Planning & Building

Building or extending? Planning a larger development, or simply interested in planning in Hindmarsh?
Read our planning and building sections to learn more!

Want some advice about your permit needs? Simply fill in the below online form to get verbal advice about your proposed plans or ideas.
Please click here - Developing in Hindmarsh

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Town Planning

The Planning Scheme|Zones and Overlays|Applying for a planning permit|Amending a Planning Permit|Extending a Planning Permit|VicSmart Applications|Having your say | Planning Enforcement |The Planning Department

A planning permit is a legal document which gives permission to develop, subdivide or use land for a particular purpose. This is not to be confused with a Building Permit, which deals with the methods of building construction (the ‘nuts and bolts’). To obtain a planning permit, you will need to submit an application to Council. It’s important to do your homework because some uses of land are actually prohibited under the Hindmarsh Planning Scheme, while others are restricted.

A planning permit may be required when you are:

  • Starting a new business;
  • Constructing, altering or extending a building, house or shed (including farm sheds and outbuildings);
  • Subdividing land;
  • Removing, destroying or lopping native vegetation;
  • Displaying a sign;
  • Changing the use of a building or land;
  • Applying for a liquor license; or
  • Holding a festival or event.

Please note this list is not exhaustive and there may be other instances where you would require a planning permit.

Seeking planning advice? Contact the planning department, with the address of the property that you are enquiring about to have a chat. Should you require written planning advice, please complete a request for planning advice form and submit to Council.

The Planning Scheme

The Hindmarsh Planning Scheme sets out the many types of use and development of land that require a planning permit within Hindmarsh Shire Council.

For more information about planning schemes in general, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

What are zones and overlays?

Land throughout Hindmarsh Shire is grouped into zones; e.g. ‘General Residential’ or ‘Farming’. Zones specify the purpose of the subject land and how it can be used.  Every zone has a table of uses as follows:

  • Section 1: uses which do not require a planning permit in that zone;
  • Section 2: uses which do require a planning permit in that zone; and
  • Section 3: uses that are prohibited in that zone.

Building and works and subdivision requirements are also outlined within the zone provisions.

An overlay addresses specific issues which may apply to certain areas of land; e.g. ‘flooding’, ‘heritage’ or ‘bushfire management’. Any provisions specified by an overlay apply in addition to zoning provisions, should the land be affected by an overlay.

Curious about what zone your property is in? Visit our Hindmarsh Community Map to discover your property!

How to apply for a planning permit

It is recommended that you contact the planning department to discuss your proposal prior to submitting an application. Pre-lodgement meetings are encouraged, and are offered as a free service from Council, and are available by appointment.

Preparing your application

When lodging your application, you will require the following items:

  • Completed application form;
  • A recent copy of the Certificate of title (not older than 2 months);
  • Three (3) A3 sized copies of a site plan drawn to scale with a north point, showing existing and proposed structures, lengths of boundaries and walls, distances between buildings, and features such as vegetation, water courses, driveways and crossovers if applicable;
  • Three (3) A3 sized copies of any elevations drawn to scale (including height and length of walls and windows, and details of construction materials) (if applicable);
  • Three (3) A3 sized copies of any floor plans (if applicable); and
  • The application fee (as advised (payable via cash, cheque or card at any of our 4 offices. This fee can also be invoiced.).

PLEASE NOTE: Depending on the complexity of your application, it is recommended that you engage the services of a licensed surveyor, draftsperson or planning consultant to assist you with preparing your application. Council cannot recommend any licensed surveyor, draftsperson or planning consultant.

Need help with your application? Click here.

Lodging your application

Council welcomes applications over the counter, via email or posted. Subdivision applications can also be submitted directly through the Surveying and Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals (SPEAR) website via the engagement of a licensed land surveyor. Your application will be assessed, and the planner will contact you should further information be required.

Receiving your permit

Should your permit be approved, the planner will contact you to inform you of Council’s decision. Your permit will include your endorsed plans, and will likely contain conditions, which must be abided by. Should you have any queries in relation to your permit, you are welcome to discuss these with the planner.

Please note that you may need other approvals in addition to a planning permit – such as a building permit, a local laws permit, or an environmental health permit

Amending a Planning Permit

Need to change your permit or plans? Contact the Planning department on (03) 5391 4444 to discuss your proposed amendments prior to submitting an application for an amendment or an application for secondary consent.

