New law. You could go to jail for building without a building permit.
Prior to 24 May 2017, if you build or make renovations to a property without the required building permits, you could be fined or asked to replace/demolish the building/addition, or both.
From 24 May 2017, section 16B of the Building Act (1993) has been amended to include new penalties.
Now, anyone who is in the business of building [including architects, landowners and builders] connected to a project the value of which exceeds the prescribed amount and that has no building permit, can face up to 5 years of jail, or fines of up to $93,000.
A company associated with an illegal renovation [including demolition] can be fined up to $466,000.
This amendment applies to any type of construction or alteration that requires a building permit to be obtained – which generally includes any major structural alteration, or a range of small jobs including adding a window, moving a wall, adding a pergola etc.
Implications for Landowners
A landowner is specifically prohibited from permitting building work to be done on their land without a building permit and/or in breach of the Act, the Regulations or the permit.
It is a defence for the land owner if a building practitioner or architect has been engaged to carry out the building work.
The penalties of this amendment of this law will not apply to projects completed before 24 May 2017 – but you could still be subject to prosecution. If you need assistance in this area, we can help you.
Implications for Builders and other professionals
Building practitioners and architects are specifically prohibited from carrying out building work without a building permit and/or in breach of the Act, the Regulations or the permit.
When engaged to carry out building work, building practitioners and architects must ensure that a building permit has been issued and is in force for that building work, and that the work complies with the Act, the regulations and the permit.