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Carports and Fences

A Carport is defined under the Building Regulations 2006 and National Construction Code as a structure used to house motor vehicles, which has a minimum of two sides “open” and not less than one third of its perimeter “open”, and for the purpose of this definition, a side is considered to be open if the roof covering adjacent to that side is not less than 500 mm from another building or allotment boundary. Also, the structure must have non-combustible roof claddings and linings including gables.

A Carport is classified under the National Construction Code as a Class 10a. A Carport may be sited on or within 900 mm of an allotment boundary, provided it meets the criteria and definition of a Class 10a – “Carport” structure as described above.

As with the siting of any proposed structure there are limitations on construction. The Building Regulations impose limitations on building heights and lengths, setbacks from the front, rear and side boundaries, maximum site coverage, etc. Please refer to the “General Siting Requirements for Single Dwellings and Outbuildings” for ResCode Siting information.


A Fence is classified under the Building Regulations and National Construction Code as a Class 10b structure. Part 4 of the Building Regulations regulates the siting and height limitations of proposed fences. Refer to the ‘General Siting Requirements for Single Dwellings and Outbuildings’ for Siting information.

A Building Permit is required for a proposed front fence or side fence on a corner block exceeding 1.2 metres in height within 3.0m of the properties front boundary. A side boundary fence dividing two properties greater than 2.0m in height also requires a Permit.

Boundary fences dividing two properties up to 2.0m in height and greater than 3.0 metres back from the frontage are unregulated, do not require a Building Permit and should be treated as a civil matter as these fences are usually in joint ownership.

A retaining wall structure which may be considered as a fence requires a Building Permit when this structure is retaining more than 1.0m in the vertical plane or is constructed on a site boundary.

Irrespective of whether a Building Permit is required or not, all fences and retaining walls must comply with the Building Regulations 2006 and National Construction Code.

Construction in Bush Fire Areas

Many areas within Victoria are declared Bush Fire Prone. Buildings constructed in these areas will require specialised components and methods to protect the building against ember attack during a Bush Fire. These measures do not guarantee your building will not burn, but do provide some protection against attack provided an ongoing maintenance and inspection regime is also undertaken.

The National Construction Code provides details of the specialised building methods and components needed to construct a building in a Bush Fire Prone Area.

The methods and components are designed to reduce a buildings susceptibility to ember attack during a Bush Fire, they do not provide protection from a Fire Front.

The Australian Standard AS 3959 sets 4 categories for ember attack, the Category specific to your property can be identified by a site evaluation in accordance with the method set out in the Standard. A site evaluation can be carried out by the CFA, your Builder or your Building Surveyor Accredited Bushfire Consultant or Architect.

  • Low, (no protection is required in this category)
  • Medium
  • High
  • Extreme

Parts of the building that will require special treatment are:

  • Flooring systems.
  • Supporting Posts, Columns, Piers and Poles.
  • External Walls.
  • Windows.
  • External Doors.
  • Vents and Weep Holes.
  • Roof Covering, Eaves and Fascias.
  • Roof Lights.
  • Roof Ventilators.
  • Roof Mounted Evaporative Cooling Units.
  • Gutters and Down pipes.
  • Service Pipes (water and gas).
  • Verandahs and Decks.
FLOORS (Medium / High Catagory)

Proposed flooring systems can be one or any combination of the following:

  1. Concrete slab on ground;
  2. A suspended floor which can be a concrete slab supported by complying posts, columns, stumps, piers, poles or walls;
  3. a suspended timber floor where the underside of any one bearer is not more than 600 mm above finished ground level and which has flooring, bearers and joists which have been treated with a suitable fire retardant;
  4. a suspended timber floor where the underside of any one bearer is not more than 600 mm above finished ground level and which has the ground/floor gap enclosed by a wall which complies with the requirements under WALLS.

Note: Adequate sub floor ventilation is essential.


Supporting posts or columns can be one or any combination of the following:

  1. Non-combustible;
  2. Timber treated with a suitable fire retardant for a minimum 400 mm above finished ground level;
  3. Timber mounted on galvanized metal shoes with a minimum clearance of 75 mm from the finished ground level or paving level (see diagram 2).SERVICE PIPES (e.g. water and gas)

Pipes shall be buried to a depth of at least 300 mm unless they are metal. All exposed piping is to be metal.


The external walls shall be one or any combination of the following;

  1. A wall where the external leaf is masonry, concrete, pise, rammed or stabalised earth, or;
  2. Where the cladding is other than that specified above, a framed wall that incorporated either an insulation material confirming to the appropriate Australian Standard or a breather type sarking complying with AS/NZ 4200.1 and with a maximum flammability index of not more than 5 (AS.1530.2) installed directly behind the external cladding.

Where the external leaf or cladding is of a combustible sheet material, it shall be protected for not less than 400 mm above the finished ground level by covering or replacing with suitable non-combustible material or fire retardant treated timber; or
Where the external cladding is timber, either by covering or replacing with non-combustible materials as above, or by treating the section of cladding with suitable fire retardant treatment. (See diagrams 3 & 4 for wall protection where combustible wall cladding is used with a concrete slab.

