Council approvals are required for all buildings and when there is a change of use, an approval must be re-applied for. There are different levels involved in a ‘change of use’ application. An example of a ‘material change of use’ would involved the transfer from office use or retail use to medical use. If the tenancy or space has had previous medical use it is considered to be a complying development and may not require DA approval.
Without council approval, insurances may be considered invalid in the case structural damage occurring. Most builders would be considered liable if they built something that was without 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 ensure all building works are according to specifications and codes. Each trade will submit a certificate stating that their work complies with the code. At the completion of construction the Certifier will have a checklist of certificates he needs to receive and will provide an Occupation Certificate, allowing you to occupy the premises for the intended purpose.