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Retrospective Council Approval SA Services

Looking to get an unapproved building approved in Adelaide?


Buying or selling a property comes with many challenges. In some instances, property owners might not be aware that unauthorised building works are present on the property which did not have prior council approval from the relevant local government authority.

When you want to build a new structure, the last thing you want is for the process to be long and drawn out. Unfortunately, for some people here in Adelaide, that is exactly what happens when they try to get an unapproved building unauthorised structure approved.


If you encounter this issue, your option is to demolish the unauthorised structures or apply for a retrospective planning approval.  You can coordinate with your local council to determine whether retrospective approvals are needed. Most likely, your local government will require you to have either planning or retrospective building permits.  

For a smooth-sailing retrospective approval process, you should enlist the help of a legal advisor or an independent building surveyor to conduct a site inspection before buying or selling your home. A registered building surveyor can help ensure that you have the necessary building compliance certificates and manage the construction process to fix non-compliant building work.

If you're seeking retrospective council approval, My Building Consultants has the right kind of experience to do the job. We can help get an approval for any structural addition on your property.

What is a retrospective approval for unapproved work?

Unapproved building work is any building work conducted without approval from your local authority that may or may not conform to regulatory standards.

This situation is often revealed only when a homeowner contemplates the sale of property, or a potential purchaser seeks information about the building work that has been conducted.

In some cases, this has eventuated in the failure of sales contracts. In other cases, members of the public may inform the local authorities if they suspect illegal building work has been conducted. A council official will follow up and issue the homeowner with notification.

Approval must be sought for Alterations or Removal of any Internal or External Structural Element such as Walls, Roof, or changes to Wet areas.

Get in touch with us today to get your unapproved building approved


Below are some of the common compliance requirements that you need to consider when applying for retrospective building approval.

Planning Permit

A planning permit is a type of document that provides you consent to develop land or start any work for a new build, renovation or extension. It depends on your local or state council if a planning permit is required. 

Building Approval Certificate

An application for a building approval certificate must be filed if you wish to obtain approval for unauthorised structures. It is submitted together with a certificate of building compliance issued by a surveyor, copies of all plans, and other necessary approvals.

Building Permit

Also known as a development approval, this type of permit is needed if you intend to undertake some development activities on your property. The permit grants you consent to plan and build on your property. Home projects such as garden sheds, fences and decks don’t necessarily require approval. 

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia and the Australian Standards establish the technical requirements for building construction, design and performance. To comply with the BCA, your development should prove that it is structurally adequate, fire resistant, energy efficient, and safe for occupants. 

Professional Adelaide Building Consulting Services - Unapproved building work Benefits
Professional Adelaide Building Consulting Services - Unapproved building work

What we do for you

We can determine the feasibility of obtaining Retrospective Building Approval and be able to assess the extent of work required to achieve that goal

If you wish to engage our services further, we are able to:

benefits of our unapproved building work service


What can you build without council approval in South Australia?

You can build a shed or workshop in South Australia as an extension of your property without council approval if it’s no more than 15 square metres, or higher than 2.5 metres above the natural ground level. Car ports, however, may need development approval, prior to any building or installation work. To check if you need council approval, PlanSA has a helpful assessment tool on its website

What is the 7 year rule for building regulations in Australia?

The “7 year rule” is based on Section 157(4) of the Planning and Development Act of 2000, which states that local authorities can no longer issue a notice of intent or demolition order, as well as penalise a builder, seven years after the unauthorised construction. In order to prevent a local council from issuing a notice or to avoid becoming the subject of a legal action, you may ask for retrospective approval to legitimise the unauthorised construction work. 

Generally, as mentioned above, the time limit is 7 years. Some homeowners who have bought old houses, usually do not encounter unauthorised building works as a problem. However, it is still best to double-check with your local council in case you need retrospective permits to prevent issues in the long run, especially if you plan to resell your house.

How long does development approval take in SA?

According to the PlanSA website, it takes between 10 to 20 business days for the assessment to be performed. Generally, the entire process, from the time the development application has been submitted to the approval stage, takes about 12 weeks on average.


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