  • The following requirements apply to all types of roofs.
  • No timber shakes or shingles are permitted.
  • Sarking shall have a maximum flammability index of 5 (see AS 1530.2).
  • The roof/wall junction shall be sealed with fascias and eaves lining, or by sealing the gaps between the rafters with a suitable non-combustible material.
  • For sheeted roofs, only metal or fibre cements sheets may be used.
  • Gutters shall be fitted with devices to stop leaves collecting.
  • Ridge capping shall be sealed as above, or by suing pre-formed rib caps where suitable (see diagram 5).

All eaves shall be enclosed, and the fascia or the gaps between the rafters shall be sealed.


All materials or devise used to stop leaves collecting in the gutters of construction shall have a flammability index of not greater than 5 when tested in accordance with AS 1530.2.


All penetrations of the roof for light shafts, vent pipes and the like are to be sealed with a non-combustible sleeve or lining.

Vented roof lights shall be provided with corrosion resistant steel or bronze mesh having a maximum aperture size of 1.8 metres.


All components of roof ventilators, including the rotary type, shall be constructed of non-combustible material and shall be sealed against the entry of sparks and embers with corrosion resistant steel or bronze mesh having a maximum aperture size of 1.8 mm.


Roof mounted evaporative cooling units shall only be used if the openings to the cooling unit are encased in corrosion resistant steel or bronze mesh with a maximum aperture size of 1.8 mm.


All windows, doors, vents and weep holes shall be protected as follows:


All openings sashes and louvers shall be screened with corrosion resistant steel, bronze or aluminum mesh with a maximum aperture size of 1.8 mm in such a way that the opening remains screened when the sash or louvre is open.


Exterior doors shall be fitted with corrosion-resistant steel, bronze or aluminum mesh screens with a maximum aperture size of 1.8 mm and weather strips to prevent penetrations or build up of burning debris beneath the door (door seals).


Vents and weep holes shall be screened with corrosion resistant steel, bronze or aluminum mesh with a maximum aperture of 1.8 mm (see diagram 6).

  • A reinforced concrete suspended slab floor, supported by complying posts or columns or complying walls or a complying slab-on-the-ground floor is considered acceptable.
  • Solid decking may be either sheeted with particleboard, plywood, compressed fibre cement or the like, or tongued and grooved flooring timbers.
  • Solid decking shall comply with the abovementioned requirements for floors. Also, where clearance to the underside of the floor levels 400 mm or less above finished ground level, all joints in the decking shall be covered or sealed. Compressed fibre cement sheet shall have a minimum thickness of 15 mm.

Note: Flooring bearers and joists may be required to be treated with a suitable fire retardant, refer to section on flooring.

  • Open decking flooring timbers shall be fixed with 5 mm minimum clearance between adjacent timbers.
  • The external perimeter ground/floor gaps is not be sealed, in order to provide access to extinguish burning debris or fires.
  • The base of any supports are to comply with the abovementioned requirements for supporting posts or columns.
  • Decking timbers shall not be allowed to connect with the remainder of the building unless measures are used to prevent the spread of fire into the building.


Making a Building Permit application & documents to be lodged

Find out if you require a Building Permit before carrying out any works. It is as simple as contacting any local Council Building Department or a Private Building Surveyor.

Preparing Documents: Prepare the drawings and specifications for the proposed works.

It is advisable to seek the assistance of a Victorian registered Architect or Draftsperson which has knowledge of the relevant Building Regulations and National Construction Code. This will ensure that the documents are accurate, clear and concise.

The documents should include accurate Site Plans at a scale of 1:200 or 1:500; Floor Plans, Elevations and Structural details at a scale of 1:100; Architectural Specifications are also required. If the structural details are prepared by a registered Structural/Civil Engineer a copy of the Computations and Structural Drawings are also to be provided.

Building Application: Once the plans and structural details are completed, you are then ready to make an application for a Building Permit.

To make a Building Permit application, you need to:

1. Fill out and sign the Building Permit Application Form (Form 1), which includes an appointment declaration; quotation acceptance; and agent authorisation; where applicable.

Refer to Building Application Form – Form 1

2. Pay the appropriate fee prior to the Building Permit being issued. The fee covers Building Inspections; document assessment; and State Government Levies (Note: other fees for Council Report and Consents, Dispensations or Modifications, etc may be applicable).

Submit the following documentation with your application:

– Four (4) copies of detailed Architectural plans (working drawings), including floor plan, site plan, roof plan, sections, elevations, footing details, existing condition plans, stormwater layout/plan etc. Provide colour drawings for alterations/additions.
– Four (4) copies of Architectural specifications – This may be on the plans or a MBA General Spec.
– A copy of the Town Planning Permit and stamped endorsed plans – If planning approval is required.
– Four (4) copies of Engineer’s structural drawings, computations, and Certification.
– A copy of Certificate of Title and proof of ownership (ie. rates notice or contract of sale).
– Builder’s registration details and job specific domestic warranty insurance where a registered domestic builder is to do the building work. Alternatively, a copy of an “Owner Builders Certificate” from the Building Practitioners Board – Victorian Building Authority.
– Four (4) copies of a Soil Report (ie. all new buildings and major extensions).
– A copy of a Site Survey plan (re – establishment) and levels from a registered Land Surveyor (where applicable ie. all new buildings; major extensions).
– A copy of a sewer plan showing all sewer pipes on the allotment and adjoining allotments.