Extending a Planning Permit

Feel like you need more time? Planning permits do have expiry dates. You can apply for an extension of your permit by submitting an application to extend a planning permit and paying the applicable fee as advised.

VicSmart Applications

Low impact, straightforward and simple proposals may be eligible for VicSmart processing. This means that the application can be processed in 10 business days, the application will not be required to be advertised, and the application information is subject to criteria within the planning scheme.

For more information about VicSmart permits and to check your eligibility, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s VicSmart Planning page. Still not sure? Contact the planning department.

Having your say

If you feel you may be affected by a planning permit application which has been publicly notified, you are welcome to contact the Planning department to discuss your concerns, or visit the Nhill office to view the application on public display (viewing and booking rules apply – contact (03) 5391 4444).

If you object to an application, you are welcome to submit an objection to Council. Objections must be made in writing, clearly stating your reasons for objection and how you feel you would be affected by the proposal. Contact details such as a name, postal address and phone number must also be included. You must not submit any personal information or copyright material of third parties without their informed consent. By submitting the material, you agree that the use of the material as detailed above does not breach any third party's right to privacy and copyright.

All types of submissions are considered, including emails and hand written letters and diagrams, however you must send them in to Council to ensure that your position is recorded and considered. Please note that petitions or joint letters are only considered as one objection, and that it is normal practice for the ‘first named’ person to become the formal contact point.

Submissions can be made up until a decision is made on the proposed application.

Planning Enforcement

What happens when a use or development occurs illegally without planning permission? Click here to view Council's Planning Enforcement Fact Sheet.

The Planning Department

Hindmarsh Shire Council
92 Nelson Street
Nhill, VIC 3418

Phone: (03) 5391 4444

Email:; marked 'Attention Planning'.


How to apply for a building permit | Report and Consent Applications | Owner Builders Information | Information on Constructing a Fence | Installing a Swimming Pool | Farm Sheds and Buildings | Amending a Building Permit | Extending a Building Permit | The Building Department

If you plan to do any building work, you should check with us first to find out if you need a Building Permit. A Building Permit ensures your building project is built by registered and insured builders, has the correct documentation, is inspected at different stages of work and is independently assessed as suitable for occupation upon completion. 

Most building works require a building permit irrespective of their size and cost. Please contact Council to discuss your building proposal. You can also check out the Victorian Building Authority's general guide as to when a building permit is required - click here.

A building permit is a legal document which gives official approval for any construction, demolition or remodelling works undertaken by yourself or a licensed builder. A building permit will be required when you are:

  • Building additions or alterations to existing structures;
  • Constructing a swimming pool;
  • Building a new fence;
  • Demolishing an existing structure;
  • Building a new house or structure, and;
  • Signage.

PLEASE NOTE: You may require a planning permit for your building project, in addition to a building permit. These two permits are not to be confused – a building permit deals with the method of construction of a building, while a planning permit relates to the use or development of a particular piece of land. Check out our planning section for more information or contact the planning department.

How to apply for a building permit

Whether you’re just starting out as an owner builder or whether you are a large construction or design firm, we can help you achieve your building goals.

Lodge and track applications online:

Fast track and monitor your application throughout the process, upload relevant documentation and plans, respond to further information requests, track multiple applications at once and ongoing access to approved permits and documentation is provided.

A Building Surveyor is responsible for issuing a Building Permit at the commencement of a building project.  The surveyor should be engaged at the very start of the process, and can advise on documentation necessary to obtain the Permit.

After the Building Permit is issued, the building surveyor will carry out a series of inspections at different stages throughout the project to ensure that the building work meets minimum standards.

Preparing your application

When lodging your application, you will require the following:

  • Completed application form;
  • Recent Certificate of Title;
  • Completed Owner Builder Consent form if the cost of works is greater than $16,000 and you intend to carry out the works yourself;
  • Domestic builders warranty insurance certificate for projects with a cost of works greater than $16,000 (N/A for owner builders);
  • Three copies of a site plan, to a scale of not less than 1:100, that shows the location of the proposed building, any existing buildings or features, the property boundaries, any buildings on adjoining properties and any streets, footpaths or crossings adjoining the property, along with the intended location for stormwater discharge;
  • Three copies of structural drawings;
  • Three copies of elevation drawings;
  • Three copies of a floorplan showing downpipe positons;
  • Copies of specifications for the structure, and;
  • The application fee as advised.

There are information sheets available for you to assist you with your permit application – to view these, visit our forms and permits page.

