These definitions will help you understand common building terms.
Any construction or change to a building or facility that increases its external dimensions and cubic contents.
Land that can be sold separately under section 8A of the Sale of Land Act 1962 without being subdivided.
Means approved by the relevant building surveyor.
A protective guard rail to prevent people falling, at the edge of a stair, landing or a platform, with closely spaced infill such as balusters from the handrail down to the floor
The Building Code of Australia.
An independent statutory body established under the Building Act 1993 that seeks the best possible building outcomes for the building industry and the community as a whole. It is empowered to determine any matter relating to the Building Regulations 2006, the Building Code of Australia and specified provisions of the Building Act 1993.
Provides industry leadership and regulates building quality.
Assists builders, contractors, and owners by ensuring that construction projects meet building regulations and codes of practice. Inspections assess design documentation and make on-site inspections during building work, checking that proper methods and materials are used. Inspection results are reported to the building surveyor.
The first step in the enforcement process, and also a written notice, requesting the owner to ‘show cause’ why certain actions should not be carried out.
A written approval from a registered building surveyor certifying that your plans comply with the Building Regulations 2006.
An independent statutory body established under the Building Act 1993. It oversees the quality and standard of professional services in the Victorian building industry, administers a registration system, and monitors the conduct and ability of registered building practitioners. The Board registers individuals, not companies or businesses. For more information, visit the Building Commission website.
A roofed, open or semi-enclosed structure for sheltering of motor vehicles, attached to, next to, or near a house.
A certificate in engineer’s design relevant to the job address, which accompanies the engineer’s drawings, computations and specifications. This certificate ensures that the design work complies with Australian standards and Building Regulations 2006.
A written approval from the Building Practitioners Board that enables you to obtain a building permit and carry out domestic building work as an owner-builder on your own land.
Demonstrates that a building, other than a dwelling, has been inspected and passed, according to the Building Regulations 2006. It is obtained once the final inspection has been inspected and passed.
A Certificate of Title is an official record of land ownership that can include information about mortgages, covenants (restrictions), caveats and easements.
A complete Certificate of Title must include:
To obtain a Certificate of Title, visit the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure website.
An unroofed area or an area roofed with a material that transmits at least 90 per cent of light.
The achievement of performance criteria described in a regulation or other statutory requirement. This is usually demonstrated by a compliance or approval certificate.
An agreement entered into between two or more parties that involves an exchange of specified goods and/or services for specified financial reimbursement or other considerations.
A horizontal platform attached to, or forming part of, a building.
The complete or partial taking apart and removal of a building or structure, by pre-planned and controlled methods or procedures, and normally carried out before redevelopment work.
An entrepreneurial organisation or individual who purchases land for subsequent subdivision, and/or development, and sale on a unit basis.
One or more buildings which, in association, constitute a single dwelling, being:
Designs and develops working drawings (plans).
Documents presenting information in pictorial form with or without text, including plans, sections, elevations, projections or perspectives of elements, and their location, interrelationships and sizes.
The sharing of a single residential site by two independent households, sometimes housed in separate buildings.
A building or a part of a building intended for use as a residence by a single household.
A self-contained suite of rooms, including cooking and bathing facilities and intended for long-term residential use.
An area of land, or part of an allotment, reserved by law for a specific purpose, such as access, drainage reticulation, or municipal services.
A view of the façade of a building or an object, and the drawn projection of the façade or object.
Helps protect the safety and health of people in buildings and public places, promote cost-effective construction, and resolve environmental and energy issues.
The removal of earth or rock to previously determined excavation lines and levels, to form a hole for the structural supports/floors of a building below ground, or a trench for services.
An addition to a building to enlarge its covered floor area.
A restricting structure or screen placed on boundaries of an allotment or an enclosure of open areas to maintain privacy and/or security, or to define that boundary.
Indicates that a structure other than a dwelling has passed the Building Regulations 2006. It is obtained once the final inspection has been inspected and passed.
