The Difficulties in Roof Replacement Works


A practice note issued by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) in January 2016 clarified that a Building Permit is now required when roof replacement works include common upgrades, such as an increase in fall or batten replacement.

This means that registered plumbers may not necessarily be allowed to carry out roof replacement. A registered builder is required.

Planning should also be considered. If the building height already exceeds planning for roof heights, Building Surveyors can’t provide a Building Permit for regrading roofs without a change to planning provisions.

The VBA has also recently started to enforce that replacement of “like with like” is not acceptable. Roofs must be made compliant with current standards. If this is not possible a Performance Solution is required. A fairly new concept in the 2019 BCA.

Building Permits

One of the biggest misconceptions from builders and roofing contractors alike was that the replacement or installation of roofing battens did not need a Building Permit.

As the battens are a structural member supporting the roof cladding, they are not exempt under Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations 2018.

Often, the existing roof has failed due to corrosion caused by ponding water from inadequate fall. The need for greater fall will likely trigger a requirement for a Building Permit and a Town Planning.

Planning Ramifications

Legislation passed several years ago into the Victorian Planning Scheme introduced prescribed maximum building heights.  These heights are an absolute maximum and cannot be exceeded even by way of a Planning Permit.

Roof replacement works therefore requiring an increase in the roof pitch by increasing the height of the battens may be prohibited if the works exceed the maximum building height provision.

Performance Provisions

In many instances, particularly in the CBD, existing older roofs are non-compliant with current codes. Replacing “like for like” is no longer satisfactory and may void insurance claims, if insurers determine that non-compliant works have occurred.

A compliance check is required to assess areas of non-compliance, followed by appropriate design or a Performance Solution if the roof cannot be made compliant.


Roof replacement works are highly complex, our Roof Replacement Check list is :

  1. Compliance assessment
  2. Performance assessment if compliance cannot be met
  3. Planning assessment for heights
  4. Structural design – battens, hold down
  5. Building Permits
  6. Registered Builders rather than plumbers

A qualified and experienced engineering and building consultant can best assist you and your clients in all areas of roof compliance and replacement.

Terry O’Donoghue
MTech (Civil), BE (Chem), Grad Dip FSE, Grad Dip BS
EC 42168, EF 64766, DB-M 38239,
RPEQ 16047, BPB2388,
1300 956 364
(03) 9563 6246

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