Somerset Regional Council, being a rural setting with a number of small towns, provides people with the opportunity to build in one of the beautiful small towns or on one of the many of rural type blocks. Land is available in all sizes, and provides challenges in building near one of the lakes, rainforest or mountainous ranges.
Development permits must be obtained for the erection, re-erection, alteration and/or addition to any building in the Council region. Council officers are happy to discuss your project with you. A list of requirements and the various forms can be posted to you or collected from one of our offices.
When do I need a building permit?
If you are building, repairing, altering, underpinning, moving or demolishing a building or structure, then you will need a building permit.
General building information can be found here.
A building permit is also known as a building approval, building application, building certification or building development permit. Building work associated with dwellings, sheds (including farm sheds), carports, garages, pools, retaining walls, shops, warehouses etc require a building permit before works commence. Other types of work that falls under building work is demolition or the removal of a building, restumping of buildings or the change of a building classification because of its change in usage. This style of work will also require a building permit in place before and work commences.
A building permit is issued by Council once the plans for the building work complies with the Building Code of Australia and applicable Australian Standards. It is important to check if any other types of approvals are required, including planning approval or plumbing approval, prior to a building permit.
Council has information sheets to assist with most building enquiries.
Lodging your application
Applications can be lodged at Council Customer Services Centres in Esk, Kilcoy or Lowood. Alternatively, you can lodge the application electronically via email, email@example.com, or via mail to PO Box 117, Esk Qld 4312.
Your application will only be accepted if it is made with the correct application form, has plans or reports and the applicable fee has been paid.
The application form DA Form 2 – Building Work Details can be found here.
Building, plumbing and drainage fees can be found here. If you wish to pay your building application fee without attending a Council office email your documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. Council's staff will then send you a specific payment reference number (Please do not reuse these reference numbers for other lodgements). Direct Deposit transactions have been discontinued.
Documents with building applications
Your application should have enough documentation to show us what is proposed. The level of documentation will differ from proposal to proposal. As a minimum your application should be lodged with a set of drafted or professionally drawn plans.
Some types of construction require design documents from an engineer or building consultant. When this occurs a Building Act design form should be completed by the designer.
Form 15 – Compliance Certificate for Building Design or Specification can be found here.
Building approvals and inspections
Once your application is accepted we will assess the proposal and respond to you either seeking further information or with the building permit to commence work. This process takes on average between five to seven working days.
Once you have your permit you are reminded to become familiar with the conditions that have been applied.
There are mandatory inspection stages. Either call us or send us an email to book your inspection, but please give us at least 24 hours’ notice. If you want your design engineer to perform an inspection of an aspect of your building work you must first obtain the approval to do so from the building certifier. Engineer inspection certificates (Form 16’s) should be forwarded to Council before continuing with the building work.
Form 16—Inspection Certificate/Aspect Certificate/QBCC Licensee Aspect Certificate can be found here.
A standard condition that is always applied to building approval is one relating to how long you have to complete your building works. Time frames vary depending on the type of approval and what’s been approved. If you require further time to complete your building project then you can apply to extend an active building permit by application. Please complete the application form and pay the relevant fee and lodge it via email or over the counter at a Council office.
Swimming pools and spas
All new swimming pools and spas require a building permit before works can commence.
Queensland’s pool safety laws require pool and spa owners to construct and maintain a compliant safety fence around the pool or spa. The requirement for a complaint safety fence applies to all pools regardless of when they were constructed. Existing pool owners wanting to modify or upgrade the pool fence may also require a building permit. Furthermore, owners may require a pool safety certificate to enter into a contract to sell a property that contains a swimming pool or spa.
It is an important point worth noting that in Queensland lockable lids on spas or removable ladders from pools do not alleviate the need for an approval and a compliant safety fence.
Information on pools can be found here.
Information on fencing requirements can be found here.
The pool safety certificate form for approved existing pools can be found here.
Queensland Government pool safety information can be found here.
Queensland Building and Construction Commission pool safety information can be found here.
Pools that are no longer serviceable or in a usable state may be removed from site. If you wish to remove your pool you will need to advice Council that this has occurred. For further information please click here.
If you would like to live temporarily on-site while your home is under construction, you must obtain a temporary dwelling permit from Council.
You must have a building permit in place for your permanent dwelling to be eligible for a temporary dwelling permit. Your temporary living arrangement needs to be to an acceptable standard, with adequate fire safety, potable water, facilities for personal hygiene, refuse and satisfactory external appearance.
If you wish to apply for an extension to your existing camping permit, this must be completed before the permit lapses. It is important to keep the temporary dwelling permit current as lapsed permits cannot be extended or reactivated.
Siting for building work or siting relaxations
Sometimes what you are wanting to build may not conform with the pre-defined setback distances from front, side or rear boundaries. In these instances, you can seek a relaxation to these provisions.
This assessment cannot be decided by your chosen building certifier or private certifier, but is a referral application to Council. The form LG Concurrence Agency Referral Design and Siting – QDC Parts 1.1, 2 & 3 can be found here.
It is always beneficial that you contact us to discuss a proposal that involves an alternate siting relaxation before formally lodging a request for referral. It is important that you identify whether the relaxation you are seeking is under the Queensland Development Code or the Planning Scheme. A referral is part of the building permit process, but is not a permit to start work.
Information on the Queensland Development Code can be found here.
Information on siting relaxation under the Planning Scheme can be found here.
Planning scheme requirements impacting on building works
Somerset has unique and special features and Council has considered that some of these are to be either protected from impacts, or have impacts minimised. Some examples of these are garage, shed or carport size restrictions; maximum numbers of garages, sheds or carports; increased setback distances to boundaries; outbuildings on vacant lots and other land use issues.
To ensure your building proposal is not impacted by such provisions, it is necessary for an assessment to be made of your proposed development plans against the provisions of Council’s Planning Scheme. This process should be performed by your chosen building certifier or private certifier and will need to be documented as compliant, or that an approval has been obtained, before a building permit can be approved.
You are encouraged to contact Council’s planning section to discuss your proposal early to find out whether this applies to you.
Information on Planning Scheme Applications and the Planning Scheme can be found here.
Removal dwelling amenity and aesthetic application
Bringing an existing house onto your property requires a referral application to Council for consideration of the amenity and aesthetics impact of the proposal.
Council will conduct an inspection of the existing house at its current location to assess whether the dwelling to be transported will be in keeping with the amenity and style of its new location. Council will then issue a report setting out conditions associated with the specific proposal.
As of 1 July 2019, performance bonds on the removal of dwellings are no longer required, but this decision does not remove the need for an inspection to be conducted.
To lodge a request for an amenity and aesthetics decision, please review the removal dwelling information sheet, complete the application form and pay the applicable fee.
Information on the removal of dwellings can be found here.
Council’s amenity and aesthetics referral of a removal dwelling application form can be found here.
Information for private certifiers
Building approvals issued by private certifiers can be accepted hard copy via mail or over the counter. Lodgements are accepted electronically via email@example.com.
Lodgements will only be accepted and acknowledged if evidence of the paid archiving fee is included. It is the private certifier’s obligation to ensure the approval has been received by Council. If an acknowledgment has not been received, then further action is required by the private certifier to ensure the customer is not inconvenienced. Final documents can be lodged in similar fashion.
Development information can be obtained via Council e-Services portal or via the lodgement of a Form 19 request.