The following information may also be required for submission with or during your application for assessment:

– Council ‘Report & Consent’ for the ‘Protection of the Public’ (Hoarding Permit) pursuant to Regulation 604, may be required during the building works.
– Protection of adjoining property pursuant to Regulation 602, may be required before and during building work, therefore Form 3 and Form 4 Protection Works Notices may be applicable.
In addition to the above list of requirements, commercial, industrial, public buildings, multi-residential apartments, etc may also require:
– MFESB (Metropolitan Fire & Emergency Services Board reports if not in compliance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) – Fire Services requirements.
– Services plans – Mechanical/Electrical/Hydraulic/Fire
– Evidence to the suitability of building lining materials (Fire Indices)
– Staged Permits for sections of the building. Precise descriptions are required.

Assessment: All applications are processed by our professional Building Surveyors who ensure that the proposal will meet the requirements and objectives of the Building Regulations and associated Codes/Standards..

Building Permit: When the Building Permit is issued, work is generally required to be commenced within 12 months and completed within 24 months of the Building Permit issue date. Note, this date range varies for commercial / industrial projects; swimming pools; and re-erections. These time limits may be extended if an application is made to the Relevant Building Surveyor before the expiration date.

Please Note: Penalties (Building Notice / Order) may be applied if building works are conducted while a Building Permit has expired.

Builders Role: The builders responsibility is to build in accordance with the Building Permit, all the approved documents, the Building Act, the Building Regulations, and the National Construction Code, relevant Australian Standards, and proper work practices. Any variation to the approved documents must be submitted to the Relevant Building Surveyor for a Variation approval before the changed building works are carried out and/or inspected out.

Inspections: During the construction of your project there are various construction stages that the Building Surveyor is required to inspect. These are itemised on your Building Permit and are mandatory inspections and hence must be conducted.

Inspections are to be carried out between 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Inspections are required to be booked, via telephone, 24 hours (minimum) prior, during office hours. Inspection bookings are not accepted via fax, e-mail, or mail.

Final Inspection: When works are completed, you (owner) or your Builder are to request a Final Inspection to be carried out. The Building Surveyor/Inspector will then arrange for an inspection to be carried out, of the fully completed building works.
If the building is suitable to occupy for its intended use, an Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection will be issued.

Refer to Application for Occupancy Permit – Form 5

The Building Surveyor will send a copy of the Occupancy Permit to all relative parties. A building cannot be occupied unless an Occupancy Permit is issued. If a person occupies a building without the issue of an Occupancy Permit, they are not only illegally occupying the building and subject to infringements, but they also may not be covered by insurance/s.

Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006 (ie. Res Code)
Building Permits and Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006 (ie. ResCode)

When making an application to a Building Surveyor for approval of a proposed development, it is the responsibility of this Relevant Building Surveyor to determine whether a Town Planning Permit is required from the local Municipal Council. Local Council’s have guidelines in relation to the various types of building Classes/Types/Zones allowed within their municipal boundaries. Planning Scheme Overlays and Zones determine whether the local Council requires involvement in the approval process. If a property to be developed (ie. external building works or change of a building use) is under an Overlay or specific Zone (ie. non-Residential 1 Zones) it generally requires the approval of the local Council Planning Department, in the form of a ‘Town Planning Permit’.

The documentation to be submitted when applying for a Building Permit, where a Planning Permit is also required, must incorporate a copy of the relevant Planning Permit and the endorsed documentation. Throughout the Building Permit process and construction work, the Building Permit and Planning Permit documentation must remain consistent, within reason. Meaning, if a change (Architectural) is made to the construction issue drawings, it must be approved by the Relevant Planning Authority before it can be made a Building Permit amendment.

When it is determined by the local Council and the Relevant Building Surveyor that a Planning Permit is not applicable for a proposed development, generally being one Dwelling on a single allotment or associated works, residential Siting is to be in accordance with Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006 (ie. ResCode). It is then the role of the Relevant Building Surveyor to ensure that the design documentation submitted for the Building Permit application complies with these Regulations.

ResCode applies to all residential Building Permit applications. ‘ResCode’ brings all the objectives and standards for housing together into two regulatory documents – being local Council Planning Scheme’s and Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006.

The following are regulated under Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006 (ResCode):

  • wall, fence and carport lengths
  • boundary setbacks
  • private open space – including secluded private open space site coverage
  • light courts to habitable room windows of the subject building
  • light courts to habitable room windows of an adjoining residence
  • overlooking
  • overshadowing
  • obstruction of solar access to north facing windows of adjoining residences
  • off-street car parking
  • amount of allotment covered with surfaces impervious to soakage of rainwater.

Designs not in compliance with the prescribed measures cannot be granted a Building Permit, unless the local Council consents to the alternative non-complying design (ie. Dispensations).

Design Considerations – Dispensations/Report and Consent(s)

The local Municipal Building Surveyor is the delegated responsible officer for making a decision in regards to an application for Dispensation/Report and Consent.

It is usually recommended that your nominated Relevant Building Surveyor complete a ResCode assessment of your proposal in order to determine the ResCode Clauses requiring a Report & Consent / Dispensation from a Council.

