Unauthorised Work

Unauthorised works are building works that have been commenced without a Building Permit. A ‘Building Approval Certificate’ is used to retrospectively approve unauthorised building work relating to residential Class 1 and 10 structures; an Occupancy Permit is required for commercial Class 2-9 structures.

What can I do about an unauthorised structure?

Building work must not be commenced without a Building Permit where one is required. The Building Act 2011 allows a person to make an application to approve unauthorised building work in relation to a building or incidental structure. This process should not be used to circumvent the need for a Building Permit.

The retrospective approval process may assist those who are buying or selling a property that has an unauthorised structure. If you have commenced building work without approval, or purchased a property with unauthorised structure/s, you are able to submit an application to obtain retrospective approval from the City of Vincent (the City).

In most cases, the City is able to grant retrospective approval for unauthorised structures. In certain circumstances, if the unauthorised building/structure does not comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) or relevant standards, the property owner may be requested to complete building work to achieve compliance with the relevant standards or remove the structure.

In cases where the Building Act 2011 has been breached, the City may consider legal action which could include the issuance of a building order and/or referral to the City's solicitors for prosecution.

How do I obtain Retrospective approval?

Obtaining retrospective approval is a two-stage process, comprising firstly of obtaining a Certificate of Building Compliance.

Once a Certificate of Building Compliance has been issued, a Building Approval Certificate should be applied for in relation to residential structures or an Occupancy Permit in relation to commercial structures to the City.

Certificate of Building Compliance

A Building Approval Certificate or an Occupancy Permit confirms that the building has been assessed by a registered Building Surveying Practitioner for compliance and that a Certificate of Building Compliance has been issued.

Building Approval Certificate or Occupancy Permit

A Building Approval Certificate or an Occupancy Permit confirms that the building has been assessed by a registered Building Surveying Practitioner for compliance and that a Certificate of Building Compliance has been issued.

How long does it take to get retrospective approval?

The Building Act 2011 sets time frames in which the City has to assess and determine an application. The City has up to 10 business days from the date of lodgment to assess the application and issue a Building Approval Certificate or Occupancy Permit.

It is important that you are aware of allowed time frames prior to lodging your application and that your application documentation is complete.

Should further information be required by the City in order to assess the Building Approval Certificate or Occupancy Permit application, the applicant may be given up to 21 calendar days in which to provide the outstanding information. If the information is not received within the 21 days, the application may be refused unless a mutual consent has been granted for a further 21 days.


SUBMITTING An application for unauthorised work

If you would like to submit an application for unauthorised work, you will need to include the following information in your application:

  • A complete BA13 Building Approval Certificate or a BA9 Occupancy Permit application form

    • Including all owner's details, construction materials and costings
    • Signed by all owners
    • Including applicant's contact details and signed applicant statement

BA13 application forms are available from the City's website here (link) or from the front counter of the City's Administration Centre

  • A Certificate of Design Compliance.

This must be issued by a registered Building Surveying Practitioner and include all documentation as referenced on the Certificate of Design Compliance

  • Payment of fees

Refer to the City's Fees and Charges for full fee details (link). Fee details are also available from the front counter of the City's Administration Centre.

  • Building Construction Industry Training Fund (BCITF) levy payment form (for building works greater than $20,000)

Required in full and signed for works over $20,000 - refer to the City's Fees and Charges for full free details (link).

  • Site plan drawn to scale (1:200), showing:
    • Location of the unauthorised structure
    • Location of all existing structures on the property
    • Measurement from the boundaries to the unauthorised structure
    • Location of any septic tanks and leach drains (if applicable)
  • Construction details drawn to scale (1:100), showing:
    • Detailed floor plan and elevations
    • Cross-section details
  • Structural Engineer's certification
  • Specifications
  • Plumbing Certification (if applicable)
  • Electrical Certification (if applicable)
  • Energy Efficiency Certification (if applicable)
  • Planning Residential Design Codes approval (if applicable)

This information is intended as a guide only. The City disclaims any liability for damages sustained by a person acting on the basis of this information.

For more information please contact the City's building services team on 9273 6000 or email mail@vincent.wa.gov.au