Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for Renovators

  • What is a Building Certifier?

    In Queensland, prior to 1998, all building work was required to be approved by the building surveyor at your local government. Since then most building work is approved by privately engaged Building Certifiers. These Building Certifiers must be licensed with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. Make sure you engage the correct certifier for your project.

    Building Certifier – Level 1 - may perform building certifying functions for all classes of buildings and structures. The Building Approval Company team includes Level 1 certifiers.

    Building Certifier – Level 2 - may only perform building certifying functions on buildings and structures having a rise of no more than 3 storeys and a total floor area no more than 2000m2;

    Building Certifier – Level 3 - may only perform building certifying functions on class 1 buildings or class 10 buildings or structures.

  • Do you do land surveying?

    No, we recommend you Google “Cadastral surveyor” and your suburb.

  • Does a garden shed need an approval?

    Yes, in the cyclonic regions of Queensland, sheds regardless of size must be certified and approved. See your shed supplier about a cyclone kit, engineers details and Form 15 and send a copy to us together with your site plan.

  • If I get an approval through The Building Approval Company, do I still need to get Council approval?

    No, however there are occasions where a Siting Dispensation, a Material Change of Use or another Referral applies. We will advise you at the fee proposal stage and indicate what additional council fees apply.

  • My roof is rusted out ‐ does a re‐roof need approval?

    If less than 20% of an individual building element requires maintenance or replacement over a 3-year period, a building approval is not necessary. If you are replacing a roof, you will need a building approval. A guideline has been produced by the QBCC in conjunction with Timber Queensland for the repair of sheet metal roofs in cyclonic areas – contact us if you’d like a copy.

  • Does a pool or spa need approval?

    Yes, a pool or spa (regardless of whether it’s portable) with more than 300mm depth must have a building approval. The Building Act 1975 classes Swimming Pools and Spas in the same category. New work for pool fencing with a contract value of over $3,300 must be included in the building approval.

  • What about a spa with a lockable lid?

    The Building Act 1975 requires a spa with a lockable lid to be provided with a compliant barrier and gate. Unfortunately, lockable lids are not self-closing and may be unintentionally left open.

  • What do I need to get started?

    All we need to get started is a site, floor and elevation plan, a property address and your contact details. We will send you a written quote outlining the minimum information you need to supply.

  • How long does it take for plans to be approved?

    The approvals can take up to a week, however most approvals are issued in a few days, assuming the application is complete and no further Council approvals are necessary.

  • When is a QBCC Owner Builder permit required?

    Building work over the value of $11,000 may only be issued to a QBCC licensed builder or an Owner Builder Permit holder. You can apply with your local QBCC for one owner builder permit every 6 years.

    The value of work must be calculated to include the full cost of materials and the labour cost, the amount a licensed contractor would charge, regardless of whether it’s provided free of charge.

    Typically, the QBCC take up to 4 weeks to process an application for Owner Builder Permit.

    If the building has already been constructed, you can apply to the QBCC for a “Work Already Completed Application-Owner Builder”. The approval letter informs the Building Certifier that no insurance premium is payable for the work.

  • Can I draw my own plans?

    Yes, if all the required information is detailed, and the plans are to scale. 

    In our experience, the investment in properly drawn plans provides many cost and time savings throughout the construction phase – particularly if engaging contractors.

FAQs for Builders

  • How much notice do you need for inspections?

    24 hours is required. We recommend you refer to your Conditions of Approval for all inspection requirements. Additional notice may be required in remote areas.

  • Can my engineer do the inspections?

    Once assessed as a Competent Person by the Building Certifier, an engineer is able to do inspections on particular aspects of the project. Footing/ slab and final inspections may only be conducted by a licensed Building Certifier.

  • How long does it take for plans to be approved?

    The approvals can take up to a week, however most approvals are issued in a few days, assuming the application is complete and no further Council approvals are necessary.

  • When does QBCC Home warranty insurance apply?

    QBCC Insurance is required where the cost of works is over $3,300 and work is being carried out by a licensed Builder. QBCC Insurance only applies to domestic work, including pools, patios, sheds etc. It does not apply for commercial or industrial building work.

  • What is Q‐Leave and when does it apply?

    Q-Leave is a long service leave scheme that provides benefits to construction workers based on time worked in the industry rather than service to an individual employer. This Government levy is payable on all building work with a value of work over $150,000 + GST.

  • Can you lodge plumbing applications to Council for me?

    Yes, where a new plumbing service is required, we will include the plumbing fees in our fee proposal and lodge the forms for you.

  • What about Siting Dispensations and Town Planning Overlays?

    Yes, our fee proposal will outline our fees to prepare the reports and associated council fees. We have access to the local government lodgement portals and have longstanding relationships with council staff.

FAQs for Sellers

  • Do you do pre‐purchase building inspections?

    No – we recommend you Google “pre-purchase building inspection” and your suburb.

  • I want to sell, but the Council tells me I don’t have a valid approval for my addition?

    You have a few options:

    You can disclose that information to your estate agent and intend to sell your property as is. The risk with this option is it will likely reduce your sale price.

    Another option, is to get the addition approved retrospectively. 

    The resolution and certification of unauthorised building work can be a complex procedure and the time and cost associated with the approval of the works will depend heavily on the circumstances, documentation, timeframe, access and workmanship associated with the unauthorised works.

    To determine the best approach, we’d recommend our professional staff undertake a Preliminary Inspection to determine the extent of works required – depending on the scale of the project, this will require a small investment of around $400.

  • My building permit has lapsed, and the building work hasn’t been finalised – what should I do?

    Where the building permit has lapsed and cannot be finalised, you will need to contact us to arrange a new building approval. More information is available here.