When making changes to any of your investment properties, remember to check and see if you need building approvals.  If you do, and you don’t, it could cost you dearly down the track.

Some examples of work that you may not need to get approval for are:

  • putting up small sun shades on the house, usually those that do not extend 1 metre from the wall
  • construction of any playground equipment if it is no taller than a metre high (this I found to be a surprising one, because I wouldn’t have thought playground equipment would come into the equation)
  • any repairs and maintenance to the existing building which of course is fix and replacing existing items that have previously been approved

If in doubt ask a building certifier so that you make the right decisions.  Some work you may want to do could fall into the ’self-assessable’ label, meaning that the owner is responsible for making sure that everything they do complies with the relevant standards such as structural sufficiency, boundary setbacks and size limits.

Some examples of ’self-assessable’ work are:

  • a retaining wall less than 1 m high and not load bearing in any way
  • a fence which is less than 2 m high (excluding pool fencing)

If you are getting sub-contractors to work for you, remember ultimately you are responsible for what goes up on your property, so make sure everything complies with local building requirements on any property investment that you have.

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