When do the Building Regulations apply?
Part 4 of the Building Regulations applies to the construction or extension of one Dwelling, as outlined in the following table. Planning Permits are required in all other cases.

  Type of Development Requirements
Single Dwellings requiring only a Building Permit

If the site is greater than 300m2 or 500m2 and is not covered by an overlay in the Planning Scheme, then only a Building Permit is required.

Applications will be assessed against the standards outlined within the Building Regulations and if a proposal does not meet any of these requirements, then approval is required from the Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor.

Single Dwellings requiring a Planning Permit

If the site is greater than 300m2 or 500m2 and/or is not covered by an Overlay in the Planning Scheme, that incurs the need for Town Planning approval, then only a Building Permit is required.

Multi Dwellings requiring a Planning Permit

Any proposal for more than one Dwelling on a site will continue to require a Planning Permit and will be assessed against Clause 55 of the Planning Scheme.

Refer to Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006 – Building (Single Dwellings) Regulations

Protection of Adjoining Properties

During the checking of an ‘Application for a Building Permit’ the Relevant Building Surveyor may determine the need for ‘Protection of Adjoining Properties’.

This is usually the case when construction is proposed on or near boundaries to adjacent properties and when the Relevant Building Surveyor determines that damage could occur to adjacent properties as a result of the proposed works.

When it is determined by the Relevant Building Surveyor that ‘Protection of Adjoining Property’ is required; this process, as outlined in the Building Act 1993, must be completed prior to the commencement of any building work that relates to the works that warrant protection measures.

The following is a guide to the process of ‘Protection of Adjoining Properties’ which has been extracted out of the Building Act 1993. It is the Owner’s responsibility to ensure this process is followed and adhered to.

Protection of Adjoining Properties Information

The following is an extract from the Building Act 1993; Part 7; Sections 84 to 88 inclusive and Sections 92, 93 and 94 is intended to provide advice to applicants as to the procedures to be followed in serving protection Notices and carrying out Protection Works.

84. Notice of Building Work to be Given
  1. An Owner who is required by the Building Regulations to carry out Protection Work in respect of an adjoining property before or during the carrying out of the building work for which a Building Permit is required must, before commencing the building work, serve on the Owner of the adjoining property and the Relevant Building Surveyor Notice of the proposed building work.
  2. The Notice must be in the prescribed Form and must include:
    • details of the proposed building work as at the date of Notice; and
    • details of the proposed Protection Work setting out the nature, location, time and duration of the Protection Work.
85. Adjoining Owner must Respond to Notice
  1. The adjoining Owner, not later than 14 days after service on the adjoining Owner of the Notice of the proposed building work, must:
    • Give to the Owner a Notice in the prescribed Form agreeing to the proposed Protection Work; or
    • Give to the Owner and the Relevant Building Surveyor a Notice in the prescribed Form;
    • Disagreeing with the proposed Protection Work; or
    • Requiring more information to be given to enable the proposal to be considered by the Relevant Building Surveyor.
  2. Subject to Sections 90 and 91, an adjoining Owner who fails to give Notice under Sub-Section (1) within the required time is deemed to have agreed to the proposed Protection Work. Section 86. Effect of agreementIf the adjoining Owner agrees or is deemed to have agreed to the proposed Protection Work, the Owner may proceed to carry out the Protection Work after obtaining necessary Permits or approvals required by this or any other Act or the Building Regulations.
87. Effect of Disagreement or Request for Further Information
  1. On receipt of a Notice under Section 85 (1) (b), the Relevant Building Surveyor must examine the proposal for Protection Work and determine the appropriateness or otherwise of the work.
  2. If the Relevant Building Surveyor considers it appropriate in the case of a Notice under Section 85 (1) (b) (ii), the Relevant Building Surveyor:
    • May ask the Owner to give more information before making a determination under Sub-Section (1); and
    • If more information is requested, must make a copy of that information available to the adjoining Owner.
  3. In determining a matter under this section, the Relevant Building Surveyor may make any inquiries he or she thinks but is not required to give any person a hearing.
  4. The Relevant Building Surveyor must give the Owner and the adjoining Owner Notice in writing of a determination under this section.Works not carried out until protection requirements met
  1. An Owner who is required by the Building Regulations to carry out Protection Work in respect of an adjoining property must not carry our any building work giving the rise of that requirement until:
    • The adjoining Owner agrees or is deemed to agree to the Protection Work; or
    • The matter is determined by the Relevant Building Surveyor under this Part; or
    • In the case of an Appeal to the Building Appeals Board in relation to the matter, the matter is determined by the Building Appeal Board.
  1. The Owner must carry out Protection Work required by the Building Regulations:
    • If the adjoining Owner has agreed to the Protection Work, in accordance with that agreement; or
    • If the Relevant Building Surveyor has made a determination under this Part in respect of the Protection Work, in accordance with that determination; or
    • Of the Building Appeals Board has made a determination under Part 10 in respect of the Protection Work, in accordance with that determination.
92. Adjoining Owner may Inspect Plans

At any time after Notice of intention to commence the carrying our of the building work is given under this Part, the Relevant Building Surveyor must make available to the adjoining Owner, on request, for inspection, without charge, any plans, drawings and specifications of the proposed building work in the possession or control of the Relevant Building Surveyor.

