Council applications & building approvals

Oct 8, 2020

From small residential improvements to large commercial structures, all new developments require different approvals from the local council or regulator.


The cost and time needed for the application process is often overlooked by both individuals and even large companies. While everyone is usually focussed on the details of the structure or improvement the approvals to get the proposed structure built are one of the most important steps.

Although the application and approval process changes depending on where and what you are trying to build, it follows a few simplified steps;

  • Design
  • Drafting
  • Application
  • Approval process (often iterative)
    • Planning
    • Development
    • Building
  • Approvals issued
  • Construction may commence


Design process


When designing your structure, the first step is to determine which council/shire or regulatory body has jurisdiction of the area it will be constructed in.

From here finding the correct applications and the requirements of these applications is critical. Re-designing an entire system to include things such as 1 in 100 year storm event after the design is finalised can be costly in both time and money. Especially if all of a sudden you need a roof over your bund.

Another great example is finding out after you’ve submitted drawings to council, that you property is in a fire risk area that requires certain materials be used for construction. This can totally change your design and can be very costly.




Knowing up front the requirements of your design and drafting is essential. Depending again on the council, shire or regulatory body, you may need 1:200 site plans, engineer certified drawings, Bushfire Attack Level Assessment (BAL) etc. Getting these details correct up-front prevents needless back and forth between council, engineers, the draftsmen and yourself.

Some regulatory bodies are strict. There is no other way to say it. There are requirements for applications and if you do not meet them, it is not their responsibility to teach you why it was rejected. This can be as simple as filling out a form incorrectly. Then the entire application will be rejected without even being considered and they are well within their rights to do so.

Having said this most of the time the people who assess these types of applications will give you feedback and request further information if it’s not there; after all they are people too.


Remeber to plan


So, whether you’re building a new deck, shed or a putting in a new heavy vehicle washdown facility, don’t forget to organise your planning, development and/or building approvals up front.

Or, if this all just went into the too hard basket, contact us at Rapallo we have several competent and experienced Engineers, Project Managers and draftsmen that have assisted countless clients with applications.
We know the ins and outs of the approvals process and can help you get it right the first time, reducing the delays and cost blowouts that so often occur.

To talk to our Engineers and project managers, contact us here.




If you have a project you’d like to discuss, please call us on (08) 6279 0900 or complete and submit the form below.

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