Alter or extend a dwelling

Alterations and extensions

This guide helps you determine which permits and approvals you need to alter or extend a house that is the only dwelling on a lot (a single dwelling).

  • ‘Alteration’ means making an internal or external change to an existing dwelling without increasing the floor area.
  • ‘Extension’ means adding to or increasing the floor area of an existing dwelling.

How to use this guide

To help you work out which permits you need, begin at Step 1 and answer the questions one at a time.

You may be asked to look at zones that affect the property, measure the property area, determine the height of the building and assess how much of the property will be garden area.

This guide only refers to alterations and extensions to the house itself for example changes to the floor, roof, walls or interior.

To perform works on an associated structure, such as a deck, shed, verandah, pool, pergola, fence or retaining wall, refer to Do I need a Permit? and consult the relevant guide.

Before you begin

Before finalising your design:

If you plan to demolish any part of the dwelling in order complete your project, you may need a Planning or Building Permit for the demolition. 

If you need help with Planning Permits, contact our Statutory Planning team on 9278 4888 or email Statutory Planning.
 
If you need help with Building Permits, contact our Building Services team on 9278 4999 or email Building Services.

Check if the works are an internal rearrangement or normal repairs

Refer to your plans to see whether your project could be considered one of the following:

  • An internal rearrangement. You plan to make changes to the interior only. You will not increase the gross floor area, building size or number of dwellings.
  • Domestic services normal to a dwelling. You are installing an appliance or apparatus that is normal to and services a dwelling. For example, access ramps, handrails, air conditioning, hot water services, security systems, shade sails, a barbecue, downpipes or flues.
  • Repairs and routine maintenance. Your project is part of the regular upkeep or repair of damaged building parts. It does not involve the entire replacement of the building fabric. For example, replacing broken roof tiles is considered 'repairs and routine maintenance' but replacing the entire roof is not.

Is your project an internal rearrangement, a domestic service installation or repairs and routine maintenance?

 

 

Check if your property is in a Residential Zone

1. Visit Planning Maps Online and search for the address of your property.

2. Select Get Report. Follow the prompts to create and open a free Planning Property Report.

3. See whether your property is in any of the following:

  • General Residential Zone
  • Residential Growth Zone
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

Are you planning works in a General Residential, Residential Growth or Neighbourhood Residential Zone?

 

 

Check if the building height or storey count prohibits your project

In a General Residential, Residential Growth or Neighbourhood Residential Zone there are limits on the maximum height or number of storeys you may construct.

Look at the following table to see the mandatory height and storey limits.

Zone Schedule number Maximum height Maximum number of storeys  
Residential Growth Zone RGZ1 13.5m No maximum  
General Residential Zone GRZ1 9m 3 storeys  
GRZ2 10.5m  
GRZ3 10.5m  
GRZ4 11m  
GRZ5 11m  
Neighbourhood Residential Zone NZR3 9m on a non-sloping site.
10m on a sloping site*
2 storeys  

*A slope is where the angle of the natural ground level, measured at any cross section of the site of the building wider than 8 metres, is greater than 2.5 degrees.

Does your design exceed the maximum building height or storey count for your zone?

 

 

Check if there is enough garden area for your project

An extension in a General Residential or Neighbourhood Residential Zone must meet the garden area requirement.

  1. Refer to your land title to determine the total area of your property.
  2. Refer to your plans to calculate the percentage of the property set aside as garden area.
  3. See whether the percentage set aside as garden area meets the requirement for your zone.

    For a General Residential Zone or Neighbourhood Residential Zone:
    • A property more than 650msq in area must include at least 35% garden area.
    • A property 501msq to 650msq in area must include at least 30% garden area.
    • A property 400msq to 500msq in area must include at least 25% garden area.
    • A property less than 400msq does not have a garden space requirement

Note that there are no garden space requirements for a Residential Growth Zone.

Does you design meet the minimum garden area required for your zone?

 

 

Check if a Heritage Overlay affects your alteration or extension

  1. Visit Planning Maps Online and search for the address of your property.
  2. Select Get Report. Follow the prompts to create and open a free Planning Property Report.
  3. On the Report, go to the Planning Overlay section to see whether a Heritage Overlay affects your property.
  4. In the Planning Overlay section, look at the map to see the area of your site covered by the Heritage Overlay. Refer to your plans to see whether you will be performing an extension or alteration in that area.

