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When do you need a Building Approval (BA)?

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

A certifier's summary - Queensland

Building work in Queensland requires a building approval (BA).

The Building Act 1975 governs BAs for Queensland. As per the Building Regulations 2021 (Schedule 1) there is some work which is prescribed. Prescribed work is considered low risk and may not trigger an approval.

Q: When is a BA not required?

A: When all of the scope of work fits in to the work identified in the Building Regulations 2021 (Schedule 1).

Q: What triggers a Building Approval in Queensland?

Even if an approval is not required, work should be undertaken

- with a contract, with QBCC insurance paid.

- by QBCC licensed contractors, acting within their scope.

A RPEQ engineer will be required to design and inspect all structural elements to ensure structural stability.

Examples of prescribed work (ie not requiring a BA)

  • minor structures or repairs that are self-assessable

  • repairs/ maintenance to existing buildings

  • fences under 2m (not including swimming pool fencing)

  • retaining walls - approval is only required where a retaining wall

  1. exceeds 1m in total (height)

  2. is within 1.5m of a structure

  3. includes a footing that will impose a surcharge loading to any nearby infrastructure/footings.

However, if even one element of the project is out of the scope outlined in the Building Regulations 2021, Schedule 1 it does trigger the need for approval.

For example, if a retaining wall is 900mm high, but only 1m away from another structure, a building approval is required.

For other class 10 structures, dimensions and/or location may help decide if a building approval is/ is not required.

Planning a new deck, arbour, pergola, shed or patio?

To clarify if you need to contact a certifier, check the criteria in the Building Regulation 2021 (schedule 1) legislation

For more information:

"Do I need a building permit?" A simple question that needs to be asked before you start any building works. Answers from HIA here

Need Council related information?

Brisbane City Council (BCC) general BA info here and Retaining Wall advice here

Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) - download building approval fact sheet here

Download PDF • 663KB

Need a Building Approval?

Building Approvals and Advice (BA&A) are ready to help with domestic approvals - contact our certifiers for a fee proposal.


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