Do I need approval?


Before you build or renovate, you need to know your obligations.

Development approvals

New development, which includes new development on an existing property, may require a development approval (DA).

The purpose of a DA is to make sure the design of your project:

Some development is prohibited in the ACT.

It is also not permitted to construct some structures, such as retaining walls and letterboxes, over the front boundary of a unit titled development. Find out more about encroachments.

If you’re developing your own land, you may need to notify your neighbours about the proposed development. Find out more about pre-DA consultation.

Find out how to lodge a development application.

Building approvals

Unless exempt, all building work requires a building approval (BA).

A BA makes sure the proposed building work conforms with the requirements of the Building Act building code, including that the building will be structurally stable.

For work that needs a BA, the land owner must appoint a licensed building surveyor as the building certifier. The building certifier decides whether to issue the BA. If you are the land owner, it is first your responsibility to ensure the appointment of a building certifier. You can also authorise someone else in writing to appoint a certifier on your behalf.

If building work must be carried out by a licensed builder, the builder you appoint will also need to apply to the building certifier and be given a commencement notice before the building work starts.

Find out more about building approval.

Other approvals you may need

You may also need to get separate approvals for:

Remember, even if your project is exempt from a DA or BA, it may still need other types of approvals.

Note, most ACT approval requirements also apply in Jervis Bay Territory.

Building projects done for, or on behalf of, the Commonwealth may not require approvals under ACT laws, but may be subject to Commonwealth controls.

Get started

  1. Check whether you need a DA, BA or other type of approval.
  2. If a DA is required,
    1. prepare the approval application, including plans of the work
    2. apply for a DA and pay the fees.
  3. If a BA is required, appoint a licensed building surveyor as your certifier.
  4. Prepare a building approval application, including plans and specifications for the work.
  5. Apply for building approval and pay the fees.
  6. For work that needs a licensed builder, engage a licensed builder or become licensed as an owner–builder (there are eligibility restrictions on owner–builder licences).
  7. Arrange for any other required approvals

Building approval process

Learn what checks and approvals will be required before, during and after your build including who approves what, and who can help you along way with this flow chart (PDF 88KB).

More information

Design and building practitioners can help you prepare plans and seek approvals.

Contact us for more information.