Building Approvals and Planning Approvals
Building approvals and planning approvals deal with two separate aspects of a proposed development. The key point to note is that:
- A building approval is an assessment of the structure against the Building Code of Australia, its purpose is to determine whether the building is soundly designed and constructed. A suitable qualified building certifier does the assessment and subsequent inspections during construction;
- A planning approval is an assessment of the proposed works and/or use against the relevant local planning instruments (in Townsville these are the City Plan 2005 or City of Thuringowa Planning Scheme) to determine whether the proposed activity is appropriate for the area and what impacts it might have on the function of the local area. The four types of planning approvals are as follows:
- Material change of use (Code) involves the assessment of the establishment of a use on a particular site against the planning scheme, applicable codes and other relevant instruments;
- Material change of use (Impact) involves a higher level of assessment of the establishment of a use on a particular site against the planning scheme, applicable codes and other relevant instruments. Impact assessable applications also undergo a period of public notification during which time anyone can review an application and are invited to lodge a submission for or against the proposed development;
- Operational works includes (but not limited to) extracting, excavating and/or filling of materials on site, placing of advertising devices on premises, or undertaking road works;
- Reconfiguration of a lot includes (but not limited to) subdivisions, amalgamations, boundary realignments and easements associated with land parcels.
Before any construction or use can start on a particular site, a proposed development may require either:
- planning approval; these are generally valid for a period of 2 years from the date of issue for operational works and for a period of 4 years from the date of issue for all other planning approval types; or
- building approval; these generally provide a 12 month period from the date of issue for construction to commence before they lapse, however provided construction does commence prior to lapsing the building approval will remain valid; or
- both planning and building approval.
Building approvals provide a better measure of on the ground activity, primarily because:
- they capture more activity, almost all projects that involve some element of construction will require a building approval;
- the period of validity is shorter, providing a more accurate indication that a project will soon commence;
- the estimated cost of works must be provided as part of the building approval submission.
Planning approvals on the other hand provide a longer term outlook but it is important to remember that:
- not every project will require planning approval, certain uses may be exempt or self-assessable (only code and impact assessable applications are captured);
- the longer period of validity means that a project can be shelved for a considerable period of time;
- the applicant is under no obligation to provide any estimated costs associated with the project so values are not available;
- a single site may undergo numerous successive planning approvals before any noticeable work can be seen on the ground.
Information provided in the reports available below is governed by the provisions of the Information Privacy Act 2009, and the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. If you require information about building and planning approvals, please contact Planning and Development on 1300 878 001, or email email@example.com or visit the Planning and Development counter at Level 2, 103 Walker Street, Townsville City.
Planning Approval Information
Planning approval information and tracking has been integrated into our online ePlanning system. Please visit the ePlanning website for this information.
Building Approval Summary Reports
These reports are designed to provide an overview of building activity around the city. These reports provide information on the number of approvals issued each month along with the estimated value of those approvals breaking them into the following segments:
- New Dwellings - Single detached new dwellings;
- New Units - Duplex and multiple dwelling approvals, providing the number of approvals and the number of new residential units;
- Commercial - Includes all Class 3 to 9 and all subsets as described under the Building Code of Australia;
- Pools and Spas - Stand alone pool and spa approvals;
(Note: Swimming pool and spa applications that have been combined with a new dwelling are not included here).
- Other Residential - Class 1 and 10 alterations, additions and minor structures e.g. patio, garden shed, additions to existing dwellings.