To build or renovate, you will most likely need to obtain a building approval prior to building it. If you are unsure whether you need a building approval or not, see the Brisbane City Council website for details: http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/planning-building/do-i-need-approval
It might seem complicated but really, it is just a process that needs a little time and patience to go through, but you will be rewarded with the completion of exactly what you want, using the expert knowledge and experience of each consultant.
1. Building Design plans
The first port of call is to engage a building designer to draft and design your project. Whether you know what you want and just need it drawn up, or you know what you need but would like some designer input, this is the first stop on the road to getting your building approval.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROCESS! Why? Because just like a runner needs a good start to the race, your building project needs good direction and detail from the very start. Without the right designer or draftsperson, the plans may be hard to read, lack enough detail, be too detailed (yes this is possible), or be inaccurate causing problems throughout the project. The whole process then gets more complex and time consuming, requiring answers to many questions from all or most of the following consultants, and even yourself.
2. Engineering drawings
Once you have your building design plans for building approval in hand, you can now go to an engineer to have him detail any necessary structural items that need an engineer. These things can be as simple as a slab and footing design to full structural documentation for complex jobs. The engineer will issue a 'Form 15' which is certifies that the structural design is sound.
3. Energy Efficiency Report
Any project that incorporates new habitable living areas such as bedrooms and living areas will need an energy efficiency certificate from an energy efficiency consultant to show that the new project complies with the Building Code of Australia for energy efficiency. (ie. ventilation, glazing etc.) This can be arranged by you, or by the designer.
4. Private Certifier - BUILDING APPROVAL
The private certifier is the consultant that you will submit all of the above to, in order to obtain a building approval for the project. The certifier examines the design and the plans to ensure it complies with all the codes that apply to your project.
So where does council come in then? The private certifier submits all of the above to council to get their approval of the project. He will conduct site inspections throughout the build so it is important to find a certifier that you feel comfortable talking to. Otherwise this can cause additional 'people' stress during the building process that you don't need. Once the project is complete, he signs off
So that's it. You have your building approval! Well done! Now you can start building!
Other consultants that you may need depending on the project can be...
A town planner may be required on projects where there are specific local codes that apply to your house, land or area and need to be individually assessed in order to make sure they comply with these codes.
A town planner can help you with a development approval (DA) if your project requires it. However, residential projects that require a DA will mainly be for the specific reason that the design does not comply with the local codes, and needs to have the approval of council and the local area.
A surveyor is often required when a DA is necessary. A surveyor can also be employed for a number of reasons:
- Building close to the boundary and certifier requests a boundary survey to find where the actual boundary line is as opposed to simply the 'wonky old fence'.
- When the project is close to the minimum habitable flood level habitable heights to determine the exact RL height of the proposed project.
- When a block needs a contour survey for the design to be accurate.
- When the building height is close to or right on the maximum building height.
If you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch with us here at QDH.