Planning and building FAQs

Planning permits and building permits operate under different legislation. They are often related to each other.

  • You need a building permit for most commercial, industrial, and residential development. You can organise a building permit through a private building surveyor.
  • A planning permit is a legal document that gives permission for a use or development on a site.

Continue reading for more frequently asked questions or contact our team using one of the below methods for more information:


Phone: 1300 653 356

Online: Contact Form

In person: Planning Counter at 1230 Nepean Highway, Cheltenham

Book a virtual appointment

Before you start

When do I need a Planning Permit?

If you are considering any kind of new building, constructing a fence, erecting a pergola or changing the use of a building, you may require a planning permit.

Certain uses, such as constructing businesses, gyms or restaurants may also require a planning permit.

How much does it cost to apply for a Planning Permit?

Fees for planning permits are set out in the current Planning Regulations.

Fees will vary depending on:

  • the proposed development of the site, and the estimated cost of works involved
  • the proposed use/s of the site
  • whether you are amending an existing application.

Download a copy of our fee schedule(PDF, 1MB).

How long does it take to get a planning permit?

The timeframes for planning decisions vary case by case and often depend on the complexity of an application. VicSmart permits are designed to be straight forward and will be processed in 10 business days once all issues have been resolved. For regular planning permits it is best to discuss with the planning team and gauge the typical timeframes for your permit type.

When do I need a building permit?

You need a building permit before you start any building work including:

  • external work - extensions, verandas, garages and second storeys
  • internal work - windows or walls to be moved or altered
  • any new building
  • demolition of a building
  • change the use of a building - from warehouse to dwelling
  • a fence
  • construction of a swimming pool or spa
  • minor structures such as carports, roller doors, and sheds.

How do I get a building permit?

You need to contact a private building surveyor to get a building permit. Here’s a list of Registered Building Surveyors or search Registered Building Practitioners for a builder and draftsperson to assist with your needs. 

For independence and neutrality, we are unable to provide details or recommend any particular draughtsperson or architect.

What is a planning scheme?

A planning scheme sets out policies and requirements for the use, development and protection of land. There is a planning scheme for every council in Victoria. For more detailed information on the Kingston Planning Scheme, and how it operates, please refer to the Planning Scheme User Guide.

You are also able to read the full Kingston Planning Scheme or view a hard copy of this at the Planning Counter at 1230 Nepean Highway, Cheltenham.

Do I need a Planning Permit for an extension on my house?

You may need a Planning Permit for an extension to house or unit if it exceeds the allowable size and density limits in the relevant planning zone.

Do I need a Planning Permit for a Dependent Person's Unit (Granny Flat)?

To meet the definition of a dependent person's unit you must be proposing a movable building on the same lot as an existing dwelling. The building must be used to provide accommodation for a person dependent on a resident of the existing dwelling.

Provided your proposal meets this definition, and it is the only dependent person's unit on the lot, it is likely you won’t require a Planning Permit.

When do I need a Planning Permit to construct one (1) house on my land or extend my existing home?

You will need a Planning Permit to:

  • Construct one (1) dwelling (house) on a lot less than 300m2 in area
  • Extend a dwelling (house) on a lot less than 300m2 in area.

This is in accordance with Clause 32.08 (General Residential Zone) of the Kingston Planning Scheme.

After you apply

What are Condition 1 Plans?

In many cases, Planning Permits and Approvals are issued subject to conditions which may require changes to the original plans submitted for assessment.

These changes are usually required under Condition 1 of the Planning Permit. When the amended plans are submitted in accordance with the Planning Permit, they are generally referred to as 'Condition 1 Plans'.

Can I amend my endorsed plans?

You can apply to amend previously endorsed plans by either a:

  • Secondary Consent Amendment (minor modifications to endorsed plans that do not breach any conditions of the permit or what the permit allows)
  • Amendment pursuant to Section 72 of the Planning and Environment Act (can include major changes and re-advertising of the proposal).

For more information on which method is more appropriate for you, please see Change my Planning Permit.

I have a Planning Permit that is about to expire - can I get an extension of time?

You can apply to extend a planning permit. An extension is not automatically granted.

For more information on applying for an extension, please visit the Extend my planning permit page. 

When do Planning Applications go to Council Meeting?

Your planning application may need to be presented at a formal council meeting for a decision.

Common scenarios that may go to Council Meeting include:

  • large and complex development applications
  • controversial developments
  • applications that are not in accordance with local or state planning policies
  • applications that are of interest to councillors
  • applications located within a Green Wedge Zone.

What happens at council meetings?

If your planning application goes to a council meeting for a decision, it will be placed on an Ordinary Council Meeting Agenda.

Our recommendation will be considered by all councillors at this meeting, and a decision will be made.

We will issue a decision in accordance with the minutes from the Ordinary Council Meeting.