93. Owner to Arrange Insurance Cover
  1. Before commencing any Protection Work in respect of an adjoining property, an Owner must enter into contract of Insurance, in accordance with this Section, against damage by the proposed Protection Work to the adjoining property and against any liabilities likely to be incurred to adjoining occupiers and members of the public during the carrying out of the building work and for a period of 12 months after that building work is completed.
  2. The contract of insurance must be entered into with an Insurer and for an amount:
    • Agreed to by the Owner and the adjoining Owner; or
    • In the event of a dispute, determined by the Building Appeals Board under Part 10.
  3. The Owner must lodge the contract of Insurance with the adjoining Owner before the commencement of the Protection Work.
  4. The contract of insurance must be renewed or extended as often as may be necessary during the carrying out of the building work and for 12 months after that work is completed.
94. Survey of Adjoining Property
  1. Before the commencement of any Protection Work, the Owner or the Owner’s agent in company with the adjoining Owner or the adjoining Owner’s agent, must:
    • Make a full and adequate Survey of the adjoining property; and
    • Record in writing or by any other means any of the parties desires all existing cracks and defects in the adjoining property.
  2. The record must be signed or otherwise acknowledged as an agreed record of the condition of the adjoining property before the commencement of any Protection Work.
  3. The record is admissible in evidence in any proceedings relating to the adjoining property and is evidence of the condition of the adjoining property at the time the record was made.
Protection of Buildings from Subterranean Termites (August 1996)

When building (new buildings or additions) you are required to provide Termite protection.

Complying with building regulations.

Two options are available:

  1. Provide barriers against Termite infestation to protect the whole building
  2. Using Termite resistant materials for all structural elements (partial solution only)

To comply with the National Construction Code, protection should be provided in accordance with the relevant Australian Standards (AS 3660) which describe protection options that may utilise physical barriers, Termite resistant materials or combinations of these options.

Protecting a building from Termite attack
Chemical Barriers

The use of chemical barriers to control Termites in buildings requires licensed operators. Chemical barriers must be complete and continuous and be maintained that way. Good site preparation is needed to ensure uniform distribution of the chemical. Chemical barriers for Termite infestation have come a long way since their introduction and can now be used as an environmentally-friendly alternative.

Physical Barriers

Woven stainless steel mesh – this system consists of a fire woven marine grade stainless steel mesh, which is used as a physical barrier. The mesh is too small for Termites to pass through and too hard for them to chew through.

Graded stone particles – consists of finely graded stone particles, the proportion and dimensions of which are strictly controlled. Graded stone particles can be installed under concrete slabs and suspended floor type systems to form a continuous Termite barrier in conjunction with other Termite barrier systems and building practices. The graded stone must be placed in accordance with the criteria listed in Australian Standard AS3660.1.

Sheet materials – usually formed from galvanised sheet metal 0.5mm thick, the Termite shield delays and impedes the passage of Termites. Ant Caps must be placed at all entry points to a building in order to form an integrated system. In the case of raised floor construction, this would mean shields on top of stumps and within any base structure walling.

Visual Barriers

Alternatively you may elect to use a combination of the above mentioned systems to protect your home.

It should be noted that regardless of the type of system installed, there are no guarantees in keeping a building free from Termite attack. Standards and codes only minimise the risk. As longevity of a building is an essential element for an owner, there are several options of treatments to choose from and must make a concerted effort in determining the most efficient and effective solution for protection against Termite infestation.

In all cases one must ensure that inspections are carried out on a regular basis in order to monitor potential activity of Termites.


The Standard has evolved from AS 3660 – 1993 and contains requirements for both physical and chemical barriers. The following is a brief overview of what is contained in the Standard and it must be stressed that a full understanding of the contents can only be achieved by reading the document. This is particularly important as a number of Sections within the Standard are inter-related and an effective barrier can only be achieved if all relevant provisions are implemented.

AS 3660.1 introduces a number of new concepts in relation to Termite protection. The underlying philosophy of the Standard is to provide a flexible approach to Termite control, in that a number of different types of barriers may be used, provided each barrier interlocks with the adjoining barrier to form a complete system.

The type of Termite barrier installed in a building will need to be carefully considered at the design stage, because most systems will need to be installed during the early stages of construction (Local Building Authorities, including Private Certifiers as appropriate, will also need to approve the system at building approval stage). Issues that will effect the choice of system include:

  • Termite activity in the area
  • type of building design (e.g, suspended slab on ground floor)
  • level of maintenance desire
  • landscaping adjoining the building
Protection of Areas Beneath a Slab

Table 2.1 of AS 3660.1 details the methods that may be used to protect beneath slab-on-ground construction. Part 1 of the Table relates to a concrete slab designed to form an integral part of the Termite barrier and Part 2 relates to a concrete slab not used as a Termite barrier.

The Slab as a Barrier

Part 1 of Table 2.1 applies to a concrete slab, designed and constructed in accordance with AS 2870 to form a part of an acceptable Termite barrier. A slab which does not confirm to AS 2870 cannot be used a barrier.

Penetrations through the slab are required to be protected either by chemical spray or a physical barrier such as Termite-Mesh.

