Going to build here is where to start

Building where to start

Building where to start? Any good builder will tell you that, to have a successful building project, you have to be able to see the project completed before you start. If you haven’t work through the details of the project in your mind and solved and documented all the problems first, you are heading for some unexpected surprises as well as costs.

When you think “building where to start” you should think about what do I need for a building application.  We have put together a checklist of the documents and information you will need but before you go over it, here is some useful information that will explain more about the process and help answer your building where to start question.

What do you need for a building application?

First, you need to work out your W’s. WHAT you are building? WHERE you are building? WHO is building? And finally… WHAT is your budget?

You more than likely already know ‘what’ you want to build and ‘where’ you want to build it. The ‘who’ and how much it will cost is usually more difficult to establish, however, this will be very important when it comes to putting together your building application.

What are you building?

Whatever you are building, whether it be a garden shed, house or a shopping centre, you will have to follow the same basic process to get building approval. When you talk to professionals in the industry, they will refer to your building by its classification or class.

A classification groups together buildings of a similar use so that rules that apply to a class, apply to all the buildings in that class. Attached is a list of building classifications. Review this list to determine the classification of your proposed building.

Where are you building it?

For sure, you know where you want to put the building, but can it actually be built there? If it can, is there anything else that is required to have a building in that location? This is where you have to really start doing some research, and this involves some considerable leg, and headwork. Click on this simple checklist that could save you thousands, and go through each of these items to establish their impact on your project. As you begin to work through addressing the items on this list, you will end up with a lot of records and documents. It is important that you keep all of these so they can be given to your designer, and in some cases, these will also form part of your building application.

Did I hear you say this looks too hard? Well I can honestly tell you, that if you want to save money in design and construction, this is where the most will be saved. Knowing, and designing within the design constraints, will save you money every time. You might as well know now, before you start, because it will only cost more if design and construction has to be modified later.

Who is building it?

In Queensland, the Queensland Building Construction Commission (QBCC) is the statutory body that regulates who can do building work and, they also provide licenses to builders and owner builders.

If you are engaging a builder to do the works, you must check that they are a QBCC licensed builder. Also, if the contract value of the work is more than $3,300, the builder has to obtain Home Owner Warranty Insurance for your work.

Even if you are going to do the works yourself, and the value is more than $11,000, you will still have to obtain an Owners Builders Permit from the QBCC.

As part of the building application, you have to declare the value of works and who the builder is going to be. If either a Home Owner Warranty Insurance or an Owner Builder Permit is required, it is necessary that copies of these documents are provided with the building application.

Value of works

QLeave is a levy placed on building work to provide long service leave payments and training for people in the building industry. It is triggered once the building work value reaches $150,000.00.

This can be paid on line or at the post office, and the yellow copy of the receipt needs to be lodged with the building application.

Owner builders have to complete and lodge this form and obtain the receipt. However, there are no fees payable for owner builder works.

Building Application Checklist

We have complied an easy to follow checklist and, now with all the above knowledge, understanding and collecting the listed requirements should be much easier.

1. Application Forms

⇒  Completed – Form 1 Application Details

⇒ Completed – Form 2 Building Work requiring assessment against the Building Act 1975

2. Qleave payment receipt. (If applicable)

3. Design Drawings

⇒ Site Plan

⇒ Floor Plan

⇒ Roof Plan

⇒ Elevation (showing all four sides)

⇒ Sections (showing construction methods)

⇒ Details (Showing connections and member sizes)

1. Confirmation of Home Owner Warranty Insurance. (If applicable)

2. Copy of Owner Builders Permit. (If applicable)

3. Energy Efficiency Documentation

⇒  Energy Efficiency Report

⇒  Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒  Design Drawings

⇒  Energy Efficiency Plan

5. Site Classifiers Documentation

⇒  Soil Test Report

6. Structural Engineering Documents

⇒  Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒  Design Drawings

⇒  Footing

⇒  Slab

⇒  Wall frame

⇒  Roof/Truss frame

1. Energy Efficiency Documentation

⇒ Energy Efficiency Report

⇒ Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒ Design Drawings

⇒ Energy Efficiency Plan

2. Site Classifiers Documentation

⇒ Soil Test Report

3. Structural Engineering Documents

⇒ Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒ Design Drawings

⇒ Footing

⇒ Slab

⇒ Wall frame

⇒ Roof/Truss frame

4. Civil Engineering Documents

⇒ Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒ Design Drawings

5. Electrical Engineering Documentation

⇒ Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒ Design Drawings

⇒ Energy efficiency report and certification

6. Mechanical Engineering Documentation

⇒ Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒ Design Drawings

⇒ Energy efficiency report and certification

7. Fire Services Hydraulic Engineering Documentation

⇒ Design Certification Certificate (Form 15)

⇒ Design Drawings

8. Fire Engineering Documentation (If applicable)


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I am a Director of Devcert and have been a Building Surveyor since 1989. I have a bachelor degree in building surveying and I am a qualified carpenter. I have been in the construction industry since 1981. I have a real passion for the building certification profession as I believe building certifiers are the general practitioners of the construction industry. Our role is not only to know building law and apply it, our role includes assisting in the development of the knowledge of all in the industry by sharing our knowledge and experience.