This is a question for the ages, and the answer to this is definitely not a simple one.

The length of the approvals process depends on the type of approvals we are needing to gain. In most cases, our local councils are governed by statutory timeframes, meaning they have a limited number of days to conclude an application. However, as you will read below, there are some technicalities to this.

When it comes to a planning approval, well this is the one that takes some time! Council’s statutory timeframe here is 60-90 calendar days, but there are ways we can help to bring down the timeframe.

When council reviews our planning applications, there can be a need to consult the neighbouring properties. If this is the case, providing your own neighbour’s comments with the initial planning application can bring down the application time and in some cases also save you another fee. Some councils will not accept neighbours comments prepared externally, but when they do, we can generally reduce the timeframe by 2-3 weeks.

Once we have our planning approval, we then need to apply for a building permit. In the residential world, for proposed structures (ie not retrospective approvals) this can be done one of two ways.

The first is by a BA2 or uncertified application. This type of application also has a statutory timeframe attached to it, which is a maximum of 25 working days.

We would simply prepare the BA2 form and submit this to council with the required documents.

The second application type is a BA1 or certified application. This type of application also has a statutory timeframe attached to it, which is a maximum of 10 working days.

The reason this application time is significantly less than its BA2 counterpart, is due to the documents being certified by an independent building surveyor, prior to submitting the application to council. As this part of the process is already completed for council, the time saved in council’s building surveyor certifying the documents, then reduces the timeframe for approval.

Sometimes council will send through a request for further information, and when these requests are sent out, council’s time frame is paused. It will then stay paused until the requested information is supplied to council. Once they have received the information, the time frame will then restart.

So although you may be looking at say a 25 working day time frame, the true time frame may be longer, if you have received a request for further information.

My pro tip!

My pro tip here is to check if your application timeframe is governed by calendar days or working days! It does make a difference to the overall length, and different application types work differently.