About the planning permit process

What is the difference between a building permit and a planning permit?

The planning process determines whether the use or development of land is appropriate. For example, whether a subdivision is allowed in a particular area.

The building permit process ensures what you are building is safe and meets the relevant standards and regulations. 

In some cases, you may need both.

The following is a general process guideline, not all applications trigger each process as each application is different.

Application lodged

Your application has been received and accepted. Waiting payment, once paid it can then be allocated to a planner.


Under Assessment

Your application is being assessed to determine if enough information has been provided (including all reports and details on plans). At this stage we also send a copy of the application to the relevant authorities such as the local water authority, the fire authority, heritage advisor and engineering. If no further information is needed, the application will go straight to advertising.


Awaiting further information

We’re waiting for more information from the applicant. The applicant will be given a timeframe to send us the information. This can be extended if necessary.


Assessment of further information (if necessary)

The planner will assess the information to make sure all the required information has been received.


Application on advertising

The application is now being advertised. Letters have been sent to notify surrounding properties of the proposal. The plans are now available on track for everyone to view and make their submissions.


Final Assessment

The planner will review submissions, review key issues, and determine conditions.


Decision preparation

The planner will write the report, get it checked and finalise the report.



Depending on the decision you may see the following:

  • Issue a planning permit - If your planning permit application is successful you will be issued with a planning permit and you can commence your land development or use project. However, a planning permit is always subject to specified conditions that must be met.
  • Issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit - If there are objections to your planning permit application then Council can only issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit. If approved by Council, and no appeals are lodged to VCAT within 28 days, a permit will be issued. If an appeal is made, the proposal must go to VCAT. The Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit is not a planning permit. It is a legal notice that states that Council supports the application if the land use or development meets certain conditions. These conditions are explained on the notice. Council sends a copy of this notice to all concerned parties.
  • Refuse to issue a planning permit - If Council considers that the land development or use proposed in the planning permit application is not acceptable, it will refuse to issue a planning permit. The reasons for the refusal are listed in the notice. All concerned parties will receive a copy of the notice.
  • Decided (No permit required) - The application has been assessed and a permit is not required.



VCAT appeal in progress (If applicable)

VCAT will consider all of the material on the file and presented at the hearing. Once a decision is made, a copy of the Tribunal’s order will be sent to all parties by email or mail. This will usually include reasons for the decision. The Tribunal’s decision is final unless there is an appeal by a party to the Supreme Court on a point of law. If a planning permit is granted, Council must issue that permit in accordance with VCAT’s order. Council is responsible for making sure that the requirements of the permit are met.

If an appeal has been lodged with VCAT, the following may occur:

  • Decided - Refused by VCAT - VCAT have made the final decision to refuse the proposal.
  • Decided - VCAT approved - VCAT have made the final decision to approve the proposal.
  •  Decided - VCAT approved, amended plans required - The proposal has been approved, however amended plans are required for endorsement.


How to apply to VCAT?

Information on how to apply to VCAT for a review of Council’s decision is in your planning permit, Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit or the Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit. There is an application fee for applying to VCAT for a planning permit application decision review. The fee must be submitted with your application. You can find out more information about how to apply to VCAT and how the review process works from the VCAT website


Extend permit expiration date

If you need more time to start or finish works you can apply for an extension.

The application for an extension of time on a planning permit must be submitted:

  • Before the permit expires, or
  • Within 6 months after the permit expires, or
  • Within 12 months after the permit expires, if the development lawfully commenced within the permit timeframe.


To request an extension of time you must complete the online application form.