Carry Out Work Without a Building Permit

Section 16(1) of the Building Act 1993

The Building Act 1993 (the Act’) and Building Regulations 2006 (‘the Regulations’) prohibit you from carrying out certain building works without a building permit, unless an exemption exists for the proposed works under the Regulations. Therefore, a person or body corporate cannot carry out building work without a building permit unless one has been issued and is in force under the Act.If you carry out work without a building permit then you may have committed an offence under section 16(1) of the Act.

A guilty finding for this offence may also have effects on your registration as a builder.

What are ‘building works’?

The Act defines ‘building work’ as ‘work for or in connection with the construction, demolition or removal of a building’. Examples of constructing in relation to a building is defined to include work done in connection with the construction, demolition, or removal of a building1.

Examples of Carrying out work without a building permit

  • Building an extension without a permit
  • Demolishing part of a building a load bearing wall without a permit

There are some exemptions that apply

Schedule 3 of the Regulations lists some building works which can be carried out without a builder’s permit. The following is an example of some of the works:

  • Repair, renewal or maintenance to an existing building structure
  • Building a car port, garage or shed as long as it does not exceed the prescribed size
  • Small excavation works


The offence of building without a permit is governed by section 16(1) of the Building Act 1993 (Vic). [1] Building Act 1993 (Vic), section 3.

Maximum Penalty

The maximum penalty the Court may impose for this offence on an individual is a fine of 500 penalty units (around $80,500).

The maximum penalty the Court may impose on a company is a fine of 2,500 penalty units (around $402,900). The sentenced received will depend on the severity of the breach.

Permits – did you know?

  • Did you know that more than more than 40% of our projects this year have required more than a standard building permit?
  • You may also be interested in the fact that more than 30% of our projects required Building and Planning permits!
  • Surprisingly, more than 15% required additional permits, such as Report & Consent from their neighbour, Report & Consent from Council or both and of course the one that really peeves everyone off, Building Over and Easement Permit, which in most cases needs approval from council and the local water authority,

So be careful when someone tells you “it’ll be right you won’t have to worry about that” because our statistics tell us a very different story.