Perimeter Protection

Table 2.2 completes the protection requirements for concrete slabs. The perimeter of a slab on ground is a common route for Termites to gain access to structural members. This are must be protected by one of the options listed in the Table which include chemical application (similar to the Part B application requirements listed in AS 2057) or a physical barrier using graded stone, stainless steel mesh or the exposed edge of the slab.

Slab Edge Exposure
An exposed clean edge of a concrete slab, 75 mm above adjoining ground level is considered to form as acceptable perimeter Termite barrier.

The effectiveness of this approach depends on the external exposed edge of the concrete being free of any imperfections, fixings or render that could conceal Termite activity


AS 3600.1 has introduced specific requirements on Section 2 for Subfloor Ventilation and access to facilitate ongoing inspection and maintenance and to reduce the likelihood of excessive moisture build up which is conducive to Termite activity. The details of these provisions is summarized as follows;

Subfloor Ventilation

Openings of 6,000 m2 per lineal metre are required for both internal and external walls.

Subfloor Access

A minimum clearance of 400 mm between finished ground level and the underside of structural elements is required. A reduced clearance of 150 mm if permitted for the first 2.0 metres on sloping sites.

Termite Shielding
  • Galvanised Iron, minimum thickness 0.50 mm.
  • Zincanneal Steel, minimum thickness 0.50 mm.
  • Sheet Copper, quarter hard, minimum thickness 0.40 mm.
  • Stainless Steel Mesh of a size appropriate to the species.
  • Aluminium Alloy, minimum thickness 0.50 mm.

Suitable for suspended floors.

Shielding is places in walls and above stumps and piers in the subfloor area of a building to create a continuous barrier between the upper levels of the building and the adjoining ground.

The barrier is designed to force any Termites activity (especially within the cavities of the masonry) to the outer edges of the barrier where regular inspection may detect any Termite galleries that may bridge around the barrier.

Masonry Walls:
The shield must span across the entire width of the masonry wall. On the external face (outside face of brick work) of the wall the barrier should be visible within the brick mortar course. On all internal masonry walls the barrier must protrude 40 mm beyond the brick work.

Stumps and Piers:
This shield must be in the form of a cap that extends at least 40 mm beyond the finished face of the stump or pier.


Application (graded stone)

Concrete Slabs:

  • Full under slab protection
  • Partial protection
    • penetrations and control joints
  • Perimeter protection

Suspended Floor:

  • Full protection
  • Stumps and piers
  • Masonry walls

A durable material resembling fly wire in appearance with an appropriate mesh aperture size that will not allow the specific species of Termites to work their way through.

The mesh creates a barrier which forces Termites out to the outer edges of the mesh where they cab be readily detected.

Application (stainless steel mesh)

Concrete Slabs:

  • Full installation.
  • Partial protection –
    • penetration protection
    • construction/control joints protection
    • perimeter protection

Suspended Floors:

  • Galvanised Iron, minimum thickness 0.50 mm.
  • Zincanneal Steel, minimum thickness 0.50 mm.
  • Sheet Copper, quarter hard, minimum thickness 0.40 mm.
  • Stainless Steel mesh of a size appropriate to the species.
  • Aluminium Alloy, minimum thickness 0.50 mm.

Application (chemical soil barrier)

Concrete Slabs:

  • Full protection
  • Perimeter protection

Suspended Floors:

  • Masonry walls
  • Stumps and piers

A durable Notice must be permanently fixed to the building in a prominent location such as a meter box or the like indicating;

  • the method of protection, and;
  • the date of installation of the system, and;
  • where a chemical barrier is used, its life expectancy as listed on the National Registration Authority label, and;
  • the need to maintain and inspect the system on a regular basis.
Requirements for Owner Builders (Applicable for Domestic Building Work)
The following information is intended to assist those who intend to carry out, manage or arrange building work as an Owner/Builder.

As an Owner Builder you need to be aware of the following information:

