Council approvals are required for all buildings and for a fitout in an existing building when there is a change of use. An example of a ‘material change of use’ could be from office use to medical use or retail use to medical use. If the tenancy or space has had continuous previous medical use it is considered to be a complying development and may not require DA approval.
Without council approval your insurance may not be valid in case of a fire or other natural disaster. Most builders would be considered liable if they built something that had no council approval.
Approvals come in two stages:
Development Approval – this is to establish that the council town planning codes allow this type of use; there are sufficient car spaces, disable access is satisfied as so on.
Construction Certificate – this is to demonstrate how the building works will be carried out and that it complies with the National Construction Code of Australia.
During construction a Building Certifier is engaged to make sure all the building works are built according to specifications and codes. Each trade will submit a certificate stating that their work complied with the code. At the completion of construction the Certifier will have a checklist of certificates he needs to receive. He will then provide you with an Occupation Certificate, which allows you to occupy the premises for the purposes you intended