Detached permits


June 2024 Update

There is significant work happening around detached building permits. These permits were formerly known as orphaned building permits.

The VBA is collaborating with industry, councils and consumers. They undertake challenges posed by detached permits.

What's happened?

So far, the VBA has:

  • Developed improved data on the volume and age of detached permits.
  • Reduced the occurrence of detached permits through improved communications, auditing and disciplinary processes.
  • Completed a pilot program addressing a sample of permits that appeared to be detached. They have found information about reporting and data gaps to inform our approach.
  • Made changes to the Building Activity Management System (BAMS). This will increase data and information that relates to building permit status reporting.

What's next?

The VBA will soon start the next phase of this work, which will include:

  • Contacting councils to request information on their open permits. This will improve the reliability of records between councils and the VBA.
  • Identify building surveyors who are willing and capable of acquiring detached permits. They will use an Expression of Interest process to do this. You can find a list of those building surveyors on the VBA website.
  • Assist consumers who are unsuccessful in engaging a building surveyor. They will be referred to a list to assist with resolution of their detached permit.


Council will update the information contained on this web page as soon as it is available.

Do you have questions about detached building permits?
Please contact VBA on 1300 8152 127 during business hours.


Frequently Asked Questions

How many detached permits are there in Victoria?

There are tens of thousands of detached permits across Victoria due to the Relevant Building Surveyor not being able to complete their functions due to varying reasons.

What are some of the circumstances in which a Private Building Surveyor may not be able to complete their role?

Some of the reasons that a Private Building Surveyor may not be able to complete their role are:

  • Cancellation or suspension or registration by the VBA
  • Illness
  • Death
  • Retirement
  • Imprisonment
  • Insolvency
  • Lack of Insurance

My Building Permit has not been finalised and the appointed Private Building Surveyor is no longer practicing. Who can assist me?

The VBA can assist home owners with advice regarding the process of appointing a new building surveyor to complete a building permit. In some exceptional circumstances the VBA may appoint a Statutory Manager to oversee completion of the building permit.

The Private Building Surveyor who issued my building permit has been suspended or their registration has been cancelled. What do I do?

If your building permit has not been finalised you will be required to engage a building surveyor to finalise your permit and issue you with an Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection. 

Why can’t Council take on my 'detached' building permit?

Why can’t Council take on my ‘detached’ building permit?

There are a number of reasons why Council is unable to take over incomplete building permits including but not limited to:

  • potential for inheriting liabilities surrounding earlier sub-standard work for which the MBS may personally become liable and could be subject to sanction by the Building Practitioners Board (BPB) (eg loss of registration) or civil litigation.
  • substantial work and effort to resolve non-compliant issues, including potential for destructive testing to inspect building work already carried out.
  • lack of existing records making completion of functions very difficult
  • negative impact on existing Council workload, risk and resources.
  • undesirable precedent that local government will bail out situations which are theresult of failings in other sectors of government.
  • potential insurance premiums increase due to additional risk exposure; and
  • conflict of charging the owner new fees and then carrying out enforcement.

Is the Victorian Building Authority working on a solution for detached building permits in Victoria?

The VBA has confirmed that the Department Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is currently leading a review of legislative provisions in respect to orphaned building permits and includes the active participation of the VBA along with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group (VMBSG).  

What else can Council do to support its residents who have an detached building permit on their land?

Council has been advocating to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) since 2020, and recently met with the CEO of the VBA in August to continue this dialogue for residents. We have been advised by the VBA that reforms to the legislation are currently being considered to resolve the issue of orphaned building permits across Victoria however, at this stage we have not been given a timeframe or detail about the what the reforms may include.  

This work is being led by the Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), who are consulting with the VBA, Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), and the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group.  DELWP are best placed to provide updates and information on the proposed legislative changes. 

In the interim, the VBA have notified Council that they have been liaising with some of the residents directly affected by an orphaned building permit to provide an avenue for resolving their particular matters.