Building Approval - Australian Capital Territory

Service summary

You will require this approval if you intend to undertake building or development work in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Building or development work includes any construction, alteration, removal or demolition of any new or old building or structure. Building approval is required for most developments to ensure the building complies with building laws and standards. When granted this approval, the appointed building certifier completes the building commencement notice and work can begin. Please be aware that:

  • You will require this approval prior to the commencement of construction
  • The approval only relates to building work shown on the approved plans under the approval
  • You should obtain a development approval, if required, before obtaining this approval
  • Exemptions to this approval exist for minor structures and may depend on such things as size, nature and type of work proposed.

If you require temporary access to water for construction purposes or require an alteration to be made to a manhole you may lodge a request with the relevant ACT water authority. Please be aware that you are also required to submit a notification of demolition work for all demolition work that you intend to undertake.

Please consult the Contact Officer for more information.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for this approval you must comply with the relevant industry and regulatory standards as well as:

  • Provide an estimate of the cost of the proposed building work
  • Provide one electronic copy of the plans and, if required by the certifier, one paper copy
  • Provide management plans for public safety if the project is carried out on, at or near a public space
  • Provide a waste management plan if the related works involve the demolition or alteration (other than class 1, 2 or 10a building) of a building
  • Provide an asbestos removal control plan if the property was erected before 1985 or if it is a class 1, 2 3 or 4 building
  • Provide any associated development approvals and exemption notices
  • Appoint a licensed building surveyor as your certifier
  • Submit the application form and pay the relevant fees (your certifier will inform you)
  • Employ a licensed builder (or become licensed as an owner-builder).

Please note that it is now a requirement for labourers and project builders to undertake an approved course in asbestos awareness. Please consult the Contact Officer for more information regarding eligibility requirements.



Fees will vary depending on your circumstances. Please consult the Contact Officer for more information.



The application must be submitted alongside an electronic copy of your plans, as well a paper version, if specified by your certifier.

Administering agency

Environment and Planning Directorate
Planning and Land Authority

Act(s) name

Building Act 2004 (Australian Capital Territory)

Regulation(s) name

Building (General) Regulation 2008 (Australian Capital Territory)

Contact details

Enquiries, Licensing Unit
Environment and Planning Directorate
Planning and Land Authority
Environment and Planning Directorate
Planning and Land Authority
ACT Architects Board

Operating address:
Ground Floor South, Dame Pattie Menzies House
16 Challis Street
Australian Capital Territory 2602
Mailing address:
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601


02 6207 1923


02 6207 1925

Supporting information


The information contained on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) web site, or via packages or other sources is intended for general guidance only.

To the full extent permitted by law, the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments make no representations or warranties (expressed or implied) in relation to the information, including its accuracy, currency or completeness.

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To the full extent permitted by law the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments, their employees and agents do not accept any liability for any reason, including without limitation, liability in negligence, to any person for the general information which is provided herein, or in respect of anything, including the consequences of anything done, or not done, by any such person in whole or partial reliance upon the information.