Do I need council approval for a concrete slab?

If you are planning a new project it is essential to understand the building regulations and building approvals which are needed before you can start. Not all types of construction or renovation projects require building approval or permit. However, in Australia, there are many State legislation exemptions, for the size of the project, value or simply the nature. It is recommended that if in doubt research on whether council approval is required. Many projects can be completed without council approval; however, always check depending on which state you are located in. You may need to determine how thick a slab can be, whether you should use concrete slabs or stumps, and how much concrete you may need for your project before you receive approval or go ahead with your project.

Types of building projects you will need council approval for

Building approval refers to how a building will be constructed, it is required for most developments to ensure a building complies with building laws, including the Building Code of Australia. Each state in Australia has different accepted development which does not require approval and some that do. In the next few sections, each State's building approval will be explained. However, for more in-depth information visit each State's building approval website for advice and more information.

Local Council process in QLD

In Queensland minor building work does not require building approvals. These are called 'accepted development' and are set out in the Planning Act 2016. Some examples which are accepted developments include:
  • small sheds, stable or similar up to 10 meters squared, other than in a tropical cyclone area.
  • 1-meter high retaining walls (only if no loads are imposed above it)
  • Fences no more than 2 meters high (not including swimming pool fencing)
  • Minor attachments fixed to a building
  • Repairs and maintenance to existing buildings
  • Construction of playground equipment no more than 3 meters in height.
It should be noted that although these minor building works including investment property work do not require building approval, the owner must make sure they comply with any applicable building standards. Some of these include size limits, structural sufficiency as well as the City Plan (Queensland Development Code). Owners must make formal inquiries with the City Council prior to any construction or renovation by complying with the Queensland City Plan. Private building certifiers must lodge to Council the following documents:
  • Engagement notice and application details
  • Decision notice approved building plans and any other documentation that contributed to the plan's approval
  • Completion details and any other documents relating to the certification and acceptance of the complete building work.

Local Council Process in NSW

In New South Wals there are some minor building projects and developments that may not require building approval, as long as they comply with the applicable standards. Some of these exempt developments include but are not constrained to:
  • Access ramps
  • Balcony, deck, patio, pergola, terrace or verandah
  • Carport, pathway, paving, garden shed, greenhouse
  • Driveway and hard storage area
  • Walls or other forms of structural support
  • Retaining wall and boundary fence
  • Water storage tanks
  • Landscaping structures
  • Playground equipment
The approval process consists of the following stages:
  • Pre-lodgement
  • Fill out all that is required - Lodgement and initial administration by the council of your application
  • Assessment - the site must be inspected, applicants and neighbours engaged, reports drafted and recommendations made
  • Determination - there are three possible outcomes for the determination application
  • Development Consent
  • Development Application Refusal
  • Deferred Commencement Consent
  • Get your construction certificate and organise your construction

Local Council process in VIC

In Victoria, in most cases, building work approval is required before commencing any kind of development work. Some of these exempt developments include but are not constrained to:
  • A carport/garage/shed that is freestanding and the floor area does not exceed 10 meters squared and no more than 3 meters in height.
  • Demolition of freestanding class 10 buildings that are not constructed of masonry, does not exceed 40 meters squared in floor area and does not affect the safety of the public.
  • Fences less than 2 meters in height
  • Construction of a pergola (unroofed) no exceeding 20 meters squared in area and 3.6 meters in height
  • Replacements of corrugated iron roofing
  • Signs less than 1 meter above ground level
  • Replacement of windows with no structural alterations.
The building approval process is an important regulatory control in Victoria and consists of:
  • Complete your plans
  • Submit at least three copies of drawings, specifications and allotment plants along with the completed application form and other prescribed information
  • Pay the building permit levy

Local Council process in SA

In South Australia, in most cases, building work approval is required before commencing any kind of development work which includes:
  • The demolition, construction, addition or alteration or  structural changes of any other building or house
  • Erecting a sign
  • Putting up a new fence
  • Changing the use of a property
  • Any type of work that will impact a regulated or significant tree
  • Any external (and in some cases internal alterations) alterations of a listed heritage item
  • Division or alteration of land and property boundary
The approval process consists of the following stages:
  • Check if development approvals are required
  • Prepare and lodge an application at PlanSA
  • Application is verified and assessed
  • Application decision
  • Mandatory notification

Local Council process in ACT

In the ACT, in most cases, building work approval is required before commencing any kind of development work which includes:
  • Remodelling bathroom or kitchen
  • Replacing internal wall and ceiling linings
  • Replacement of external wall cladding
  • Demolition of freestanding buildings
  • Construction of freestanding building (garage, sheds)
  • Street signs (less than 3.0m from the street and less than 1m above natural ground level) and new fences
The process of obtaining a building permit includes the following documentation:
  • Architectural drawings are drawn to scale showing the site plan, the floor plan and elevations
  • Structural drawings
  • Soil report
  • Building specifications
  • Owner builder certificate issued by the Victorians Building Authority (ABV)
  • Builder's insurance details
Once all documentation has been approved the building process can commence.

Local Council process in WA

The Western Australia building approval process can be found under the Building Act 2011, which works with other key legislation covering the registration of building service providers and complaint resolution. The application of a building permit can be done by the owner, builder, designer, building surveyor or any other person. The applicant provides details of the person responsible for the work, in the application form. There are two types of building permit applications, "certified" and "uncertified". A certified application is accompanied by a certificate of design compliance and can be made for any class of building and incidental structure. While an uncertified application is submitted to the permit authority without a certificate of design compliance and can only be made for certain Class buildings and incidental structures. The building permit application must be accompanied by:
  • A certificate of design compliance
  • Copies of all relevant plans and specifications
  • Evidence of the following authorities under written law as relevant to the building or incidental structure.
  • Evidence that notification of the name, address and contact number of the application for a building permit
  • Appropriate consent forms
  • Payment of the prescribed fee and levy.
It should be noted that the approval process will be quicker and more effective if a complete application is submitted to the permit authority.

Council approval process in NT

Before applying for a building permit, you must:
  • Engage a building certifier
  • Get plans for your proposed project
  • Prepare supporting documents for your application
  • Owner builder certificate
  • Structural engineer's certification for structural design
  • Any other documents requested

How to apply: Step 1: Contact and ask your building certifier to give you a building permit application form Step 2: Submit the completed application form, a statement describing the purpose of the building, and any other supporting documents to your building certifier.


Penalties you can face if you do not get a building permit?

Penalties for any unlicensed building work may include:
  • A penalty fine of more than $75,000 or more depending on various factors of the structure and location of the site.
  • Notices and orders to stop work
  • Prosecution for criminal offences
  • Injunctions to restrain or remedy services branches (court orders)


Ask a professional

For any other questions ask our project team at . Or if you are ready to start your new project, hire a concreter today so you can guarantee your construction project will go ahead smoothly, or find the best concrete slab costs with iseekplant. Download our seeker app today and at the touch of a button you can have hundreds of suppliers and options for your project.