Building Act 2011

New Building Approval Process

The commencement of the Building Act 2011 on 2 April 2012 introduces a new building approval process for Western Australia bringing some significant changes to the building approval process, from the design stage right through to occupation of a building.

The Building Act and the Building Regulations 2012 replace the Building Regulations 1989 and much of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960, and amends a range of associated acts.

The key objectives of the new Act are:

To provide a comprehensive system of building control in Western Australia; reduce building approval times;

  • Set standards for buildings and demolition work in Western Australia; and
  • Deal with building or demolition works that affects other land

The commencement of the Building Act 2011 has introduced a new Building Service Levy and private design certification services provided by registered building surveyors.

For further information and application forms refer to:

Building Commission of WA

What else will change for builders?

In addition to the changes in respect of certifying design compliance, the Building Act 2011 introduces new requirements for construction and completion.

For all classes of building the builder must submit a notice of completion within 7 days of finishing the work under a permit. This notice establishes the end date of the building permit for compliance and record keeping purposes, and signifies the point from which the builder has fulfilled his obligations regarding compliance with the Building Act 2011.

A notice of completion does not affect contractual matters such as the contents or timing of a notice of practical completion or any requirements to make good any defects to a building before a final certificate is issued.

How does that affect me?

From the 2 April 2012 if you are about to apply for a Building Permit, then you will need to make one of the following types of application to the local government / Permit Authority.

  • Uncertified
    or
  • Certified

What is the difference between Uncertified and Certified applications?

An uncertified application process is similar to the current building approval process in that you lodge all of the documentation with the local government to have it assessed for compliance with the Building Code of Australia. If compliant the local government will issue you with a "Design Compliance Certificate". Once the Design Compliance Certificate has been issued the local government/ Permit Authority will then issue a Building Permit which will permit you to commence building.

A Certified application process is different in that as the owner or applicant you can choose to have your plans and other documents certified by a registered Building Surveyor, who if satisfied that your documents comply with the Building Code of Australia will issue you with a "Design Compliance Certificate". As the applicant you can use that certificate (Certificate of Design Compliance) to apply for a Building Permit from your local government/ Permit Authority which when issued will allow you to commence building.

What are my responsibilities as the applicant?

Under the new provisions of the Building Act you are responsible to ensure that ALL relevant approvals are in place before the application is made for a Building Permit. This may include such approvals as, Planning, Water Corp, Health Department etc.
Can I lodge my application and provide other information later?

Yes you can but the timeframe for ensuring that the information is provided and correct is very limited. Any additional information required to complete your assessment must be provided to the City within twenty-one (21) days from the day the additional information is requested.

How long does the City have to approve my application?

The time to approve an application depends on the type of application made.

An uncertified application must be determined within twenty five business days (25)

A Certified application must be determined by the local government/ Permit Authority in ten business days (10)

Fees & Charges

The fees for applications depend on the type of application made. The fee scheduled can be found on the Building Commission website.

As a builder what are my responsibilities?

As the builder you are responsible to:

  • Ensure that you build your building in accordance with the approved Building Permit
  • Ensure that any inspections noted on the Building Compliance Certificate have been carried out by a competent person
  • Provide notification to the Permit Authority (the local government) within seven (7) days of completion of the building works being undertaken by the Building Permit issued.

Can I be an owner builder?

Yes the Building Act enables owners to be builders. Approval to be an owner builder is to be obtained through the Building Commission. From the commencement of the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011, owner-builders will require approval from the new Building Services Board before they can apply for a building permit from a local government/ permit Authority.

An owner-builder will be permitted to take out a building permit once every six years and the current requirement that restricts an owner-builder from selling within three years will no longer apply under the new legislation.

Owner-builder applications that were received by the Board prior to commencement of the building services legislation will be dealt with under the previous process provided by the Builders' Registration Act 1939.

Where can I get the forms?

All forms required to be used under the Act are located on the Building Commission website. Forms will also be available on the City's website when the draft forms have been released for use. It is important to note that only the forms approved by the Building Commission can be used.

Other frequently asked questions relating to more detail aspects of the Building Act 2011 can be found on the Building Commission website.

Further Information:

Building Services
9273 6000 or mail@vincent.wa.gov.au