  1. Any non exempt* person who undertakes building work on your behalf to a value exceeding $12,000 (inclusive of materials) is required to be a Registered Building Practitioner and to carry the appropriate Insurance. The Owner Builder is required to provide to the Relevant Building Surveyor the name, category/class and Building Practitioners’ number of all persons who undertake building work where the value exceeds $12,000. (Section 136(2) Building Act 1993.
  2. An Owner Builder is required to enter into a written Domestic Building Contract with certain non exempt* tradespersons including Carpenters, Bricklayers, Concreters, roof tilers, cabinet makers/kitchen companies, Re-stumpers, re-roofers and bathroom renovators where the value of their building works is in excess of $12,000. These tradespersons are required to be Registered Building Practitioners with the Building Practitioners Board and provide the appropriate Warranty Insurance for their component of the building work.
  3. If an Owner Builder sells the building within 6.0 years of the date of completion, that is, the issue of an Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection in respect of this building work, they are required to:
    • obtain an inspection Report for the building work carried out (prepared by a Prescribed Practitioner not more than six months before entering into a contract to sell the building) listing the details of the building work, conditions , defects, incomplete work, etc and,
    • The Owner is required to take out an appropriate Insurance Policy for the benefit of the purchaser. (Obtain the Prescribed Warranty Insurance cover for the building work, which will cover the time remaining of the six years, which commences from the date of completion of the building work).
  4. An Owner Builder must have the necessary knowledge and experience to act as an Owner/Builder.
  5. An Owner Builder must not have any other person apart from him/her self to supervise or manage the building work.
  6. After the issue of a Building Permit, the Owner Builder is required to notify the Relevant Building Surveyor in writing within 14 days after any change in the name or address of the Owner or of any Builder carrying out the building work.
  7. After the issue of a Building Permit, an Owner Builder is responsible to notify the Relevant Building Surveyor without delay after the completion of each mandatory notification stage of that work.
  8. If an Owner Builder sells the building within 6.0 years of the date of issue of an Occupancy Permit or the Certificate of Final Inspection, the Contract of Sale must include details of the aforementioned Inspection Report and Insurance Policy. As well, an Insurance Policy in the name of the Purchaser (in the case of an auction – subject to completion of the name of the successful Purchaser) indemnifying the Purchaser against all losses and damage during the period of insurance which result from:
    • any breach of the implied warranties;
    • alternative accommodation, removal and / or storage costs reasonably associated and necessarily incurred as a result of any event under (i);
    • all domestic building work was carried out in a proper and workmanlike manner;
    • all materials used in the domestic building work were good and suitable for the purpose they were used, and unless otherwise stated, those materials were new; and
    • all domestic building work was carried out in accordance with all laws and legal requirements.
    • all domestic building work was carried out in accordance with all laws and legal requirements.
*Exempt Contractors List

Pursuant to Regulation 4 of the Domestic Building Contracts Regulations 1996, the following works are exempt from the requirements of registration and Warranty Insurance under the Building Act 1993, where they are undertaken under a single contract only (that is in isolation from other types of work):

Attaching external fixtures, Plumbing and drainage work, Electrical work, glazing, installing floor coverings, insulating, painting, plastering, wall and floor tiling.

It should be also noted that Plumbers and Electricians are required to be licensed under separate legislation and are required to provide Compliance Certificates for all work undertaken, or over $750 for plumbing.

From 14 June 2005 new domestic ‘Owner-Builder’ laws are introduced in Victoria. An Owner-Builder is defined as a person who constructs or renovates a domestic building, on his or her own land, and who is not in the business of building.

From 14 June 2005 ‘Owner-Builders’:

  • Must obtain a Certificate of Consent from the Building Practitioners Board in order to obtain a Building Permit to carry out domestic building work valued over $16,000;
  • May only obtain Building Permits for a single Dwelling and associated work on a single property in any three-year period;
  • Must reside and continue to reside, or intend to reside in the single Dwelling.

In order to obtain a Certificate of Consent, all Owner-Builders must contact the Building Practitioners Board, and make the relevant application. You can contact the Building Practitioners Board (Building Commission) on 9285 6400 or otherwise see their website www.buildingcommission.com.au for more details.


The information provided regarding the requirements for Owner Builders are intended to be used as a guide or interpretation only and cannot be used for legal purposes.


Smoke Alarms/Detectors
Requirements for Smoke Alarms/Detectors
Smoke Alarms must be installed in:
  1. Class 1a Buildings (Dwellings)
  2. Class 2, 3 and 4 Buildings being Units, Townhouses and residential parts of buildings
  3. Smoke Alarms must be connected to the consumer mains power (hard wired) where consumer power is supplied to the building, and are supported with an emergency back-up battery.
Location – Class 1a, 2, 3 and 4 Buildings
Smoke Alarms must be installed in a Class 1a Building on or near the ceiling in:
  1. any storey containing bedrooms
    • between each part of the Dwelling containing bedrooms and the remainder of the Dwelling; and
    • where bedrooms are serviced by a hallway, in that hallway, and
  2. any other storey not containing bedrooms.


Explanatory Information:
1. How does a Smoke Alarm work?

There are two types of Smoke Alarms.

1.1 Photoelectric:

This type of Smoke Alarm uses a light source and photocell. As the smoke enters the detection chamber it interferes with the light beam which in turn causes the alarm to sound.

1.2 Lonisation:

A small amount of radioactive material is used to create an electrical current which it travels through ionoised air. When smoke enters the detection chamber it impedes the flor of current and causes the alarm to sound.

2. Location of Smoke Alarms.

When deciding on the position of Smoke Alarms it is important to remember that they are intended to detect smoke before it reaches the sleeping occupants of a building.
The ensuring alarm is designed to wake the occupants and give them time to evacuate the building.

2.1 Protection of Sleeping Areas in Class 1a Buildings

The Regulations require that Smoke Alarms be located “between each area containing bedrooms and the remainder of the Dwelling”. In some Dwellings the bedrooms are located in a common area and connected by a hallway. In this instance the Alarm should be located in the common hallway. It is a requirement of the Electrical Commission that Smoke Alarms be positioned to be within 1.5m of all bedrooms.

2.2 Location of the Smoke Alarm on other Storeys

A Smoke Alarm is also required on each other storey that is not already provided with a Smoke Alarm. It should be noted that Smoke Alarms are required to be installed in other storeys even if those storeys consist of only car parking, bathrooms, laundries and the like.

