Time Limit to Use a Planning Permit

Time Limit to Use a Planning Permit

After a planning permit gets issued how long do you have to act on it?  Make sure you know, as if you forget to watch your time limit you could end up with an expired permit and have to go through the process all over again!

There are different time limits depending on the type of planning permit, so it is important to check your conditions of your planning permit.  However, the majority of planning permits for developments will have two (2) years to commence and then must be completed within four (4) years.  This date is taken from the date that the permit was issued.

Some important things to note about the time limits:

  • The time limit is not automatically extended by an amendment to the permit.
  • Once the period to extend a time limit has passed the permit has expired and the only way to continue is by getting a new planning permit approved.
  • Standard practice is for the Council to issue you with a letter noting your new time limits and not a new planning permit date.  Therefore it is important to keep the letter together with the permit for a complete record.

What To Do If You Are Running Out Of Time

If you haven’t been able to start or complete the permitted activities in time, you can request an extension of time.  The process to apply to extend the time limit is usually fairly straight forward.  The main information that the Council will want (besides your details and the details of the permit) is the reasons for the extension.  Sometimes the Council will also ask for an indication of when the permit will likely be acted upon or finished.  You can read up more about the process of applying for an extension of time in this post.

While obtaining the first extension of time may not be too difficult to justify it is important to realise that it isn’t a certainty and shouldn’t be counted on. In particular I would only use the additional grace period provided after the expiry date in extreme circumstances. This is because if such an application is refused the planning permit will automatically lapse. If, however, you apply for an extension of time before the planning permit expires, you may still be able to start work if the application is refused.

When Should You Apply For An Extension of Time?

It is best to apply close to the time that it would expire, but allowing enough time for it to go through the Council process is advisable.

The wording of a standard development permit allows for you to apply for an extension of time after the expiry date, for example you can apply for an extension of time within 6 months after the permit expiry date where the development has not started.  However, if there was some concern that the extension of time may not be granted I would recommend applying for the extension before the expiry date.  That way if the application is refused you may still have time to act on it to avoid the permit expiring.  If you get your extension of time refused after the permit has already expired, you will have no further time to act on the permit.  If that happens your only option will be to reapply for a new planning permit, potentially changing the proposal to respond to the reasons that the extension of time was refused.

If you don’t think that you will be able to start or complete your planning permit within the time limit it would be a good idea to talk to the Council early on if possible.  They should be able to advise you if there have been any changes to the Planning Scheme, or any proposed changes that may affect your request for an extension of time.