Residential building work that requires permits

This page has information about the permits and processes for residential construction projects in the Northern Territory (NT).

Common residential building projects in the NT

Check the table below for your legal requirements.

Building work

Building permit

Building contract

Fidelity fund insurance

Registered building contractor

Other requirements

New house and attached or associated structures constructed at the same time as a new house - eg: carport, verandah, garden shed

Required

Required

Required

Required


Relocating an existing house to a new location

Required

Required

Required

Required

Read Building Note 100 - Relocation of existing houses to approved rural land (373.9 kb)

Renovating a bathroom - changing walls, fixtures and plumbing

Required

Recommended

Not required

Not required

Read renovating and refurbishing wet areas

Renovating bathroom - no change to walls, fixtures and plumbing

Not required

Recommended

Not required

Not required

Read renovating and refurbishing wet areas

Alterations or extensions to an existing house - increases floor area

Required

Required

Required

Required


Alterations to an existing house - no increase in floor area

Required

Recommended

Not required

Not required


Existing house - changing windows, reroofing or replacing sheeting

Required

Recommended

Not required

Not required


Additions to existing house - skylight, roof vents or a satellite dish

Required - some exemptions apply

Not required

Not required

Not required

Read about exemptions for satellite dishes, skylights and roof ventilators

Solar hot-water systems

Required

Recommended

Not required

Not required

Read Building Note 56 - Solar hot water heaters installation policy (131.9 kb) and Building Note 63 Installation of solar hot water heaters on multinail truss systems (242.2 kb)

Solar photovoltaic installations

Required

Recommended

Not required Not required

Read Building Note 81 Solar photovoltaic installations (1019.0 kb) and Building Note 83 Solar voltaic installations - non cyclonic regions (50.2 kb)

Carport or verandah addition to an existing house

Required

Recommended

Not required

Not required


Garden shed or workshop

Required - some exemptions apply

Recommended

Not required

Not required

Read about exemptions for building a garden shed, carport, fence or shade structure

Pergola or shade structure

Required - some exemptions apply

Recommended

Not required

Not required

Read about exemptions for building a garden shed, carport, fence or shade structure

New fence or renovate an existing fence

Required - some exemptions apply

Recommended

Not required

Not required

Read about exemptions for building a garden shed, carport, fence or shade structure

New retaining wall - supporting building work

Required

Required

Required

Required


New retaining wall - not supporting building work

Required if over 600mm in height

Recommended

Not required

Not required


Swimming pools

Not required

Recommended

Not required

Not required

Read about installing safety barriers when you install a pool or spa

Building control areas and certification requirements

If your property is in a building control area and the table above shows that you need a building permit, you must get building certification for the work from an NT registered building certifier.

Read about the building certification process and engaging a registered building certifier.

The location of your property, in either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 building control area, will determine whether you need full or part building certification.

The two-tier system in the NT means fewer permits and paperwork are needed if your building work is in a Tier 2 area - outside of the Darwin, Lake Bennett and Alice Springs regions.

Read more about building control areas.

Building or renovating in a Tier 1 area

If you need a building permit, you must engage an NT registered building certifier for full building certification, including getting occupancy certification at the end of the construction process.

Building or renovating in a Tier 2 area

If you need a building permit, you must engage an NT registered building certifier,but you may only need part building certification.

For building work on townhouses and apartments in Tier 2 areas, you must follow the full building certification process including construction inspections and the issue of an occupancy permit.

Part building certification

Part building certification only applies for work on the following types of buildings in Tier 2 areas:

  • a detached house or single dwelling
  • a garage, carport or shed attached to and built at the same time as a detached house
  • a retaining wall - built at any time - not attached to a house, townhouse or flats, but which will support such a building.

To comply with part certification, you must have a building permit before starting construction. On completion, your builder must sign a legal declaration stating the work has been done in line with the permit.

During construction however, your building certifier does not need to conduct construction inspections and you do not need an occupancy permit at the completion of work.

You must still get any documentation prescribed by law, such as building work certificates from tradesmen for plumbing, glazing, electrical, termite treatment, prefabricated roof trusses, prefabricated window and door frames, wet area sealing products, and fire safety products or installations. Your building certifier can tell you which documents you need.

You must also meet legal requirements for building contracts, registered building contractors and fidelity fund insurance for your work.

If a builder’s declaration is not available

If you are not able to obtain a builder’s declaration for work in a Tier 2 area that would otherwise only require that declaration to complete the certification, you must contact your building certifier.

Your building certifier may be able to carry out extra assessments and grant a certificate of substantial compliance or certificate of existence for the work.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017