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Department of Justice

Building categories

The Building Act 2016 takes a risk-based approach to building approval.

Building work

Risk categories Examples Approval process Who can do the work
Low risk work
  • fences
  • low decks
  • farm sheds
  • carports
No permit or approval for performing building work.

May require planning approval
Most work can be carried out by an owner. Some larger projects can be carried out only by a licensed builder without a building permit

Medium risk work (notifiable work)

  • A detached house or unit that does not need planning approval
  • Residential alterations or extensions
An application (Notice of Work) made to a building surveyor, for a Certificate of Likely Compliance Can be carried out by a licensed builder with regulatory oversight by a building surveyor.
Council will need to be notified that the work is taking place but doesn't need to give approval.
High risk work
(Permit work)
  • Commercial, industrial or public buildings, residential buildings that need a planning permit
  • Owner builder work
  • Most works in Hazardous areas
An application to council for a Building Permit Will still need to go through a full building approval process with the council.

Director's Determination - Categories of Building and Demolition Work (pdf, 488.8 KB)

Plumbing work

Risk categories Examples Who can approve Who can do the work
Low risk work
  • Changing fixtures and fittings
  • Repairs
No permit or approval for performing low risk plumbing work Licensed plumber (owner may perform very minor work such as changing a tap washer)

Medium risk work (notifiable work)

Majority of work undertaken in existing buildings:

  • installation of new fixtures in bathrooms
  • kitchen renovations
An application (Notice of Work) made to the Permit Authority, for a Certificate of Likely Compliance Licensed plumber
High risk work
(Permit work)

Commercial high rise buildings and all the high risk types that need a special plumbing permit under the current Act:

  • On-site wastewater management systems
  • Backflow prevention devices
An application to council for a Plumbing Permit Licensed plumber

Director's Determination - Categories of Plumbing Work (pdf, 1.2 MB)

Demolition work

Risk categories Examples Who can approve Who can do the work
Low risk work
  • Garage or sheds

No permit or approval for performing demolition work

May require planning approval

Owner or a competent person

Medium risk work (notifiable work)

  • Detached dwelling
An application (Notice of Work) made to a building surveyor, for a Certificate of Likely Compliance Licensed demolisher or builder
High risk work
(Permit work)
  • Multi-storey commercial building

An application to council for a Demolition Permit Licensed demolisher or builder

Director's Determination - Categories of Building and Demolition Work (pdf, 488.8 KB)