Jun 28, 2014
Category: General
Posted by: davidbannon
Good news, Glenn has just dropped off the blocks I was missing.
Jan 1, 2014
Category: General
Posted by: davidbannon
Wow, the mortar additive finally arrived. 12 months after it was ordered, maybe six months after being paid for. How good is that ? All I am waiting for now is the Exterior Sealer.....
CMS - 1.12.2 - Kolonia


You need oh so many permits if you want to build your house. Compare this to driving a car, all you need is one license or making a baby where you don't need any permission at all !

Lets look at what was needed here in Victoria.

  • Owner Builder's Permit - OK, this is in response to those incredibly stupid TV shows where blond bimbos and sub human blokes 'renovate' some building. If you believe in such shows, or even watch them, please stop reading my website immediately. The authorities, quite reasonably, now require an amateur builder to prove they are working on their own project and not for profit. These permits are not difficult for a suitably motivated person to get. There is a fee and it takes time.
  • Planning Permission - Now, this permit is, in my opinion, local council's way of getting back the control taken away from them when State allowed private operators to issue and manage Building Permits. State took Building Permits away from Councils because they were being abused, time the same thing happened to Planning....
  • Energy Rating Certificate - Here in Victoria,any new building or substantially altered building must meet minimum energy efficiency. Yep its a bit more bureaucracy but it really makes sense, you want a reasonably comfortable house to live in and you don't want to sell your soul to do so. We have licensed operators who can do the calculations based on your plans and see if you measure up. They value things like lots of insulation, thermal mass, solar hot water, rain water tanks, appropriately placed eves.
  • Fire Rating - Following the "Black Saturday" fires in Victoria, a new home must meet safety standards appropriate for its location. I drew up the assessment for this myself, there are clear guide lines about how to do this available. Important factors include the slope, if any of the land and fire fuel around the house. This house turned out to be BAL25 and the requirements to build to that standard are not too hard. Indeed, stage one was built before these standards were in place, however, it would comply and thats because the risks considered then, before it was fashionable !
  • Soil Test - This is a locally provided service. They come out, drill several holes and analyse what they find. The data is used as input to the design of the concrete slab.
  • Slab Engineering Specs - We choose a "waffle pod" slab, its regarded as an "engineered slab". While it costs a little more it has a number of advantages including sitting a little higher off the ground, better insulation and less impact on the surrounds as less evacuation is needed.
  • Permission to Alter Septic - This turned out to be quite a delay for us. The people issuing the Building Permit kept asking for "council permission to alter the septic system" and I kept producing a written statement from the council that the septic system initially put in was, in fact suitable for the final house. It turned out that there is a formal certificate that needed to be issued, how ever, the Building Inspector took a long time to state that clearly then I had to wait many weeks while it was issued. I was not happy.
  • Building Permit - and this is the thing all the above all lead to. I suggest you choose your Building Inspector carefully. One who can make some positive contribution to the planning process would be a huge advantage. I do think its quite reasonable for practitioner to prefer not to deal with owner builders, we, as a group might well be high maintenance. I think they should however make that policy clear, before you put your money on the table. Anyway, the process is firstly, you pay the money, $1400 in our case (2012), then supply all the above paperwork and three copies of the plans. In our case, "the plans" consisted of 7 A3 pages showing floor plan, two pages of construction detail, elevations, slab details and a site plan.
  • Certificate of Occupancy - when its all done, we get this certificate! Or I sure hope so ! The Building Inspector will want to see the slab preparation prior to pouring, the walls and frame and then a final inspection. Also produce a certificate of electrical safety, receipts from plumbers, proof that the planning permit is still current.


I had to extend both the Planning Permit and Building Permit. The Building Permit was easy, just pay another $330. But Council took six months to renew the Planning Permit. Even though absolutely nothing relating to it had changed ! I wonder what happens if the planning permit has expired and Council, for what ever reason refuses to extend it ? Just who benefits from an incomplete project ?

Anyway, I have all (?) the above documents electronically and might be concienced to provide then to someone undertaking a similar project, just contact me. dbannon at internode dot on dot net

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