conversion to a habitable room

Are you thinking of converting a carport, garage or shed to a games room or bedroom? The Building Code of Australia (BCA) classes a carport, garage or the like as a non-habitable area, and rooms such as games room, bedroom or study as habitable rooms.

What is a Habitable Room?

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) defines a habitable room as a room used for normal domestic activities such as:

  • Bedroom
  • Living or Lounge Room
  • Television Room
  • Kitchen
  • Dining Room
  • Study
  • Playroom
  • Family / Games Room
  • Sunroom

What is a Non-Habitable Area?

A non-habitable area means a space that is occupied neither frequently nor for extended periods. They include:

  • Carport
  • Garage
  • Patio
  • Bathroom
  • Toilet
  • Laundry
  • Photographic darkroom

 Do I Need Building Approval?

A Building Permit is required to convert a non-habitable building or structure into a habitable room. Plans and documentation for the proposed works will need to demonstrate compliance with the Building Code of Australia. Things that you have to consider will include:

  • Energy efficiency requirements;
  • Method of termite treatment;
  • The floor to ceiling height must be a minimum of 2.4m;
  • Damp proofing membrane beneath the floor slab;
  • How the proposed works will prevent the ingress of moisture into the new room*;
  • The provision of natural light and ventilation to the new room i.e. minimum window sizes;
  • Certificates of compliance for electrical, plumbing and glazing;
  • Structural engineering details;
  • Installation of hard-wired smoke alarms may be required if the proposed habitable room is a bedroom.

NOTE: *Mould may grow in wet or moist areas that lack adequate ventilation such as walls, ceilings, carpets, insulation material, bathroom tiles and wood. If moisture accumulates, mould growth will occur on indoor surfaces. Mould produces tiny particles called spores. Spores are carried in the air and may cause health problems if inhaled by people who are sensitive or allergic them. 

What Documents Do I Need for My Building Application?

You can submit either a certified application or an uncertified application for the proposed building works. The building permit application should include the following, at the least:

  • Completed application form with all owner and builder sections completed and signed;
  • Applicable fees (see fee schedule);
  • Certificate of Design Compliance (Only if submitting a BA1 - Certified Building Application);
  • Site plan, minimum scale 1:200 showing:
    • Setbacks from the lot boundaries and all other buildings on the property.
    • Proposed and existing finished floor levels.
    • Dimensions of the proposed structure.
  • Floor plan, minimum scale 1:100 showing:
    • Dimensions of walls, rooms, windows and doors of proposed works and existing adjoining rooms.
    • Location of any smoke alarms.
  • Elevations, minimum scale 1:100 showing:
    • Roof type (i.e. tiles or colorbond).
    • Roof pitch, wall heights and materials.
    • Locations and dimension of windows and doors.
  • Engineering details signed by a structural engineer showing:
    • Footing and slab details, including damp proofing membrane.
    • Construction details.
  • Termite treatment details.

NOTE: This list is not exhaustive and further information may be requested during the approval process prior to a building permit being granted.

Lodging My Building Application

You can lodge your building permit application to the City via the following methods:

  • In person - City's administration building located at 244 Vincent Street, Leederville.
  • Email - mail@vincent.wa.gov.au.
  • Post - PO Box 82, Leederville WA 6902

Other Approvals Required?

It is important for you to speak to our Planning and Health teams about your project before finalising your plans and submitting your building application. This will help to lessen any unnecessary and lengthy delays in the building approval process.