a structure?

Generally, a ‘minimum front boundary clearance’ of 6m is required, but a reduced distance may be allowed in special circumstances such as open carports or when the local authority has stipulated special boundary setbacks.

I would like to build a carport on the side of my house. How close to the boundary can I build?

You can build up to the boundary under certain conditions:

  • The carport must be open on two sides and without doors or gates on these sides.
  • In addition, at least one-third of the carport perimeter must be open.
  • It must have an adequate roof-water drainage system.
  • It must not be higher than 4.5m above natural ground level with an average height not more than 3.5m. (Natural ground level is the surface level at the time of registration of the title deed.)
  • Maximum length along the boundary must not be more than 9m – (total length of all buildings or parts on that boundary)
  • It must not be closer than 1.5m to a required window of a neighbouring building.

I wish to raise and build-in underneath my house. What should I be aware of?

The minimum side boundary clearances depend on the height of the building, so raising the building may require a Siting Variation.

For example, a low-set home is generally less than 4.5m high and requires a boundary clearance of 1.5m on Outer Most Projection (fascia) for a standard residential allotment. By raising it to a height between 4.5m and 7.5m, a 2m side boundary clearance is required. Please note: Also, small lots defined by Local Planning Scheme have additional specific siting requirements.

  • A finished ceiling height of 2.4m is required for habitable rooms for example bedrooms, lounge rooms, and living areas, etc.
  • The finished floor level needs to be 225mm above finished ground level.
  • Habitable floor levels need to be 300mm above the Q100 flood inundation overlay.
  • External walls must be water-proof. (Sometimes problems occur where single skin clay masonry is used.)

Do I require Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) Insurance for my project?

QBCC insurance is paid by the builder when undertaking work exceeding a value of $3300. The “Confirmation of Insurance” document needs to be forwarded to your certifier to release plans. The insurance is paid on residential work including unit developments up to a certain number of storeys.

Not sure if your structure needs insurance? Click on the link below:

http://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/insurable-work

What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy Efficiency assessments are a legislative requirement with the objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by efficiently using energy. These assessments are applicable for new dwellings, class 2 – 9 buildings and alterations/additions (habitable areas) to existing dwellings. When the plans have been assessed for Energy Efficiency, a report is produced with an Energy Efficiency Rating. This report will become part of the Approved Plan documentation.

How long does a building approval last?

The building work must be completed, inspected and finalised within two years of the date issue on the Decision Notice document, unless noted otherwise. (Demolitions to be commenced within 2 months and to be completed within 6 months from date of approval).

Can I come to your office and speak to a Certifier?

Yes. All Construction Approvals offers an In-house Advisory Service to help you with any questions you may have. No appointment necessary, just contact our office at any time to make sure a certifier is available (a fee is applicable for this service).

Can I change my plans after they have been approved?

Yes, you can alter your Approved Plans; however, it will depend on the nature of the alteration. Amending plans requires a request to change to be completed and returned to All Construction Approvals.

A copy of the request to change form can be downloaded from this website and an additional fee for Amending Plans will be applicable (a fee is applicable for this service).

Can you provide me with a quote?

Yes. Simply contact our office on (07) 4054 4588, email your plans to info@acapprovals.com.au or post your plans to PO Box 331, Edmonton, QLD 4860 and we will reply to your request in approximately 2-3 working days. (Subject to work load constraints)

Do I require any inspections during the construction of my building project?

Yes, your Decision Notice attached to your Approved Plans, will advise of what inspections are required. The builder and or owner builder must contact All Construction Approvals (07 4054 4588) before 2pm the day prior to the inspection to ensure the booking is made in sufficient time for the inspection to be carried out on the requested day.

What is Qleave? www.qleave.qld.gov.au

The Building and Construction Industry Portable Long Service Leave Levy, Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Training Levy and Workplace Health and Safety Fee are payable on the total cost of all building and construction work in Queensland costing $150,000 or more.

The levies and fee are usually paid by the project owner and must be paid prior to receiving a development permit. If a development permit is not given, they must be paid prior to the start of work.

The combined levies and fee are calculated at 0.525% of the total cost of work and can be paid at any Australia Post office or agency, or directly to Qleave.

