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While building permits generally relate to the construction of a building or development, planning permits relate to the zoning of the land, including whether the land can be used for residential or commercial developments. Not all projects need a planning permit.

Planning permits are legal documents giving permission for a land use or development, and may be required for all building work. If a planning permit is required, it must be issued before the building permit can be issued. A planning permit does not remove the need to obtain a building permit. The building permit documentation lodged with the relevant building surveyor must be consistent with the planning permit approved documentation. Amendments made through the planning permit process will need to be mirrored in the building permit approved documentation.