Are you planning an alteration or extension in a Heritage Overlay?

 

 

Check if your property is on the Victorian Heritage Register

  1. Refer to the map from Planning Maps Online.
  2. Look for the Heritage Overlay Schedule link and take note of the schedule number.
  3. Click the Heritage Overlay Schedule link. The Schedule to the Heritage Overlay page appears.
  4. Find your schedule number. See whether the 'Included on the Victorian Heritage Register' column displays 'Yes' for your schedule number.

If the property is on the Victorian Heritage Register:

  • You may need approval from Heritage Victoria for or any buildings and works including internal changes. Contact Heritage Victoria for advice on how to apply for their approval.
  • You may continue to apply for other permits while your Heritage Victoria application is being assessed. But you can only begin construction after all necessary approvals and permits are granted.
  • Note that you may also require a Planning Permit from Council if your property is affected by other overlays. These are discussed later in this guide.

Is your property listed on the Victorian Heritage Register?

 

 

 

Check if you are performing repairs and routine maintenance in a Heritage Overlay

'Repairs and routine maintenance' means your project is part of the regular upkeep or repair of damaged building parts and does not involve the entire replacement of the building fabric.

Are you performing repairs and routine maintenance in a Heritage Overlay?

 

 

Check for a Public Acquisition, Special Building, Land Subject to Inundation or Design and Development Overlay

1. Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online.

2. On the Report, go to the Planning Overlay section to see whether any other following appear:

  • Public Acquisition Overlay (PAO)
  • Special Building Overlay (SBO)
  • Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO)
  • Design and Development Overlay (DDO)

3. In the Planning Overlay section, look at the maps to see the area of your site covered by these overlays. Refer to your plans to see whether you will be performing an extension or alteration in that area.

4. Refer to the following table to see whether you need a apply for a Permit due to these overlays:

This overlay affects my alteration or extension

Overlay schedule number

Action

Public Acquisition Overlay

All schedule numbers

Apply for a Planning Permit

Design and Development Overlay

All schedule numbers except DD04

Apply for a Planning Permit

DD04

You do not need a Planning Permit for a DD04 overlay.

Go to the next step in this guide to continue checking for other overlays.

Special Building Overlay

All schedule numbers

Apply for a Planning Permit


Reminder: This guide only refers to alterations and extensions to the house itself. To determine how overlays affect associated items, such as a deck, shedaerialverandah, pool, pergola, fence or retaining wall, refer to Do I need a permit?.

Do you need Planning permission for an alteration or extension in a Public Acquisition, Special Building, Land Subject to Inundation or Design and Development Overlay?

 

 

 

 

Check if the works will be in a Significant Landscape Overlay

Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online to see whether a Significant Landscape Overlay affects the works.

If so, refer to the design and see whether the height of the dwelling will be more than 6m above natural ground level after works are complete.

Are you planning works in a Significant Landscape Overlay where the dwelling height will be more than 6m above ground level?

 

 

Check if the works are affected by an Environmental Significance Overlay

Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online to see whether the works are affected by an Environmental Significance Overlay.

You'll need Planning permission for an extension in an Environmental Significance Overlay, unless the works are:

  • Repairs and routine maintenance
  • the construction of a heating appliance, chimney or flue pipe.

Reminder: 'Repairs and routine maintenance' refers to the regular upkeep of a building or repairs to damaged building parts that do not involve the entire replacement of the building fabric.

Are you performing extension works in an Environmental Significance Overlay that require Planning permission?

 

 

 

Check if the property is in a Commercial Zone 

Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online to see if the property is in a Commercial 1 or Commercial 2 Zone.

You need Planning permission for an alteration or extension in a Commercial Zone, except for the following projects:

  • An internal rearrangement: You plan to make changes to the interior only, and will not increase the gross floor area or building size.
  • Domestic services normal to a dwelling: You are installing an appliance or apparatus that is normal to and services the building.
  • Repairs and routine maintenance: Your project is part of the regular upkeep or repair of damaged building parts and does not involve the entire replacement of the building fabric.

All other extensions and alterations in a Commercial Zone need Planning permission.

Are you performing extension works in a Commercial Zone that require planning permission?

