Planning and building permits

Understand the difference between planning and building, the planning process and what permits you need before doing any building or renovation work.

Planning and building overview

Planning and building departments are controlled by different Acts of Parliament, regulations and schemes.

Planning relates to the use and development of land and how any changes will fit in with the surrounding environment.

Building relates to the actual building and changing of structures. The structures can be houses, shops and offices.

Difference between planning and building permits

You may need a planning permit, a building permit, or both. This depends on the work you want to do and the types of overlays and planning zone on your property.

Planning permits are legal documents that allow you to add a new development or change the way you use the land. You won’t always need a planning permit.

A building permit is written approval to construct a new building or expand or remodel an existing one. You need a building permit before you can start any building work.

What do I need a planning permit for?

You may need a planning permit if you want to do the following:

When do I need a building permit?

You will need a building permit to do building work or make changes to the use of an existing building.

You need a building permit for:

  • demolition
  • extensions
  • garages, sheds, and carports
  • verandas and pergolas
  • fences
  • retaining walls
  • rooming and boarding houses
  • granny flats
  • guest houses
  • student accommodation
  • alterations to any Essential Safety Measures or Fire Safety Measures
  • swimming pools and spas, and the surrounding safety barriers. 

What's the process?

The infographic below helps you understand the steps you’ll go through to get your plans approved and building work done.

Where do I start?

To get started, find out the process to get a planning permit, things to consider and how to get support.

Gather property information

When you start a project, you can get property information to see what you can do. Council has many kinds of property information that can be useful if you are buying, renovating, or building in the City of Port Phillip.

Some of the types of property information includes:

  • property information about zones, overlays and reports on Planning Ahead
  • planning documentation search to get information on previously approved planning permits, endorsed plans and delegate reports
  • building documentation search for building permit documents
  • building or property information certificates under Regulation 51 is needed when buying, selling or preparing a building permit application.

Cost and time

Get an understanding of how cost and time can depend on different factors. These factors impact the time it takes to finish a building project and how much it will costs.

Help and support

If you have any questions or need help, please contact us:

Online: My Port Phillip online services
Phone: 03 9209 6424
In person: visit the Planning & Building Counter at St Kilda Town Hall during opening hours (8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday)