Approvals & inspections

Building approval is required for most developments to ensure the building complies with building laws, including the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the National Construction Code (NCC). Building approval is usually obtained after a development approval is obtained (if necessary). However, there are some exemptions to development approval and/or building approval. Building approval must be granted before construction begins.

To get a building approval:

  • appoint an ACT licensed building surveyor as your certifier;
  • apply for building approval and pay the relevant fees (your certifier will inform you of these costs); and
  • apply to appoint your builder with the Certifier or become licensed as an owner-builder (there are eligibility restrictions on owner-builder licences).

Before work begins, the person licensed to build needs to apply to your certifier for a commencement notice and you (or your appointed agent) need to sign this application. The building work can start once your certifier has issued the commencement notice, provided work has not been prohibited by law.

Most builders will subcontract electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers and other trades during construction. The builder is required to ensure that any persons engaged are appropriately skilled and, if required, are licensed.

Approval for plumbing work may also be required. For some plumbing work, you will need to employ a licensed plumbing plan certifier to approve the plumbing plan.

A number of notifications and inspections may need to be made during construction. This helps to ensure the work is carried out to the required standards and legislative requirements. These records along with others must be presented to Access Canberra before you can apply to be issued with a certificate that allows you to have legal occupancy or use of the building.