What consultants and approvals do I need?


It can all get very confusing if you haven’t renovated before. This month on the 101.5 FM radio Morning Magazine show, I introduce the consultants you may need to have on your team and demystify the red tape.




I know about drafters, building designers and architects, because we spoke about them in last month’s episode, but who are the other consultants I need to consider on my renovation or new house project?  

The standard consultants required on most projects include:

  • A structural engineer – to provide structural drawings
  • A soil tester (or geotechnical engineer) to test the type of soil to inform your engineer the appropriate footings can be designed.
  • A Building Certifier – to provide Building Approval

But you may also require:

  • A land surveyor – to provide a boundary survey and a contour and detail survey,
  • A Town Planner – to provide town planning approval


How do I know which consultants will be required for my project?

The answer to this will depend on your site and what work you are planning to do.

The best person to answer this question in Queensland, is a Private Building Certifier because they will be doing the final sign off before construction called Building Approval..


What is the difference between Town Planning Approval and Building Approval?

That’s a great question and it can be very confusing! As a general guide:

Town planning approval

  • assesses your house design in relation to the local area and big picture.
  • Its assessed against regulations provided by your local council and also, in some cases, the State government.
  • Most of the time, the regulations are straightforward and Self Assessable.
  • In some cases, you may need to lodge your drawings to Council for Town Planning approval. If this is required, a Town Planner can help you with that process.

 Building Approval

  • assessed your house design and construction in relation to the health and safety of all occupants.
  • Its assessed against the National Construction Code.
  • All building work will require Building Approval prior to construction commencing.

In Queensland, up until about 1998, Building Approvals were assessed by the local council. Since then they have been outsourced to Private Building Certifiers. However it does get confusing because some parts of the approval may be undertaken by council and the final approved documents are still filed with council.

On the topic of Building Approval – if you didn’t know – A couple of new regulations have come into force in Australia in May 2024:

  • The Livable Housing regulations to make all new houses and renovations more accessible, and
  • 7 Star energy efficiency rating.

If you’re considering a renovation or new house, get in touch with a Private Building Certifier and find out more. Understanding these regulations up front will save you time and money!



If you are trying to work out whether to renovate or sell, find the answers you need in two or the Renovation Collaborative Courses:

In Course 4. What Consultants do I need? I provide information about all the typical consultants required in the renovation or new house design and building process, and help you make the right decisions for your needs and budget. Just like Course 2, it’s a 60 minute read, full of practical usable information to help you move forward.

In Course 5. Site Investigation and Regulations I tell you how to find the regulations you will need to consider for your site and design. Understanding and addressing this information before you start concept design always saves time and money.