Permit application process

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

Planning permits relate to the use and development of land. Building permits relate to structural matters and compliance with building regulations. They are different in what they approve and in their purpose, they are two separate approvals.

Some proposals require both planning and building permits, some require only one.

When do I apply for a planning permit?

If required, a planning permit must be issued before a building permit can be issued. You can apply for a building permit at the same time as applying for the planning permit or prior to the planning permit being issued. This may reduce the time waiting as the permits can be assessed concurrently.

Who can issue permits?

Planning permits can only be issued by Council, VCAT or the Minister for Planning.

Building permits can be issued by any registered Building Surveyor such as Council's Nillumbik Environmental Building Surveyors or by any registered private building surveyor.

Planning permit application process

A brief outline of the process is as follows:


If you want to make a planning application, you should

You can discuss your ideas at a free pre-application meeting with one of our planning officers. Based on your proposal, the planning officer will be able to guide and assist you in completing the planning permit application.

If you are interested in creating a sustainable and / or energy efficient home or commercial building, further information is available at sustainable building

Lodging an application

Once an application is lodged, a planning officer will advise in writing if additional information is required. The application will be placed on hold until the information is received.


After submitting an application it becomes public information.

Council may give notice of an application based on the potential to impact the adjoining land and the amenity of an area. We may notify the public in the following ways;

  • notification by mail to abutting owners / occupiers
  • a sign placed on the subject property
  • a copy of the advertising material will be available at the Council offices
  • an advertisement in the classifieds section of the local newspaper

Council may also refer the application to other statutory bodies for advice and comment. These authorities have 28 days to respond and may impose conditions or object to an application.


Anybody who feels they are affected by a proposal can object to the granting of the permit. Any objection must be lodged by the date shown on the 'Notice of Application'

An objection by an individual must;

  • be made in writing,
  • clearly state the reasons for objecting and how you would be affected, and
  • provide full name and postal address on all objections

An objection made by a group, such as a petition must;

  • be made in writing
  • clearly state the reasons for objecting and
  • nominate one contact person with postal address of contact person provided

Objection relating solely to commercial competition are not permitted.

Council will make a copy of every objection available for inspection. We cannot make a decision on an application until 14 days after the giving of the last notice. All registered objectors have 28 days to lodge an appeal at VCAT, after Council issues a Notice of Decision. The applicant can appeal at VCAT against the decision, permit conditions, failure to decide the application within the specified period of time or the Notice of Decision to grant a permit. 


At the end of the notification period, the Council will either:

  • refuse a permit,
  • grant a permit or,
  • if there are objections, issue a Notice of Decision to grant a permit.

A permit can be granted with or without conditions. A proposal can only proceed if all conditions are met. For example, a permit for a restaurant might be issued on the condition that a certain number of car-parking spaces are provided. The applicant and all objectors will be informed of the Council's decision via a Notice of Decision or a Refusal


You may lodge an application for review to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) if;

  • your permit application is refused by the Council or the responsible authority, or
  • the decision contains conditions you are not happy about

VCAT conducts public hearings and considers submissions from all parties involved. They assess the proposal's planning merits, decide whether a permit should be granted and what conditions are appropriate.