Your property

What is a certificate of title

A certificate of title is a documented record of interests and rights affecting your land. It is issued by the Registrar of Titles to the person entitled to its possession which can be the registered proprietor, mortgagee or charge. Anyone is able to obtain a copy of title from the Titles Office.

The information included in a Certificate of Title confirms the location and dimensions of your land and any obligation affecting what can be done on or with the land.

A full copy of title will include a diagram or plan of the land and will identity any easement, restrictions, encumbrances, caveats and notice where these may exist.

What is a Section 173 Agreement?

A section 173 Agreement is an agreement made under section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The agreement is made with an owner of land and Council (The Responsible Authority). The agreement usually sets out conditions or restrictions in relation to the development or use of the land. A section 173 Agreement is a legal contract and is registered on the Certificate of Title, ensuring it can be enforced similarly to that of a Planning Permit condition or Planning Scheme requirement.

How big is my block of land?

To find out the size of your land look at our property information page.

Enter your address into the online tool and it will give you details about your property.

What is in the easement located on my property?

Details of easements on your land are included in the Certificate of Title, and associated Plan of Subdivision. Common easements include drainage and sewerage.

There is a restrictive covenant on my title. How do I remove it?

A Planning Permit is required for the removal of a restrictive covenant. All beneficiaries of the covenant must be notified. If a beneficiary objects to the removal, we must refuse the application as specified under Section 60(5) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

How can I find the zoning for my land?

Zoning controls for the use of land are set out in the Kingston Planning Scheme.

Search the property address on the Property Information page to find out your planning zone and any relevant planning overlays.

You can get further zoning information from the State Government's online planning map.

Does my land have any overlays on it?

Overlays apply in addition to the zoning and any other provisions of the scheme.

Overlays can relate to building heights, setbacks, vegetation and heritage controls.

Overlay information can be obtained from the State Government's online planning map.

My land is in a Special Building Overlay or Land Subject to Inundation Overlay. What does this mean?

If your land is in a Special Building Overlay (SBO) or Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO) you are affected by a flood overlay.

Because of this it is likely that you will require a Planning Permit for any buildings and works.

For more information on these flood overlays, please refer to our Land Subject To Flooding page.

Objecting to planning application

I have lodged an objection to a planning application - What is the process from here?

You will receive a letter advising that your objection has been received.

For more information on the objection process, please refer to objection to a planning application.

I think a development is being constructed illegally, does not meet planning permit conditions or does not match the plans that I viewed. What can I do?

Please contact our City Development Department on 1300 653 356 so we can investigate further.


I want to run a business from my home. Do I need approvals?

If you are running a business from home, you must meet the requirements set out in the of the Home Based Business Ordinance of the Kingston Planning Scheme. If you do not meet these requirements, you may need a Planning Permit.

If you change the classification of a building or part of a building you may need a building permit prior to commencing works or occupying the building or space. Please contact the building team on 1300 653 356 for further information.


Do I need a Planning Permit for Advertising Signage?

Advertising signage may require a Planning Permit. For more information on Planning Permit requirements for advertising signage(PDF, 40KB) in Kingston, and please refer to our Commercial and Industrial Permit page

Glossary of Terms

Full Street Address - Allocated by Council to describe the location of a property. The full street address consists of a number, a road name and a locality or suburb.

Title - The document issued by Land Registry registering a proprietor's land ownership details and it has a unique volume / folio number. A title can relate to one parcel or many parcels of land.

Plan Number - The number allocated by Land Registry for plans created to subdivide, consolidate or define land parcels (e.g. PS302468, PC356219, TP1029).

Volume and Folio number - The reference number allocated to a title by Land Registry when the title has been created. It is found on the title document.

Lot and Plan Number - The number allocated to a parcel of land created on a plan of subdivision or title plan, such as, Lot 1 PS306248. The map service shows many lot and plan numbers for parcels.

Restrictive Covenants - Restricts the land owners from types of use or development of their land. (E.g. Construction of one or more dwelling on an allotment; Use of land or Types of building materials that can be used.)

Section 173 Agreements - A legal agreement between the land owner and the responsible authority made under the provisions of the Planning & Environment Act 1987 that sets out any conditions or restrictions on the use and/or development of land. This agreement along with restrictive covenants are binding to both the present and subsequent owners of the property.

Property - The description applied to land under common occupation particularly for the purposes of rating, billing or habitation. Properties are typically described by street address or a 'rate assessment number' allocated by an authority, e.g. local government or utility. A property can consist of one parcel (e.g. a suburban house-block); many parcels (e.g. a farm); or part of a parcel (e.g. a shop in a development). Council's view of property is usually seen as being definitive and is described by a Council Property Number.

Lot and Plan Type description - The points below show the abbreviations and descriptions of plan types.

CP - Plan of Consolidation

CS - Cluster Subdivision/Plan

LP - Lodged Plan

PC - Plan of Consolidation

PS - Plan of Subdivision

RP - Registered Plan

TP - Title Plan

SP - Strata Plan