An enclosed structure for the secure storage of motor vehicles. Domestic garages may be distinguished as ‘single garage’ for 1 vehicle, ‘double garage’ for 2 vehicles, and ‘triple garage’ for 3 vehicles.
A room in a house, flat, or other residential building designed and used for normal domestic activities. It includes bedroom, living room, lounge room, music room, television room, kitchen, dining room, sewing room, study, playroom, family room and sunroom.
A person authorised to regularly inspect the contract works, or a part of the works, for compliance with legal or contractual requirements (especially to ensure contract documents are being followed).
Required if you engage a building practitioner or tradesperson to carry out building work valued at over $5,000.
Issues building permits and has extensive additional functions related to community safety, and the administration and enforcement of building legislation in their municipality.
Attained for new dwellings once the final inspection has been approved. It indicates that the building can be occupied.
A building not intended for human habitation but forming an accessory to the principal use of associated buildings including a:
When a habitable room window or raised open space of a building on an allotment provides a direct line of sight into a habitable room window, or on to a secluded private open space, of an existing dwelling on an adjoining allotment.
When a building reduces the sunlight to a recreational private open space of an existing dwelling on an adjoining allotment, to the extent that less than the required minimum area of the recreational private open space has less than 5 hours of sunlight between 9am and 3pm on 22 September.
A person who carries out domestic building work on his or her own land, who is not in the business of building.
The wall between two adjoining buildings or occupancies, which provides common structural support and fire separation.
An unroofed structure over a path, terrace or patio, supported on posts or columns.
Independent professionals with the same power to issue building permits and occupancy permits as municipal building surveyors.
Private open space refers to:
Report that provides information for permits issued in the last 10 years and details of any overlays (i.e. flood prone) on that property.
Must be provided in respect of an adjoining property, before and during the carrying out of any building work, if required by the relevant building surveyor.
An assembly building including a trade workshop, laboratory or the like, in a primary or secondary school, but excluding any other parts of the building that are of another Class. (BCA Class 9b)
A person accepted by the relevant authority as qualified to design, construct (or install), or supervise the erection of, buildings or services; usually recognised by a certificate of registration.
Any part of private open space on an allotment that is:
A Report and Consent Approval – is provided by your council – and is required for works that involve a variation to the Building Regulations 2006.
A wall built to hold back a mass of earth or other solid material behind it, and designed to resist lateral pressure and overturning forces from the retained material.
A fence, wall, gate or screen, including doors, windows, locks, latches, hinges and self-closing devices attached to them.
A horizontal distance from a boundary or building.
That part of an allotment which is covered by buildings, expressed as a percentage of the area of the allotment.
All new houses in Victoria must include a greater range of energy-efficiency and water-saving features, improving occupant comfort and reducing the cost of energy bills.
A water-resisting structure for use by a number of people, which has a facility for heating the water within it and injection air bubbles or jets of turbulent water.
A report that indicates the location of the point of stormwater discharge from an allotment, either within the allotment or at the allotment boundary. This report must be obtained for a building permit application where the building work includes a stormwater drainage system.
The horizontal shape of the boundary between the road reserve and the adjoining land.
A footing or rectangular cross-section, poured in a continuous horizontal strip for placement under a length of wall.
Reinforcement, including reinforcing steel and pre-stressing tendons, provided for crack control or to resist forces caused by in-services loading, and thermal and shrinkage movements.
A construction, not necessarily roofed, which performs a function or functions requiring rigidity, such as a bridge or a mast.
The horizontal surface on which the underlay or floor covering is to be laid.
An artificial basin for recreational or competitive swimming and other aquatic activities such as wading, paddling, and water sports.
A childproof enclosure for private outdoor swimming pools required by legislation.
An open or partly open portion of a house or building, or a roofed space attached to a building outside the principal rooms, and covered either by the main roof or a separate, lower roof.
Includes roof skylight, glass panel, glass brick, glass louvre, glazed sash, glazed door, translucent sheeting and any other building material that transmits natural light directly from outside a building into a room.