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Unauthorised Building Works

Planning approval cannot be issued after works have been carried out without approval . Breaches of planning laws are criminal offences which can lead to convictions carrying a criminal record.

If Council is made aware of unauthorised works where approval is required but has not been obtained, Council officers will investigate and take the appropriate action under Council’s Enforcement Policy.

Illegal building works can be costly and difficult to resolve for the owner. Most importantly, the costs involved will most likely outweigh the standard cost of obtaining planning approval.

Unauthorised Works Can be Costly

Costs may include:

  • On the spot fines (of between $750 and $3000)
  • Court imposed fines of up to $1.2 million
  • Paying an engineer or building consultant to certify the building
  • Paying registered land surveyors, architects or draftsmen to certify works
  • Fees for a Council certificate to regularise the works

Difficulties Associated with Unauthorised Works

  • If works are not completed, you may be ordered to stop works by Council until further notice, causing significant delays
  • You may be subject to complaints from neighbours
  • The uncertainty of whether the building works can be certified. Certification post-building works is not always possible
  • If the building cannot be certified, the unauthorised building works may devalue your property
  • You may be ordered by Council or the Court to demolish the illegal building, or restore the building to its original form

Building Information Certificates

Applications for a Building Information Certificate under Division 6.7 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act are commonly made when a property is being sold. Applications can be from the property owner, a third party with the property owner’s consent, the property buyer under a contract of sale including their solicitor or agent, or a public authority when they have notified the owner.

A Building Information Certificate is a certificate issued by Council which states that Council will not take any action under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 or the Local Government Act 1993, to Order or take proceedings for an Order to have the building (covered by the certificate) to be demolished, altered, added to or rebuilt; or to take proceedings in relation to any encroachment by the building onto land under the control of the Council, for a period of seven (7) years.

Council may still issue other types of orders. For example, Council can still issue orders relating to fire safety, swimming pool safety, public health or other matters relating to health and safety.

Note: A Building Certificate can only regulate a building structure and does not approve the use of a building. Use of the building can only be approved under a development application.

Further Enquiries

Further enquiries can be directed to Council’s Environmental Services unit by contacting Council’s Customer Service Centre on (02) 9748 9999.