New Home Approvals FAQ

When do I need a building certifier for my new home?

You will need this service when you decide to build a dwelling and you have your site plan and engineer signed plans.

How long does it take to get an approval?

If we have all of the paperwork and plans needed, we can usually get your approval out within a week or less. If for some reason, you need a siting this can add an extra week and a code assessment can add about a month to the approval process. We strive to always get approvals out as soon as possible.

How much notice do you need for an inspection?

We need at least 24-hours notice to get you booked in for an inspection.

What do I need to get started?

We just need a signed engagement form, a site plan and floor plan to begin the process. We will then be able to inform you of all the other documentation you need in order to receive an approval.

Lapsing Building Approvals FAQ

Why do files lapse?

Due to the Building Code of Australia and Queensland Development Code having regular changes, building approvals only last for a limited amount of time so we are able to keep these regulations in place as they change.

How long does a building approval last?

Most building approvals are good for two-years from the date of issue. Swimming pools must be checked within six months from the date of issue. Demolition approvals are good for one-year.

What if I have a development approval (DA), as well? Does that lapse with the building approval?

If you had to have a siting variation or code assessment, most of these last for two years. Most councils are happy to move forward with your DA as long as you have an active building approval in place. Once the building approval lapses you may need to apply for a new siting variation or code assessment, as well.

What do I do if my house building approval has lapsed?

If you want to proceed you will need to contact a certifier. From there, we can send you a new DA form 2 and engagement form. We will then have to assess your building approval and we will let you know if we need any further information or documentation. Please note, if you are up to the frame stage, for example, of your house, you will need proof that the Slab and Bond Beam stage inspections have been carried out. These are usually provided to you in the form of a Form 16 inspection certificate. Our certifiers can assist you if you do not have this documentation, but there will be more fees and time involved in rectifying the approval.

If I am unsure I’m moving ahead with my project, but the lapsing date is approaching, should I still renew?

It is a lot easier to renew an already existing file and keep it alive than trying to re-open a file. It is best just to renew as the fees and the work involved is a lot less for you. If for some reason it does lapse, and you decide to move forward you will need to pay more fees and re-fill out paperwork.

Renovation & Additions Approvals FAQ

Why do I need a building approval if I just want to change my patio into a bedroom?

You need a building approval because you are changing the classification of the structure. A patio is a Class 10a you are wanting to make it a habitable room which is a Class 1a structure. This means they have different regulations.

How long does a building approval last?

You will have two-years to complete your project, you have the option to renew after the two-years.

What do I do if I am unsure if I need a building permit or not?

If you are unsure for any reason give us a call and we will be able to assist you.

What do I do if the work has already been completed, but it came up in a search that it wasn’t approved?

This is considered a retrospective building approval. We are still able to help you in most circumstances, but it may include rectifications to the works already completed to bring it up to code. It is always best practice to check with us before you build.

Retrospective Building Approvals FAQ

Why do files lapse?

Due to the Building Code of Australia and Queensland Development Code having regular changes, building approvals only last for a limited amount of time so we are able to keep these regulations in place as they change.

How long does a building approval last?

Most building approvals are good for two-years from the date of issue. Swimming pools must be checked within six months from the date of issue. Demolition approvals are good for one-year.

What if I have a development approval (DA), as well? Does that lapse with the building approval?

If you had a siting variation or code assessment, most of these last for two years. Most councils are happy to move forward with your DA as long as you have an active building approval in place. Once the building approval lapses you may need to apply for a new siting variation or code assessment, as well. Because the approval is retrospective, you will most likely have to reapply.

What do I do if my house building approval was never finalised?

If you want to proceed you will need to contact a certifier. From there, we can send you a new DA form 2 and engagement form. We will then have to assess your building approval and we will let you know if we need any further information or documentation. Please note, if you are up to the frame stage, for example, of your house, you will need proof that the slab and bond beam stage inspections have been carried out. These are usually provided to you in the form of a Form 16 inspection certificate. Our certifiers can assist you if you do not have this documentation, but there will be more fees and time involved in rectifying the approval.

How do I find out if there is an illegal structure on my property?

