All structures in cyclonic areas require building approval (certification) regardless of size. Therefore, in Cairns, this includes anything with a roof, patios, garden sheds and even decks with no roofs. If you fill in under your house or change a garage (non-habitable) to a bedroom (habitable), it all needs an approval. If you’re, digging, hammering, drilling or sawing, likely an approval will be required.
Some examples of building works that require building approval:
- New dwellings
- Alterations & additions to existing buildings (New roofs need approval too)
- Alterations inside a building that create new areas or affect structural components
- Carports & sheds (Cairns is in a cyclonic area, so you also need approval for DIY kits such as kits from Bunnings)
- Roofed patios, pergolas, gazebos & shade sails (including DIY kit type)
- Fences higher than 2 metres above the surface of the natural ground level
- Retaining walls higher than 1 metre above natural ground level or within 1.5m of a building or other retaining wall
- Swimming pools & spas
- House removal & relocation
Can I get retrospective Building approval for a structure before selling my home?
Hypothetically, let’s say you went to Bunnings and decided to buy a Do It Yourself (DIY) garden shed. You invite some friends over on the weekend to help you build it. Four years later, you decide you want to sell your home, but you don’t have an approval for the shed. What happens when your sale is held up by an Unlawful Building Works Notice because you didn’t receive approval for your shed before building, or the sale falls through?
Why not get unapproved building work approved prior to sale so you can get the maximum return on your investment?
As a private certifier, we often receive calls from real estate agents and clients trying to sell their property with an “as built structure” that wasn’t originally certified. We are usually able to help in these situations, but approvals can take up to a month to receive, especially when the structure doesn’t comply with setback rules or it needs a higher level of assessment against the planning scheme.
Potential purchasers have the option to add a condition to the contract making the current owner responsible for the approval of unauthorised works prior to settlement of the property, but this can hold up the sale of your home.
Don’t get caught out
It’s important to note that insurance companies will not pay out in a cyclone if they can prove that the works didn’t have an approval.
It is a lot easier to apply for a building approval upfront.
This saves a lot of headaches later down the line. Because we live in a cyclonic region (as specified in the National Construction Code), you will need to obtain building approval for most types of building and structural work.
Not sure if you need a building approval? Give us a call. We will help you through the whole process. Call 07 4054 4588 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.