Frequently Asked Questions

Is a permit required for a front fence?

A front fence more than 1.5m in height requires a Building Permit and may also require a Planning Permit. A Permit is required for any front fence greater than 1m in height constructed within 9m of corner street alignment boundary lines.

A Building Permit is required for any masonry front fence exceeding 1.2m in height.

Is a permit required for a side or rear fence?

No, providing the fence height is less than 1.5m within 3m from the street alignment and the remainder of the fence is less than 2m high.  Fencing between allotments must be approved by both landowners. All enquiries should be referred to the Dispute Settlement Centre which specialise in these matters – free call 1800 658 528.

Is a permit required for an above ground swimming pool?

Yes, any pool that  is capable of holding more than 300mm of water requires a permit and must be fenced unless the swimming pool is emptied after each use.

What are the regulations for pool fencing?

Brochures are available for pool fencing requirements from the Building Services counter.

Is a building permit required for a garage, shed, verandah or pergola?

Building Permits are required for all buildings greater than 10m2 in area and pergolas (unroofed structure) greater than 20m2.

Can I be an owner-builder?

Yes, provided you understand the legal requirements and have the necessary knowledge and experience. See our Information for Owner-Builders page for more information.

Can I obtain a copy of my house plans?

Owners may request house plans subject to completing the "Request for copies of house plans and documents” form and paying the appropriate fee.

Is it possible to obtain copies of building statistics for the month?

Building statistics are not available due to privacy regulations. Building registers may be viewed for information at the Building Services counter.

Do I require a permit for works under $5,000?

Yes. The $5,000 rule was removed from the Regulations in June 2005.

Is there somewhere I can go to check a builders background?

Building projects can be overwhelming. There’s industry jargon, regulations, registration, permits and insurance laws to contend with. Unfortunately many rush the process of choosing a builder, and that’s when the trouble begins. 

Builder Background Checks is an impartial and independent agency for those wanting to thoroughly explore the background of their prospective builder. They offer paid Builder Background Reports as well as free resources to help consumers make informed decisions on their shortlist of builders. Their reports provide data from over twenty government agencies, regulatory and digital media sources.

Disclaimer: This is a paid service from a third-party and is not provided by Council. This link is offered as advice only and should not be seen as an endorsement from Council. 

Can we look at house plans before we purchase a property?

No, plan retrieval may only be granted subject to obtaining written consent from the property owner.

Who do we contact about asbestos in the home?

Information regarding asbestos can be obtained by contacting the Council's Environment Health Department or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on (03) 9637 4156.

DHHS have prepared a number of useful and easy to read booklets which provide all the information you need to know on what products contain asbestos and how to deal with the repair and disposal of these products.

The Council does have available a booklet produced from DHHS which is free and available to any person seeking information about asbestos.

Most homes constructed prior to 1990 will contain some material containing asbestos. Asbestos is commonly found in such materials as cement sheeting for floors, walls and roofs, in cement products such as tiles and gutters, and floor tiles. 

Who do we contact about the unsafe removal of asbestos?

There are a number of government agencies who are responsible for ensuring that asbestos products are handled and disposed of in a safe manner in accordance with the Health and Safety Act 2004.

The following is a summary of the key agencies that maybe involved in dealing with matters arising from the handling of asbestos material.

Local government

The Council is responsible for controlling and managing environmental factors that have a potential to affect human health.

Examples of asbestos-related issues generally managed by the Council include:

  • Potentially unsafe removal of asbestos by owners and occupiers of private dwellings
  • Dumping of asbestos materials
  • Complaints about asbestos material in poor or unsafe conditions at sites which are not workplaces
  • Community concern over the removal  of asbestos in the neighbourhood
  • Storage of asbestos material in residential settings (private dwelling)
  • An unexpected incident such as fire, explosion or vandalism, in places other than a workplace.

In most cases, a Council Environment Health Officer (EHO) will investigate matters arising from the improper handling or disposal of asbestos material.

Where a property owner undertakes demolition work other than building maintenance a building permit must be obtained. Any Contractor engaged to remove and dispose of asbestos material must be a registered asbestos remover.

Department of Health and Human Services

The role of the Department is to act in an advisory capacity. They assist the Council’s EHO with information and technical advice on managing health risks associated with public asbestos exposure. 

The Department also provides advice to homeowners/occupiers on ways to safety maintain or remove asbestos in the home or where potential asbestos nuisance


Asbestos in the workplace is managed and enforced by Worksafe. A workplace is defined as “any place, whether or not in a building or structure, where employees or self-employed person work”. A residential property may constitute a workplace if a person is engaged to complete domestic work.

Examples of asbestos issues managed by Worksafe include:

  • Requirement to undertake an asbestos risk assessment
  • Asbestos removal and air monitoring within a workplace
  • Asbestos removal fro residential or building construction sites undertaken by contractors 
  • Unexpected incidents within a workplace (fire, natural disasters, explosion or vandalism)
  • Complaints about the presence of asbestos in a workplace
  • Complaints regarding derelict industrial or commercial sites where it has been deemed to be a workplace
  • Storage of asbestos

Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)

The EPA is responsible for enforcing the Environmental Protection Act 1970 and the Environment Protection (prescribed Waste) Regulations 1998. The Act aims to protect the areas of the environment from the effects of waste discharges, emissions, deposits or noise for public welfare, safety, health or aesthetic enjoyment.

The EPA has the responsibility of ensuring that asbestos-related environmental issues are generally managed including the transportation and disposal of asbestos waste.