Do I need building approval?

Have you been recently granted a Development Approval (DA) from the City for a structure or building? Does your proposed building work fall under one of the categories below:

  • Ancillary dwellings (including granny flats)
  • Carports or garages
  • Commercial buildings
  • Conversion to a habitable room
  • Earthworks
  • Fences (masonry) over 750mm in height
  • Fences (non-masonry) over 1.8m in height
  • Patios, pergolas, vergolas and shade sails (some exemptions may apply)
  • Re-roofing
  • Residential dwellings
  • Retaining walls over 500mm in height
  • Sheds (some exemptions may apply)
  • Solar panels (commercial buildings)
  • Swimming pools, spas and safety barriers
  • Water tanks (greater than 5,000 litres)

If you have answered 'yes', it is very likely that you will need to obtain a building permit from the City for the proposed building work. Under the Building Act 2011, building permits are required for the construction of new buildings and structures, and additions or alterations to existing buildings. You can only start your building work after a building permit has been issued to you or your nominated builder.

It should be noted in most cases, when the estimated total value of work is more than $20,000, a building permit can only be issued to a registered builder or an owner-builder.


Owner-builders can carry out the following types of building work on their property:

  • Construct a detached dwelling, including a granny flat.
  • Carry out additions and alterations to an existing dwelling.
  • Construct a non-habitable building such as a private garage, carport, shed or the like.
  • Construct or make additions and alterations to a small commercial building i.e. one or two-storey building with a floor space less than 500m2 that is not a detached house, a Class 10a building or farm building.

If you are thinking of being an owner-builder for your own home or a small commercial building, you will need to be granted owner-builder approval from the Building Services Board before the City of Vincent can grant you a building permit for your building work.

Owner-builder approvals can only be issued to individuals and not to corporate bodies or trusts.

To obtain an owner-builder approval, you must:

  • Be the owner of the land; or
  • Be leasing the land and have the owner's written agreement to undertake building works; or
  • Have an interest as purchaser under a contract to purchase the land; and
  • Intend to either reside, occupy or use the land on which the building work is to be carried out after the building work is completed. 

As an owner-builder, you will be responsible for the building work for a minimum of six (6) years. If you sell the home within seven (7) years from the date the building permit was issued, under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991, you will need to have a home indemnity insurance policy in place to cover subsequent owners if problems with the building develop.

More information on owner-builder responsibilities and how to apply for owner-builder approval is available on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website

Types of Building Applications

Depending on the type of development you are planning to carry out, you may need to apply for different types of building approvals from the City.

  • Demolition Permit - for partial or complete demolition of a building.
  • Building Permit - to construct a new building or structure, or to refurbish an existing building/structure.
  • Occupancy Permit - to occupy and use a building.
  • Building Approval Certificate - for residential strata developments or when building work has been carried out without a valid building permit in place.

Request for Archived Building Plans

If you do not have copies of plans for your residential dwelling, commercial premises or a built structure / building on your property, you can request a copy of the building plans from the City. It should be noted, however, if your property was previously under the jurisdiction of the City of Perth, the City may not always be able to obtain a copy from the City of Perth.

To request a copy of your archived building plans, please fill out the Building Plan Search form and email to for processing.

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