A property search through council will be able to provide you with a list of approved structures on the property you are looking to buy or sell. Please note, there is a fee for this service from council.

Commercial FAQ

How long does it take to get approval?

We strive to have your approval as soon as possible with commercial properties it can be a bit longer due to all of the information needed in order to make sure everything is compliant. We will work as a team to ensure the most efficient, time effective result.

What do I need to get started?

We just need your plans and we will then send you some forms to fill out to get you on your way with your approval.

How much notice do you need for an inspection?

We need at least 24-hours notice to get you booked in for an inspection.

Pool Safety Certificate FAQ

What if I want to sell or lease a dwelling with a pool within the five year period?

You must have your pool inspected and obtain a compliance certificate. This compliance certificate is valid for two years (sold or leased as many times as you like within that two year period).

Do I need to get an inspection done every time I lease or sell my dwelling?

No, a certificate will last for two years for a private pool (dwellings and residential unit complexes) and one year for a shared pool (short term accommodation, hotels, motels, backpackers or hostels). The property can be sold or leased as many times as you like in that period and the certificate will remain valid.

How long do I have to rectify my pool once a non-compliance notice has been issued?

The pool owner has a period of three months to rectify the pool fencing once the pool safety inspector has issued a non-conformity notice.

What happens if I do not rectify my pool within the three month period?

The pool safety inspector must notify the local government within five business days after the expiration of the three month period that the pool fence is non-compliant and give the local government a copy of the non-conformity notice.

I have just had a pool built, inspected and a Form 17 issued, does this make my pool fence compliant under the new regulations?

If your Form 17 is dated prior to 1st December 2010, then your form 17 does not qualify as a compliance certificate. This means your pool fencing will need to be inspected prior to sale or lease of the property or within five years, whichever comes first. If your Form 17 is dated after the 1st December 2010 then it can be uploaded to the Pool Safety Council website to obtain the compliance certificate. This compliance certificate is valid for two years for a private pool (including residential unit complex) and one year for a shared pool (short term accommodation, hotels, motels, backpackers or hostels).

When do I get a copy of my certificate?

A pool safety inspector can only issue a certificate when they have placed the certificate details onto the pool safety register. Pool owners and others, such as real estate agents and solicitors, will be able to search the register. Pool safety inspectors have two business days after the inspection to give the pool owner a pool safety certificate.

How do I know if my pool is on the Pool Safety Register?

Pool owners should check the register after 28 February 2011 to ensure their pool has been registered. If your pool is not on the register after this date, then you have until 4th May 2011 to register your pool. Penalties of up to $2,000 will apply after this time. The Pool Safety Register search function can be found at this address
www.smarteda.qld.gov.au/pools/properties/propertySearch.action

Testimonials

Thank you All Construction Approvals. Great service organising and coordinating and inspecting my project. You made it so easy. Would highly recommend all your helpful staff.

Suzan Quigg

Helpful when I needed guidance with my carport project and super quick when it came to approve it. Their fees also favourable, compared to competition. Very satisfied.

Joao Filipe Castro Santos

I have worked with ACApprovals professionally on a number of building projects for close to 10 years. ACA have always provided competitive fees, prompt/fair assessments, delivered information clearly to the design and construction team for smooth delivery of projects.

Paul Malone

The team a ACA are always helpful. no question is silly and the advice given is honest and accurate regardless of if its retrospective works or for the future. If you are not sure on the requirements pick up your phone and talk to a friendly building certifier.

Mark Leitner

All Construction Approvals provided excellent service following up on the paperwork and inspecting the building to confirm the renovation was completed in accordance with the Cairns Council's standards. Thanks Kim, Ethan and the ACA team.

Steve Willis

Every process runs smoothly and is dealt with in a highly professional manner. Even quick advice over the phone never seems to be too much of a hassle and is highly appreciated!

TinaCardinal Roofing and Sheds

I would not go to anyone else for the professional high level of service you firm provides. Your staff are highly efficient and knowledgeable and go out of their way to provide excellent service. Well done to all of you and don't change anything it all works well.

Terry PlosPlos Constructions Pty Ltd

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Call 07 4054 4588