Recent building surveyor and permit authority forums

Date: 7 August 2018

Thank you to all who attended our building surveyor and permit authority forums in mid-May.

We appreciate your participation in these forums and see them as a valuable opportunity to find out what issues currently matter to you in the building and plumbing regulatory space.

Below we have addressed some of the key questions that arose from the forums.

Extension/expiry of permits

At all three forums around the State, a lively discussion was had on the issue of extension and expiry of building approvals. A number of questions came out this discussion which we have been following up on with the Director of Building Control.

Which permits have a 2-year lifespan?

The key question raised was whether permits issued under the Building Act 2000 and earlier acquire a 2-year lifespan as at 1 January 2017 when the new Building Act 2016 commenced. We are looking into it and will be in touch when we know more.

When is a new permit required to finish a project?

A new permit is required when the existing permit for a project has expired, and there is still building work that needs to be done on site. This includes a final inspection by a building surveyor. If a permit expires after the final inspection has been carried out, a new permit is not needed to apply for a certificate of completion.

How do owners apply for a new permit?

If a new permit is required to finish a project, the building designs and Form 35 and 55 documents from the original permit application can be re-used for the new application, unless the requirements applicable to the design have changed.

However, if the expired permit was issued under the old Building Act 2000, the new permit application needs to meet the requirements of the Building Act 2016. What these requirements are will depend on whether the project as a whole is low risk, notifiable or permit work. The current Approved Forms must be used for the application.

Emergency work in landslip areas

Some questions were raised about unsafe, unstable or dilapidated buildings in landslip areas.

In our view, if emergency work needs to be carried out on these buildings, the Minister for Building and Construction’s permission is not required for this work.  However, the work must be genuinely emergency work as defined by section 214 of the Building Act 2016.  

Any further non-emergency work which involves altering, adding to or erecting a building in an A landslip area requires the Minister’s permission.  Otherwise, the work is illegal.

Permit authority licensing

We had a few questions on permit authority licensing at the forums. Read all the information you need on when a permit authority licence is required and how to apply for one.

Timeframes on demolition orders

The timeframes that certain compliance orders need to be issued in under section 252 of the Building Act 2016 was another topic.

Orders relating to illegal works must be made no more than 24 months after the person making the order becomes aware of the illegal work (see section 252(3).

If a demolition order is issued for a reason other than illegal works then the 12-month timeframe in section 252(1) for issuing the order applies.

Further information

Since the forums, the Director’s Guideline on Dilapidated Buildings May 2018  (PDF, 597.9 KB)has been published on the CBOS website.

Copies of our PowerPoint slides from the forums are available on the CBOS website at this link:

You may wish to use these slides as a refresher on what we covered at the forums. However, please note that they are guidance only.  If you have questions about them, please get in touch with us at

Keep an eye out for our next round of forums which are due to occur later this year.