Giving your backyard a revamp can be an exciting project heading into summer, especially if you plan on adding a verandah or pergola! Before you get too carried away with design and styling ideas, there are some things you should know about a verandah installation project, including whether you’ll need to obtain a building permit.
A building permit is required for many types of building work (i.e. construction, demolition and even the removal of a building), so if you’re looking at adding a verandah or patio to your home, you may need to obtain one.
What is a building permit?
Building permits are legal documents, which certify that a proposed building complies with the relevant regulations and safety standards. A building permit is essentially written approval and consent by a Registered Building Surveyor that your plans are safe and ready to be constructed.
Having a building permit offers protection and peace of mind that:
- Those working on your project are registered and appropriately insured
- Adequate documentation has been prepared
- Your project will be carried out in line with building legislation
- Key stages of the work will be inspected
- Your completed building is suitable to live in
A building permit includes detailed documentation which determines that your building work will comply with the Building Act 1993, the Building Regulations 2018 and the National Construction Code. Obtaining a building permit at the beginning of your build also means your project will be assessed and you’ll be issued with an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.
What is a town planning permit?
There are two types of permits that may be required when building a pergola or verandah. You may need a Town Planning Permit and a Building Permit.
This is where the local council looks at what you want to do and decides if it’s the right use of development for the area. The council determines if something is an okay fit for an area based on what controls for site determine whether a planning permit is required, depending on the lands given zone and overlay i.e. block under 300m2, 800mm above ground and more than 3m high.
While you’ll generally be required to obtain a building permit for your verandah construction project, there are some cases where you may be exempt from this.
Construction of a Pergola
One of the exemptions from the requirement for a building permit is for the construction of a pergola. A pergola is an open structure that is unroofed but may have a covering of open weave permeable material. A pergola is:
- no more than 20m2 in floor area
- no more than 3.6m in height
If you’re still unsure whether you are exempt from obtaining a building permit, it never hurts to ask your local council about any exclusions that may exist. If there are only a few adjustments that need to be made to an existing structure to complete your new project, you may not need a permit after all.
The company I’m building with hasn’t mentioned a permit…
If you’ve started planning a verandah project with a company who hasn’t mentioned a building permit, this is a potential red flag. Building with someone who is not willing to obtain a permit on your behalf or doesn’t make any effort in educating you about this part of the process, should be approached with caution. Remember to seek a second opinion if you’re unsure and check that you’re building with a registered and insured builder at all times.
How much is a permit?
The cost of a permit varies widely depending on your local council and your builder. But whatever the cost, it will pale in comparison to the fine you’ll receive for building a non-compliant verandah. Or worse, the cost of repairing a structure that isn’t up to safety standards and requires long-term ongoing maintenance.
At Innovative Verandahs, we draw up a HIA building contract for all of our verandah, patio and carport projects. This means written consent from a Registered Building Surveyor, certifying that the plans have been checked and comply with the building regulations, which offers our clients peace of mind, as well as ensuring that all of our projects are high quality and safe.