Building and plumbing

General

Depending on your proposed project, you may need permits or other approvals before you can start the work.

There are rules around planning and building and plumbing work that will affect how you can use the land, where you can build, what you can build and who can do the work. A particular use or development that is exempt from planning approval does not mean it is necessarily exempt from building or plumbing approval.

Your proposed project will be assessed by a Permit Authority. A Permit Authority is a person who works for council and has responsibility for issuing building, plumbing and demolition permits. In Tasmania, each of the 29 local councils have a designated Permit Authority.

Who is involved

If building and/or plumbing approval is required, a typical project will follow the steps below:

engage a Building Designer

For any permit and notifiable building work you will need a set of plans. You need to make sure that the Building Designer or Architect you contract to do the work has a current licence to work in Tasmania.

Your Building Designer or Architect will:

  • tell you what services they offer
  • check the local planning rules and restrictions for your build
  • check for any site restrictions or limitations
  • give you a written quote for the fees you will be charged
  • check your Certificate of Title to make sure you are not building over an easement
  • contact Dial Before You Dig to make sure there is no interference with our valuable underground assets
  • book a time to visit your property
  • arrange a soil test.
engage a Building Surveyor

It is important that you are involved in selecting and engaging your Building Surveyor, as they are responsible for ensuring the building design and building work meets the requirements of the National Construction Code, relevant Australian Standards and the Building Act 2016.

Your Building Surveyor remains involved in your building project until it is complete, inspecting the work at particular stages to ensure your Builder (or you, if you are an Owner Builder) are building in accordance with the approved design. The Building Surveyor is the primary compliance officer for the building project making sure that your new building is safe and compliant.

Learn more about what role building surveyors play in the property development process.

engage a Builder

Your builder is a licensed building service provider and will manage the construction of your project and all contractors involved in the project. They will also complete a number of required forms for approval as your project progresses. Your builder will also engage with other trades as needed throughout your project.

Learn more about what role builders play in the property development process.

engage a Plumber

Most plumbing work in Tasmania must be completed by an appropriately qualified professional. The Plumber is the responsible person for any work that they do and must have the relevant licence to undertake that work. All plumbing work is required to be done in accordance with the National Construction Code and Building Act 2016.

Learn more about what role other professionals play in the property development process.

Approvals

You may require building and plumbing approval for your project. Building and plumbing in Tasmania is governed by the Building Act 2016. The Building Act 2016 takes a risk-based approach to building approvals and some low risk building, demolition and plumbing work can be done without seeking a building permit from your local council.

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.

Learn more about what may happen if you don't apply for approval.

Building considerations

The type of building, demolition and plumbing work you are undertaking will determine whether you need to apply for a permit or require another type of approval or not. Some considerations for building and plumbing work could be:

  • 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?

There are Categories of Work that define if you can undertake the work yourself or if you need to engage a licensed professional and what type of approval is required, if any.

Building tools

Categories of Building Work

The type of building or demolition work you are undertaking will determine whether you need to apply for a permit or require another type of approval or not. There are four categories of work that have been determined by the Director of Building Control. The categories are as follows.

Category 1: Low Risk Building Work

Category one work is considered low risk and can be completed by the owner or other competent person and does not require a permit. If specialised work is required, such as plumbing or electrical work, a relevant licence holder will need to perform the work. The work must still comply with any relevant requirements in the National Construction Code, and may still require notification to the relevant council to advise them of the project.

This work may still require planning approval. If planning approval is required, this must be applied for before commencement on any work. It is your responsibility as property owner to ensure planning approval is obtained, if required.

Category 2: Low Risk Building Work (performed by a licensed builder)

Category two work is also considered low risk but must be completed by a licensed building professional. An application for formal approval is not required but the work must comply with any relevant requirements in the National Construction Code. You may still need to notify the relevant council to advise them of the project.

This work may still require planning approval. If planning approval is required it must be applied for before any work is started. It is your responsibility as property to ensure planning approval is obtained, if required.

Category 3: Notifiable Building Work

Notifiable work will require engagement of licensed building professionals which may include designers, engineers and builders. This category of work requires a Certificate of Likely Compliance from a Building Surveyor before work can commence.

Category 4: Permit Building Work

Permit building work is the highest risk category for building work and may be residential or commercial. Permit building work requires a Certificate of Likely Compliance from a Building Surveyor and a Building or Demolition Permit from the relevant council as the Permit Authority.

For those properties that fall under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, you can use the Guided Enquiry service to to help identify which approvals may be required for your proposed project.

You can view the Categories of Work to understand what category applies to your proposed work in the Director’s Determination – Categories of Building and Demolition Work.

If you are uncertain you can seek advice from the Permit Authority, which is the relevant council, for building and plumbing work or from a suitably licensed Building Surveyor for building work only. Learn more about what role building surveyors play in the development process.

Use the Start enquiry button on this page to find out in which council the property is located. Find the contact details for any local council through the Local Government Association Tasmania website.

Categories of Plumbing Work

The type of plumbing work you are undertaking will determine whether you need to apply for a permit or not. There are four categories of work that have been determined by the Director of Building Control. The categories are as follows.

Category 1: Low Risk Plumbing Work

Category one work is considered low risk and can be completed by the owner, a licensed plumber or other competent person and does not require a permit. The work must still comply with any relevant requirements of the Building Act 2016 and the National Construction Code,

Category 2: Low Risk Plumbing Work (performed by a licensed plumber)

Category two work is also considered low risk but must be completed by a licensed plumber. An application for formal approval is not required but the work must comply with any relevant requirements of the Building Act 2016 and the National Construction Code,

Category 3: Notifiable Plumbing Work

Notifiable Plumbing Work must be performed by a licensed plumber and also requires a Certificate of Likely Compliance from the Permit Authority of the relevant council prior to the commencement of the work.

Category 4: Permit Plumbing Work

Permit Plumbing Work is the highest risk category for plumbing work and may be residential or commercial. Permit Plumbing Work requires a Certificate of Likely Compliance and a Plumbing Permit from the Permit Authority of the relevant council prior to the commencement of the work.

For those properties that fall under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, you can use the Guided Enquiry service to to help identify which approvals may be required for your proposed project.

Please note, the Categories of Plumbing Work are currently being reviewed and updated. You can view the current version of the Categories of Work to understand what category applies to your proposed work in the Director’s Determination – Categories of Building and Demolition Work.

If you are uncertain, you can seek advice from the Permit Authority, which is the relevant council, for building and plumbing work.

Use the Start enquiry button on this page to find out in which council the property is located. Find the contact details for any local council through the Local Government Association Tasmania website.

Updated: 18th March 2022