PLEASE NOTE: the amount of information required to accompany a building permit application varies from project to project. Council may request that more information be provided in order to complete a full application assessment.

Lodging your application

Council welcomes applications online, via email, over the counter or posted. You can also lodge your applications online through our online portal. Your application will be assessed, and the building department will contact you if more information is required.

Receiving your permit

Should your permit be approved, you will receive your building permit via email. Your permit will include your approved plans, and will likely contain building conditions, which must be abided by.

Report and Consent Applications

You can also make application to vary certain building regulations under report and consent. For more information about the report and consent regulation objectives, click here.

Owner Builders Information

An owner can carry out the building work that is involved in the construction, alteration or renovation of an existing building as an owner/builder if they are not a registered builder. An owner/builder is defined as someone who is not in the business of building, who constructs or renovates a domestic building on his or her own land.

Owner/builders must obtain a Certificate of Consent from the Building Practitioners Board in order to obtain a building permit for works valued over $16,000. This Certificate of Consent is an individual’s written approval to act as an owner/builder on their own land in Victoria. A building permit cannot be issued until the Certificate of Consent has been lodged with the Building Surveyor.

For more information, visit the Victorian Building Authority’s website.

Information on Constructing a Fence

There are planning and building regulations which control the building and management of fences, including their height and building material. You can apply for report and consent exemption if your proposed fence does not comply with the building regulation requirements. This application will be assessed against the Ministers Guidelines MG-12, with the aim of ensuring that the fence design respects the existing or preferred character of the neighbourhood and is consistent with the specifications of existing fences on nearby allotments.

Further information about fences

Having fencing issues? The Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria can give legal advice on the Fence Act and also assist with mediation between two or more parties when matters cannot be resolved. Disputes involving dividing fences are the most common disputes dealt with at the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.

Information about Installing a Swimming Pool

All swimming pools and spas must have a safety barrier installed to restrict access to the water by children under the age of 5. In addition, a building permit may be required for the installation of the pool, and/or the construction of the barrier fencing.
For more information about the requirements for swimming pools and spas in Victoria, check out the Victorian Building Authority’s website, or the Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Victoria.

Registering your swimming pool or spa

As of 1 December 2019, the Victorian Building Authority has introduced a mandatory requirement that all swimming pools and spas located within Victoria are required to be registered with your applicable Council. This is to ensure that pools and spas are inspected regularly to ensure barriers and gates are compliant to help prevent drowning incidents in backyard pools or spas. All pools or spas must be registered by 1 November 2020. (Due date has been extended by the Victorian State Government from the initial date of 1 June 2020).

To get your pool registered, you will need to do the following:
1. Submit an application to register your spa or pool:

Or access the hardcopy form here.

2. If possible, you will need to provide a copy of the building permit issued for the construction of the pool to determine the year of construction and the applicable barrier standard.

3. Submit payment of $31.80 (registration fee) and $47.20 (records search fee - only applicable if a copy of the building permit cannot be submitted).

For more information, please visit the VBA website .

Farm Sheds and Buildings

All farm buildings or sheds require a building permit. Some farm sheds and buildings also require a planning permit. Farmers are encouraged to contact Council on (03) 5391 4444 or email to discuss their plans for new buildings on farm land prior to submitting an application.

Amending a Building Permit

Need to change your permit or plans? Contact the building department to discuss your proposed amendments prior to submitting an application to amend your permit.

Extending a Building Permit

Building permits do have expiry dates for the commencement of work (12 months) and completion of work (2 or 3 years)! If you feel like you need more time, you can apply for an extension to your building permit by completing the application form and paying the applicable fee as advised.

The Building Department

Hindmarsh Shire Council
92 Nelson Street
Nhill, VIC 3418

Phone: (03) 5391 4444

Email: ; marked ‘Attention Building’.


With the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Hindmarsh Shire customer service centres and libraries will gradually reopen to the public.

From Wednesday 17 June 2020, the telephone operating system will be operational between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm from Monday to Friday.

From Monday 22 June 2020, the Nhill customer service centre will be open for appointments only between the hours 9am - 12noon and 2pm - 4pm Monday to Friday.

Jeparit and Rainbow customer services centres and the new Hindmarsh Shire Libraries service in Nhill, Jeparit, and Rainbow will be reviewed on a regular basis, with the aim to open mid-late July subject to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Dimboola customer service and library will be reviewed on a regular basis, with the aim to open mid-late July subject to completion of the current building works and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

See more council services changes or information about COVID-19