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Difference between Building and Planning

The roles of the Planning and Building Departments often get confused. Building and Planning permits are controlled by two separate acts of parliament and administered by separate departments within Council. Depending on what work you are proposing, you may require a permit under one Act, under both Acts or under neither.

Who does what? 

Building Services

The Building Services team is responsible for considering applications for building permits, occupancy permits and conducting building safety inspections. Put simply, they are assessing the actual construction of the structure.

If a Planning permit is required, this will have to be obtained before a building permit can be issued.

After receiving your planning permit (if required), you must then apply for a building permit either through Council or via a private building surveyor.

Statutory Planning

Also known as Town Planning,  the Statutory Planning team is responsible for considering applications that require a planning permit, including applications to build or extend a building, open a business, or erect advertising signage. Put simply, they are assessing the use of the land.

Applications for planning permits are assessed against the policies and controls in the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme.

Strategic Planning

The Strategic Planning  team prepares long term land use planning policies to address a range of environmental, economic and social matters.

The team is also responsible for developing the policies and controls that make up the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme and for considering requests for changes to the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme, including the rezoning of land.

City Design and Sustainability Planning

The City Design and Sustainability Planning team is responsible for developing the policies relating to urban design, open space and sustainability planning, and being a referral point for the consideration of applications for a planning permit.

The team also undertake master plans and the design for projects, such as park and playground designs, streetscape upgrades and environmental sustainability project initiatives.

What is the difference between a building and planning permit?

Generally, a building permit deals with a building's structural stability and safety, whilst a planning permit deals with local appropriateness of form, location or use.

If a planning and building permit is required, the building permit cannot be issued without the planning permit being obtained first. In such cases, the building permit must be consistent with the planning permit's requirements.

How do I determine what permit is required?

The best way of finding out is to consult an architect, draftsperson, town planner or building surveyor with local knowledge.

Contact Council on 8571 1000 and speak to the Building and Planning departments or by contacting the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186.


Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria

Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) is a free government service which helps resolve domestic building disputes. It provides a tailored service to resolve disputes between builders and home owners in a free, fair and fast manner.

Who is eligible for the DBDRV service?

  • Builders
  • Building owners
  • Architects or sub-contractors

For more information visit website at