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Our guide to navigating Melbourne's planning and building process


For an FAQ on New South Wales' dual occupancy planning and building process, click here.

Great. You've found the perfect block of land for your DualOcc development, nestled in one of Melbourne's beautiful suburbs. When you feel like you're almost good to go with the building work on your new home design, the planning process can be a bit confronting. Where to begin with council requirements and building surveyors?

Each Victorian council has its own set of rules and regulations. When it comes to building, subdividing, renovating or extending your home, requirements vary depending on where the land's located and how you're planning to develop it. So it pays to get expert advice up-front.

In the meantime, here are some first steps.

What's the difference between a building and a planning permit, and do I need both?

In Victoria, local councils issue a planning permit. Private or municipal building surveyors issue building permits.

A building permit is required to ensure structural work is sound, functional and carried out by a licenced professional.

A planning permit allows the land to be used in a certain way, or clears a new build. Even minor changes to an existing property might require a planning permit.

Depending on where you plan to build your new DualOcc home, you might require one or both. One may be required before the other. Check with a dual occupancy specialist or your local council to be sure.

How do I apply for a planning permit?

It's a good idea to talk to a dual occupancy specialist or your local council planner before you begin. They will walk you through what types of permit you'll need, any prohibitions on the block, and what information you have to supply. They can also guide you through the application process.

Seeking professional advice reduces the risk of your application being rejected and or delayed.

Some councils will offer written planning advice on specific matters for a small fee. While this is not a legal document, it can help answer some of your burning questions. Check your council's website to see what support they can offer.

It also makes good sense to talk to your neighbours. Discussing your plans with them directly, early, can avoid headaches down the track.

How do I apply for a building permit?

Only a municipal or private building surveyor can submit a building permit. Metricon's DualOcc specialists can help you in this regard.

The process includes:

  • Paying the appropriate fee
  • Paying the building permit levy
  • Submitting at least three copies of drawings, specifications and allotment plans, along with the completed application form and any other info required.

Once you lodge the application, the surveyor will check it for compliance with the Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2018. If approved, it may come with conditions you'll need to tick off.

What's next?

Several Melbourne councils require additional documentation to ensure your DualOcc building plans comply with the suburb's local character and history. Again, getting expert advice can save you lots of time and possible heartache here.

Metricon can assist you through each stage of the DualOcc building process in Melbourne, and other Australian capital cities, including pricing, planning schemes and building permits. Call 1300 786 773 today.