About property development

Development in Tasmania

Development in Tasmania may include the following.

  • The process of buying or selling buildings and/or land.
  • The process of improving building(s) and/or land. For example by renovating a property or building a fence.
  • Arranging for new buildings to be built or demolished. For example building a new house involves designing a house, drawing up plans, application processes and engaging professionals.
  • Changing the use of a property or structure. For example a house becomes a Bed & Breakfast.

There are planning, building and plumbing rules that may apply to a development project. These rules are relevant to:

  • what you can do on a property
  • what you can build, how it must be built and who can do the work
  • where you can build.

The rules may differ depending on where the property is located. For those properties that fall under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, you can use the Guided Enquiry service to help identify which rules apply to your proposed project.

Development process

The development process includes two separate processes: the planning process and the building process.

  • The planning process regulates how land is used and developed. The planning approval process considers all applications against state planning laws and the relevant planning scheme
    • The Act that applies is the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.
    • Planning schemes set out policies and requirements for the use, development, protection and conservation of land within the council area. Read more about Planning Schemes.
    • Planning approval may be required for your proposed project.
  • The building process relates to the building and plumbing rules for construction, alteration or demolition of a structure.
    • These rules are set out in the Building Act 2016.
    • The Building Act 2016 takes a risk-based approach to building approvals. There are four categories for building and plumbing work and the type of building, demolition and plumbing work you are undertaking will determine whether you need to apply for a permit.
    • Building, plumbing and other approvals may be required prior to any work commencing on the property.

The planning process tells you if you are allowed to do it.

The building process will tell you how you can do it.


Planning considerations

  • What happens if you don’t own the land, e.g. Crown or Council Land?
  • Is your property in a hazardous area, e.g. bushfire-prone area?
  • Is your property affected by heritage considerations, e.g. Tasmanian Heritage listed properties?
  • Do any specific planning codes or zones apply to what you want to do with a property?
  • Are you planning to operate a business? What parking, signage etc considerations are there?
  • Will your business prepare or serve food, e.g. a mobile food van?

Learn more about the planning process.

Building and plumbing

Building and Plumbing considerations

  • How large will the building be?
  • Do you plan on connecting to Council or TasWater infrastructure?
  • Are there any other buildings on the property?
  • What category of work does the work fall into?
  • Do you intend to undertake the work as an 'owner-builder'?
  • Is the proposed plumbing work required to be completed by a licensed professional?

Learn more about the building, demolition and plumbing process.

Who is involved

Who is involved in planning

As the owner/developer for a project you may need to talk to:

  • your local Council Planner
  • a Building Designer or Architect
  • a Bushfire Hazard Practitioner
  • other professionals.

Learn more about the roles involved in the planning process.

Who is involved in building and plumbing work

As the owner/developer for a project you will typically need to:

  • engage a Building Designer or Architect
  • engage a Building Surveyor
  • engage a Builder
  • engage a Plumber.

Learn more about the roles involved in building and plumbing work

Ready to start an enquiry? Select the Start enquiry button at the top of the page to get started.

Approved plans


Why do I need approval?

You may need to apply for approval before you start a project, if work is started before approval is granted it may be deemed illegal.

Approvals before work is started

A property owner is responsible for determining which approvals are required and ensuring that approvals are in place before any work is started. For those properties that fall under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, you can use the Guided Enquiry service to help identify which approvals may be required for your proposed project. Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Approvals before moving in

A property owner must obtain appropriate approvals and have the required documentation in place before moving into a finished development. In Tasmania this is the certificate of completion.

You will require this certificate when work has been completed in order to demonstrate that all of the relevant approvals have been received and that the work complies with the law. A certificate of completion will only be issued if the council is satisfied that:

  • if required, an occupancy permit has been issued
  • a certificate of final inspection has been provided, and
  • all conditions placed on the work have been met.

What if I don’t apply for approval?

If your project requires approval, and you don’t apply for it before starting your project, the work done may be considered illegal work.

Illegal building work includes new structures and additions, as well as changing the use of a building, such as changing a garage into an additional living space.

If work has been started or completed without approval a Building Notice or Order will be issued to the current owner which will result in demolition or the commencement of a ‘substantial compliance’ process.

When this happens the following steps or fees may apply:

  • plans must be submitted, drawn by a licensed Building Designer or Architect
  • a Planning Permit must be applied for
  • a Building Surveyor Assessment must be completed
  • Building and Plumbing Permits must be applied for
  • inspections by a licensed professional must be completed.

Existing or outstanding approvals

If you are looking to purchase a property and want to know what approvals may be outstanding, you can apply for a 337 Certificate from the council where the property is located.

The purpose of a 337 Certificate is to make a prospective property owner aware of things including whether:

  • Completion Certificates for building or plumbing work have been issued
  • an occupancy permit has been issued
  • any outstanding compliance notices or orders exist.

Councils can assist prospective owners to understand what work has been approved on the site.

Updated: 30th August 2022