All building projects need a building permit from Melbourne City Council except for the list of projects below.
If your project is not on this list, contact your local council to see if you need a building permit. This is a free service.
There are many exemptions for building work and buildings. These are detailed in Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations 2018 which describes situations where a building permit is not required:
You do not need a building permit for:
A freestanding shed
A freestanding shed is:
- with a floor area not more than 10 square metres, and
- not more than 3 metres in height or, if located within 1 metre of a boundary is not more than 2.4 metres in height, and
- located no further forward on the allotment than the front wall of the main building on the property, and
- not constructed of masonry (such as stone, concrete or brick).
Repair, renewal or maintenance of an existing building
Repair, renewal or maintenance of an existing building, if the building work:
- is not structural works or underpinning or replacement of footings, or
- does not affect the safety of the public, or
- is not an essential safety measure, or
- does not increase or decrease the floor area or height of the building, or
- is not being carried out on, or in connection with, a building included on the Heritage register established under the Heritage Act 1995, or
- is not removal or alteration of any element of the building that is contributing to the support of any other element of the building, or
- uses materials commonly used for the same purpose as the material being replaced.
Swimming pools including spas
- A swimming pool with a depth not exceeding 300 millimetres, or
- A relocatable swimming pool that is erected temporarily in an area that is enclosed by barriers complying with AS 1926.1 – 1993 Swimming Pool Safety Part 1: Fencing for swimming pools. Note, the safety barriers around the pool need a permit.
A fence, screen or structure similar to a fence (other than a fence forming part of a safety barrier for a swimming pool or a fence forming part of a children’s service outdoor play space):
- not exceeding 2 metres in height, or
- not exceeding 1.5 metres in height when within 3 metres of a street (which is not a lane, footway, alley or right of way) alignment and which is not constructed of masonry, concrete or the like, or
- not exceeding 1.2 metres in height when within 3 metres of a street (which is not a lane, footway, alley or right of way) alignment and which is constructed of masonry, concrete or the like, or
- not exceeding 1 metre in height above the footpath when within 9 metres of a point of intersection of street alignments, or
- not having barbed wire or the like when adjacent to a street alignment.
- less than 3 metres from a street alignment that is not more than 1 metre in height above ground level, or
- more than 3 metres from a street alignment that is not more than 8 metres in height above ground level, and
- not more than 6 square metres in display area.
Mast, pole, antenna or aerial
A mast, pole, antenna or aerial:
- when attached to a building, is not higher than 3 metres above the highest point of the building to which it is attached, or
- if freestanding, is not more than 8 metres above ground level.
A retaining wall less than 1 metre in height that is not associated with other building work or with protection of adjoining properties.
Pergola to a domestic residence
Note that a pergola is an unroofed structure. A verandah is not a pergola.
A pergola to a domestic residence:
- less than 20 square metres in floor area, and
- not more than 3.6 metres in height, and
- is located no further forward on the allotment than 2.5 metres forward of the front wall of the house, and
- has no roof covering.
The Victorian Building Authority has more information about building permits.