Conversion to a Habitable Room

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) defines a habitable room as a room used for normal domestic activities such as a bedroom, living room, lounge room, music room, television room, kitchen, dining room, sewing room, study, playroom, family room and sunroom. A common type of renovation is to convert a carport, garage or patio alfresco area from a non-habitable area into a habitable room.

What should I consider before lodging my application?

A building permit will be required to convert a non-habitable building or structure into a habitable room. Plans and documentation for the proposed works will need to demonstrate compliance with the BCA. Amongst other things, issues to consider will be:

  • Location of structures in proximity to effluent systems could affect the approved location of patios, sheds and the like.
  • Damp proofing membrane beneath the floor slab.
  • The floor to ceiling height must be a minimum of 2.4m
  • Plans must indicate how the proposed works will prevent the ingress of moisture into the new room;
  • Method of termite treatment;
  • The provision of natural light and ventilation;
  • Hard wired smoke alarms may be required if the habitable room is a bedroom;
  • May also require engineering details;
  • Compliance with the energy efficiency; and
  • A Bushfire Attack Level Assessment.

What documents do I need for my Building Application?

  • Completed application form with all owners noted and builders section completed and signed
  • Applicable fees (please see fee schedule)
  • Certificate of design compliance (only if submitting a BA1 – Certified Building Application)
  • Site plan at a minimum scale of 1:200 showing:
    • Setbacks from the lot boundaries and all other buildings on the property.
    • Proposed and existing finished floor levels.
    • Dimensions of the proposed structure
    • Distance from effluent tanks, leach drains and related systems (where applicable)
  • Floor plan at a minimum scale of 1:100 showing:
    • Dimensions of walls, rooms, windows and doors of proposed works and existing adjoining rooms
    • Location of any smoke detectors
  • Elevations at a minimum scale of 1:100 showing:
    • Roof type (i.e. tiles or colorbond)
    • Roof pitch Wall heights and materials
    • Locations and dimensions of windows and doors
  • Engineering details signed by a structural engineer showing:
    • Footing and slab details
    • Construction details
  • Energy efficiency report and certification
  • Termite treatment details
  • Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) report (where applicable)

How do I lodge my application?

The Shire accepts email applications, as well as postal applications and paperwork submitted over the front counter. You can email your application form and relevant documents to An Uncertified application form (BA2) can be found here. If you are working with an independent Building Surveyor and have a certificate of design compliance, the Certified application form (BA1) can be found here.

Will any other approvals be required before a building permit can be issued?

Fun Fact: Did you know 80-90% of Building Permits applied for are put on hold because of little or no consideration for the Shire’s planning and health requirements at the design stage? 

It is important to speak to our planning and health teams about your project before finalising and submitting your building application.  This will ensure a smoother and more efficient building approval process and avoid unnecessary and lengthy delays.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and further information may be requested prior to building approval being granted.

For further information, please contact Building Services on 9526 1111.