The favoured location for this alarm will be in the path of travel people will most likely take to evacuate the building. This will ensure an alarm will be raised before smoke makes the common exit path impassable. e.g. if the bedrooms are on the first floor, then an alarm should be positioned near the area of the inter connecting stair at ground level.

If the other storey is not connected to the remainder of the building (for instance a ground floor garage) then the alarm should be centrally located in the lower area.

2.3 Installation of Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms should be installed on or near the ceiling with special care being taken to avoid dead air spaces.

A dead air space is an area in which trapped hot air will prevent smoke from reaching the alarm. This space generally occurs at the apex of cathedral ceilings, the corner junction of walls and ceilings, between exposed floor joists, etc.

If it is impractical to mount the Smoke Alarm on the ceiling then it may be located on the wall. The recommended position is between 300mm and 500mm off the ceiling.

The distance from the apex of a cathedral ceiling to the top of the alarm should be between 500 mm and 1500 mm.

3. Nuisance Alarms

Smoke Alarms are extremely sensitive and may detect smoke and moisture created by common household activities (such as burnt toast or steam from a bathroom).

Accordingly, to reduce the likelihood of nuisance alarms, the Smoke Alarm should not be located near cooking appliances and bathrooms. However, if it is necessary to locate alarms in these positions, an ionisation type alarm is more suitable near bathrooms, while a photoelectric alarm may be used near cooking appliances.

Swimming Pools and Spa Fencing

Pool and Spa owners in Victoria are required by law to comply with government standards and regulations, including the installation and maintainance of pool fences, self-closing and self-latching gates and other safety measures covering the entire pool enclosure area – no matter when the swimming pool or spa was built/installed.

What is a Pool or Spa?

Swimming pool means any excavation or structure containing water and used primarily for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa.

The definition of a swimming pool does not include a dam, or tank used on properties, nor watercourses such as streams or rivers nor ornamental ponds or fountains. Paddling pools and domestic spa baths emptied after each use are also excluded.

Do I Need a Building Permit for a Swimming Pool or Spa?

It is essential that all work done in a pool enclosure area is constructed properly. That is why, when putting in a pool, spa, safety fence or barrier, or renewing a safety fence, a Building Permit must be obtained. This Permit must include details of the type and location of the pool and its barriers, fences, gates, doors, windows, latches/catches, self-closing devices and permanent flyscreens.

A Building Permit is required for a pool or spa exceeding 300mm in depth.
This also applies to above ground pools and indoor pools. A pool safety fence or barrier is required before the swimming pool is filled with water.

If you own a property on which a swimming pool or spa exists and it was built/installed before 8th April 1991, it is a requirement that a safety fence or barrier be constructed to isolate the pool area.

Safety Fencing for Swimming Pools and Spas

Under controls in the Building Regulations 2006, it is a requirement that all swimming pools and spas have a pool safety barrier to ensure pool safety. However, there are different requirements as to how the barrier is constructed depending on when the pool was built.

ie. If your pool or spa was constructed before 8th April 1991, or if your pool or spa was constructed after 8th April 1991.

Specific Pool Safety fencing must comply with Australian Standard AS 1926-1993, which requires a minimum 1.2 meter high fence; with gates that open outwards, fitted with a self-closing and self-latching device, with the latch a minimum 1.5 meters above ground level, and to which provides no footholds.
Your typical boundary fences can only be used when a child cannot gain access under, over or through the fence, from the outside of the pool enclosure. Non-manufactured and Standards approved fences must be a minimum 1.5 metres high. A Dwelling can be used as a barrier, or part there of, however all doors and windows leading into the pool area must be child-resistant.

Note: sheds, garages, barbecues, clothes lines and the like should not be contained within the fenced area, nor within 1.2 metres externally. Trees, garages or the like should not overhang the area or provide footholds to facilitate climbing over the fence.

Constructed after 8 April 1991

The National Construction Code (NCC) requires that all pools constructed after 8th April 1991 must comply with Part 3.9.3 (BCA) or have barriers that are installed to comply with Australian Standard 1926, Part 1 Fencing for Swimming Pools and Spas.

The Regulations provide a number of options for the location of pool safety fencing. One option consists of enclosing the pool with safety fencing, completly seperating the pool area from any other part of the allotment and any appurtenant buildings. Alternatively the pool area can be protected with complying barriers that may include:

  • Boundary Fencing
  • Exisitng Dwelling

All these would need to be checked for compliance with the NCC and AF 1926.1. Safety Fencing must be located in accordance with one of the options shown below.

  • The effective height of fencing must be not less than 1.2m

Retaining walls or other similar barriers, which form part of the safety fencing, must comply with the following:

The clearance between the bottom of the fencing and the finished ground level must not be more than 100 mm.

  • Projections or indentations on the outside surface of the fencing must not exceed the dimensions shown above.
  • The clear gap between adjacent vertical members must not be more than 100 mm provided that any horizontal rails are more than 900mm apart.

Gates and Fittings

  • Gates must swing outwards from the pool area.
  • Gates must be fitted with a self-closing device that will return the gate to the closed position and operate the latching device
  1. from any position; and
  2. from a stationary start without the application of a manual force (ie do not need to push gate shut); and
  3. which cannot be re-opened without manual release; and
  4. located and shielded as shown above.