Unauthorised building works

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Unauthorised building works are any building works that were undertaken without the correct planning, building and/or plumbing approvals and can include patios, sheds, brick fences, retaining walls as well as building alterations or additions.

If you carry out work without a permit, you may be required to re-do the work and obtain the required approvals or remove/demolish the illegal works. Rectifying illegal building works can be costly and there may also be increased fees if you are issued with an infringement notice.

Many building works require approval before they can begin. However, not all works require approval. For more information, please see  Do I need approval 

 Planning approval cannot be issued after works  have been carried out without approval.  Breaches of planning laws are criminal offences which can lead to convictions carrying a criminal record.

How to deal with unauthorised building works on your property

If you have undertaken building work without prior approval, or purchased a property with unauthorised structure/s, you will need to submit a Building Information Certificate (BIC) Application to obtain approval.

  • In certain circumstances the Council may give favourable consideration to a BIC application which may allow an unauthorised structure to remain.
  • You will need to be able to clearly demonstrate that the unauthorised development meets the relevant and applicable planning objectives and development controls.
  • Applying for a BIC for unauthorised work does not guarantee approval and Council may issue a Notice/Order for the demolition of the unauthorised building or portion.
Report it

If you believe that someone is conducting illegal building works, has built an illegal structure, or is illegally using a premises you can report and issue online on our Request a Service page.

Investigating and Penalties

Once Council becomes aware of unauthorised building works we undertake an investigation before considering taking regulatory action, which may include issuing penalty notices, orders or undertaking legal proceedings. On the spot fines up to $3000 can be applied.

Penalty notices

Penalty notices may be issued to an individual or a corporation for unauthorised developments and/or works not in accordance with a current development consent.

Order to demolish, alter, repair or remove the unauthorised structure.

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 we can issue an Order requiring the building owner to demolish, alter, repair or remove the unauthorised structure.


Legal Proceedings

A person undertaking building works without first obtaining approval can be prosecuted, for such offences as:

  • using a premises without approval to do so (unlawful use)
  • carrying out works without the correct approvals
  • not complying with a development approval
  • not complying with a building approval
  • environmental breaches.

We can commence legal procedures for either a Court Order to demolish the structure or we can seek the imposition of a penalty of up to $1.1million.

Original order not complied with

We may also issue a further penalty notice of $1500 (for an individual) or $3000 (for a corporation) when our original Order, issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, has not been complied with.