 

 

 

Check your lot size in relation to your zone

Refer to your zone and the area of your lot:

  • If the property is in a General Residential or Neighbourghood Residential Zone, you need Planning permission to extend a building on a lot less than 500sqm.
  • If the property is in a Mixed Use or Residential Growth Zone, you need Planning permission to extend a building on a lot less than 300sqm.

Do you need Planning permission for an extension due to your zone and lot size?

 

 

Apply for a Planning Permit, if needed

If you have determined that you need to apply for a Planning Permit:

  1. Provide a clear copy of your Certificate of Title, including the lot plan. You can get this from the Landata website. The Certificate of Title must be no more than 28 days old.
  2. Write a cover letter explaining your proposal.
  3. Provide a plan drawn to scale (1:100 or 1:200) with full dimensions, as well as an A3-sized set. The plan must show the site, floor layout and elevations.
  4. Check whether your application is eligible to be fast-tracked under VicSmart.
  5. Complete the Application for a Planning Permit.
    • If you need a permit to demolish part of a building, the Planning Permit application you submit can be for both the demolition and the extension or alteration.
    • You need to submit application documents and plans in both hard copy and digital format.
    • If the cost of your works is greater than $1,029,000, the State Revenue Office (SRO) requires that you pay a Metropolitan Planning Levy. After you have paid the levy, the SRO will issue a certificate. You need to include this certificate in your Planning Permit application.
  6. Lodge the form, application fee and supporting documents with Council.
  7. Go to the next step to see whether you need a Building Permit.

Check whether your works impact the structural soundness of the building

Impacting 'structural soundness' means removing or altering any element of the building which contributes to the support of any other element of the building.

The following works all impact structural soundness:

  • modifying the height of a dwelling
  • increasing or decreasing the floor area of the building
  • increasing the size of an opening, such as a doorway or window
  • replacing or underpinning the footings (a footing is a structure located in the ground that supports the house above)
  • removing or altering roof framing to install a skylight
  • performing repairs that impact a supporting element of the building, for example replacing a roof beam
  • making an internal change that affects a supporting element of the building, for example removing a loadbearing wall.

If you are unsure of whether your change impacts structural soundness, contact Building Services.

Reminder: If you are carrying out any alterations to a verandah, refer to the Build a verandah guide.

Will your works involve removing or altering any structural elements of the building?

 

 

Confirm whether the works affect a State heritage-listed building

Refer back to the report from Planning Maps Online and confirm whether a building on your property is State heritage-listed.

  1. On the report, see whether Heritage Overlay appears, if so, look for the Heritage Overlay Schedule link and take note of the schedule number.
  2. Click the Heritage Overlay Schedule link. The Schedule to the Heritage Overlay page appears.
  3. Find your schedule number. See whether the “Included on the Victorian Heritage Register” column displays 'Yes' for your schedule number.

Will your works affect a State-heritage listed building?

 

 

 

Apply for a Building Permit, if needed

  1. Read the Building Permit application checklist to determine which supporting documents you need for your circumstances. If you are unsure what you need, contact the Building Services team on 9278 4999 or email Building Services.
  2. If relevant, apply for Report and Consent. You need to apply for Report and Consent if the design does not comply with the siting requirements of the Building Regulations, for example non-compliant front setback or overlooking. You may also need Report and Consent for non-siting provisions of the Building Regulations such as building on flood prone land. Contact the Building Services Team if you are unsure whether you need Report and Consent for your project.
  3. Complete the Application for a Building Permit.
  4. Lodge the Building Permit application form, fee and supporting documents with Council. For fee information, email Building Services.

You may lodge the application for a Building Permit while other permit applications are still being processed, but may only begin construction when all required permits and approvals are granted.

See whether there are any other Permits you need for your project.

Check if there are any other permits you need

If you need to:

If your works could:

 Go to the next step.

Begin construction

After all required permits and approvals have been granted, you may begin construction.

Read your Building Permit and conditions carefully. The Building work will need to be inspected and approved by the Relevant Building Surveyor.

Refer to the required mandatory inspection stages listed on the Building Permit. For general information about mandatory inspections during construction, see Apply for a Building Permit, stages 8 to 12.

Mandatory inspections continue until the work is completed and complies to building legislation.

When the Relevant Building Surveyor issues the Certificate of Final Inspection, the works are considered approved.

You may exit the guide.