Difference between building permit and planning permimt

What Is The Difference Between A Building Permit And A Planning Permit?

Our projects team processes hundreds of permits every year and one of the most common questions our customers ask, is: What is the difference between a building permit and a planning permit?

This is a good question as it can be hard to remember the difference between the two types of permits, and which is which.

As Registered Builders, our team here at Action Steel are qualified to manage the council permit application process for our shed builds. This creates a hassle-free experience for our customers and helps streamline the shed building process.

In this article we’ll discuss the two main types of permits – planning permits and building permits – in more detail, and the difference between these.


What Is A Planning Permit?


In Victoria, a planning permit is issued by the local council to allow the development of a rural shed on your property.

The planning permit application and approval process can be quite time-consuming, and, on some occasions, they can take up to three months to be processed. Thankfully, in most cases in Victoria, a planning permit is not required to construct a shed on farmland.

There are three main factors that will trigger a planning permit requirement for your shed project.

  1. Property overlays

If there are particular overlays on the property, a planning permit will be required for the shed project to progress any further. Examples of overlays include Aboriginal Heritage overlay or Land Subject to Inundation overlay.

  1. Failure to comply with the required setbacks

A planning permit will be required if the location of the shed does not comply with the required setbacks listed below:

  • 20 metres off a local council road
  • 100 metres off a main road (for example, a highway)
  • 5 metres off a property boundary
  • 100 metres away from a dwelling in a different ownership
  • 100 metres away from a waterway
  1. The use of the building

The planned use of the shed can also trigger a planning permit in Victoria if it does not satisfy the approved use of the land. For example, if a client was to build a Rural Store on land classified as Farmland, while the shed and location may not trigger a planning permit, the use of the shed would as it is not the approved use of the land.


What Is A Building Permit?

A building permit is a document issued by a Registered Building Surveyor to signify that the plans and documentation for a proposed building work meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia.

A building permit is required for almost every farm shed in Victoria, and the permit must be approved before any works commence on site.

To apply for a building permit, you must either be a Registered Building Practitioner or apply for the permit as an ‘owner builder’.

Going as an ‘owner builder’ for your permit is mostly a difficult and time-consuming process, it requires you to attend safety courses and obtain several insurances. Being an ‘owner builder’ also means that you will have to take responsibility for the construction of the shed and ensure that the works meet all building regulations and standards. Some of the obligations of being an ‘owner builder’ last for six and a half years after the completion of the building!

In contrast to planning permits, building permits are usually processed quite quickly by Building Surveyors and can be stamped off within two weeks.

Difference between building permit and planning permimt

Difference Between A Building Permit And A Planning Permit

An easy way to remember the difference between the two, is: a building permit relates to the actual shed build, whereas a planning permit relates to the land that the shed will be built on.

Are Building Permits & Planning Permits Required In New South Wales and South Australia?

In New South Wales and South Australia, the permit process is called a development application, and all development applications are required to get both a planning consent and a building consent.

As a planning consent is required for all projects regardless, factors like boundary setbacks are not applicable as they are in Victoria.

All development applications have to be processed through the relevant local council – even if you engage a private certifier or surveyor to arrange the application (this is similar to the planning permit process in Victoria).

So that is a general explanation of the difference between a building permit and a planning permit, and when they are required! Keep reading to learn more about council permits, and to discover the answers to frequently asked questions. 

The Permit Application Process

In the video below, Jason discusses the council permit process in Victoria in more detail, and whether your shed will require a permit.  

A few other questions we are commonly asked about council permits for farm sheds, include:

Can I get a permit exemption for my shed?

Depending on which shire your new shed build is located in, you could potentially get a permit exemption.

 Some shires offer permit exemptions for certain size sheds. For example, the shires below offer a building permit exemption for sheds under 500m² – providing certain conditions are met.

If your proposed shed build is located in any of these shires, please feel free to call us to find out if this exemption can be applied to your project.

How much does a farm shed permit cost?

The variations between council shires, the application processes (which we discuss in more detail here) and shed projects mean that we can’t provide an exact answer.

However, given the number of permit applications we process on behalf of clients every day, we can provide a fairly accurate range of permit costs for various shed types – based on Action Steel managing the application process.

The average cost of permits for farm sheds is $2,600.00*.

*Farm sheds built in 2021 by Action Steel

To give you an idea of how the cost of a shed permit can vary, here are a few examples of recent permits costs.

  • A permit for a 27m x 12m hay shed in the Moyne Shire Council costs approx. $2,300.00.
  • A permit for a 40m x 24m industrial shed in the Ararat Rural City Shire Council costs approx. $6,300.
  • A permit for a 56m x 24m hay shed in the Yarriambiack Shire Council costs approx. $3,800.

 Can I build a shed near a boundary?

The setbacks mentioned earlier in the article, may determine how close you can build your shed to a boundary.

If you are unable to satisfy the setback requirements, your farm shed project will need a planning permit to progress any further.

Can I build a shed near a powerline?

If the site location you have selected for your new shed is near or under a powerline, there are several restrictions and requirements that you need to be aware of. Whether you are allowed to build near or even under the powerline usually depends on the type of powerline on your property and your powerline provider.

Read our article on this topic to learn about sag and sway and no-go zones for powerlines.

What are the fire design requirements for farm sheds?

The Victorian Building Authority made several changes to the building code that have made fire regulations a lot clearer.

Under the revised building code there are two classifications for structures built on ‘Farming Zone’ land; a “Farm Shed” and a “Farm Building”. You can learn about the different fire design requirements for these building classifications, here.

Or if you prefer, watch the explanation from Lester in the video below.

We hope this article helps you understand the difference between a building permit and a planning permit, and answers some of the questions you have about council permits for sheds. 

If you have any further questions, we are always happy to have a chat and help you with your shed permit application. Call us or email us to find out if we can help. 

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