Building permits, licences and approvals
Building, demolition and occupancy permits
The City of Perth provides guidance on and issues the following permits within the City.
Generally, a building permit is required before any building work can be carried out. In most cases, a building permit application will be required if the proposal includes the construction, renovation, alteration, or improvement of a building. Especially when the proposed building work may:
- Adversely affect the structural soundness of the building or incidental structure.
- Adversely affect the safety and health of the occupants or other users of the building.
- Affect the way in which the building or incidental structure complies with each building standard.
Schedule 4 of the Building Regulation provides descriptions of building work for which building permits are not required. This typically includes the repair or maintenance of buildings and structures, but it is important to note that in these instances, the building owner has an obligation to ensure the exempted work complies with the applicable building standards.
If a building permit is required there are two different application types, an application for a Building Permit Certified (BA1) and a Building Permit Uncertified (BA2). The application forms can be found on the building commission website, and the type of application will depend on the building’s classification.
Building Permit Certified (BA1)
A certified building permit application (BA1) must be used for commercial buildings (Class 2-9) and it is an optional application type for residential dwellings and incidental structures (Class 1 and 10). Once the application is lodged there is a legislated processing time of ten business days.
A certified building permit application must be accompanied by a certificate of design compliance which is signed by a registered building surveyor. Engaging a qualified building surveyor is typically the first step in the building approval process and a list of registered building surveyors can be found on the building commission website.
Building Permit Uncertified (BA2)
An uncertified building permit application (BA2) is only for residential dwellings and incidental structures. Once the application is lodged there is a legislated processing time of twenty-five business days, but there is no need to engage the additional services of a building surveyor.
As part of the uncertified building approval process, a Building Surveyor, employed by the City of Perth, will conduct the technical assessment and issue the Certificate of Design Compliance and the building permit.
For commercial buildings a registered building surveyor needs to be engaged by the applicant to certify compliance to the building standards by issuing a certificate of design compliance.
- BA Building Permit Certified information sheet.
- BA Building Permit Uncertified information sheet.
Building permit transfers
This information sheet provides guidance on the process for transfer of a building permit from one builder to another under the Building Act and Building Regulations 2012.
Demolition permit (BA5)
A demolition permit is required for the complete or partial demolition, dismantling or removal of a building or an incidental structure. All demolition work must be carried out properly using safe work procedures and systems of work, and apart from the demolition of a single storey dwelling, only a licenced demolition contractor can carry out this type of work. The City has an information sheet relating to demolition permits to help outline what you need to provide for the application.
The application form can be found on the building commission website.
The City of Perth can provide advice and guidance on the building approval process, and if you are unsure whether proposed works requires a building permit or demolition permit, or if a building needs an occupancy permit, please contact the City of Perth on 08 9461 3366 for advice.
Notice of completion
All works that require a building permit are required to submit a notice of completion. The notice of completion must be given to the relevant permit authority within seven days of completion of the work, or the stage of work, for which the permit was granted.
An occupancy permit must be obtained before a building can be occupied. The occupancy permit is an important document because it sets out the approved use of the building and its classification under the National Construction Code. It may also list applicable conditions or restrictions on the use, including fire engineered solutions. Occupancy permits cover many different scenarios, including:
- Occupying a completed new building.
- Changing an existing building’s use or classification.
- Retrospectively authorising an unauthorised building.
- Temporarily occupying an incomplete building.
The City has an information occupancy permits and a submission checklist below to help outline what you need to provide for the application.
It is an offence under the Building Act to occupy a building if a current occupancy permit or certificate of classification is not in place. It is also an offence to use a building in a way that is different to the approved use.
An occupancy permit strata is a local government clearance document which is used to obtain a built strata title from Landgate. It cannot be used to occupy a building. To legally occupy a building an occupancy permit is required.
Building Approval Certificate
A person can apply for a Building Approval Certificate:
- If they choose to obtain approval for unauthorised works to any building work associated with a class 1 or class 10 building or incidental structure completed without authorisation.
- To confirm compliance with the applicable building standards for a building with any classification with existing authorisation which previously did not require an approval to occupy.
The City has an information building approval certificates below to help outline what you need to provide for the application.
To ensure that the sign complies with the City of Perth Thoroughfares and Public Places Local Law, all signs require a sign permit application to be submitted and approved unless it has been determined that an uncertified building permit is required. The City has a Sign Permit information sheet and application form to help outline what you need.
Pre-permit clearance application
The City provides a free service to assist applicants when applying for a building permit by issuing pre-permit clearance confirmation advice. An applicant can apply for clearance of building permit statutory requirements by applying for a pre-permit clearance. Forms are available on the City of Perth website.
The purpose of this form is to allow applicants to apply for written clearance from the City for development, health and engineering statutory approvals prior to making an application for a Building Permit. This application form allows the City clearance in accordance with Building Act section 22(2)(a) which states that a “permit cannot be granted if to do so would be inconsistent with a function under any other written law”.
Obtaining a pre-permit clearance can avoid delays in the building permit application process as all the statutory requirements other than the Building Act provisions will have been resolved prior to submission for the building permit.
Excavation and retention systems
The City of Perth has a responsibility to ensure that all excavations and soil retention systems are professionally designed and engineer certified. This is to ensure that there is no danger to the public and any significant damage to adjoining properties can be identified and minimised.
There is a formal process for consultation with adjoining land owners under the Building Act and Regulations for work affecting other land (see work affecting other land below).
The City of Perth can advise on excavation and retention methods, including ground anchors and underpinning, along with the requirements under the Building Act and Regulations to gain consent for “Work affecting other land.”
Any works affecting the road reserve or council property will require a separate approval under the Local Government (Uniform Provisions) Regulations. Contact Development Approval Unit on 08 9461 3366 for further information.
Work affecting other land
There are circumstances where work affecting other land requires consent, or a court order, to be provided as part of a permit application. The two instances where work affecting other land requires consent or a court order to be provided as part of a permit application are:
- Encroachment, where a part of a proposed building is over a boundary or using the land on another property for support.
- Work adversely affecting an adjoining property, where the building work being undertaken will adversely affect the stability, bearing capacity or natural site drainage of the adjoining land or structure.
Where work is affecting other land by either encroachment or adverse effect, the adjoining landowner’s consent, in the form of a BA20 must be obtained and submitted with the permit application. If consent cannot be gained, the person responsible for the building work may apply to the Magistrate’s Court for a court order and this must be obtained and submitted with the permit application.
Building or demolition work that does not encroach or adversely affect adjoining land may still require the adjoining owner’s consent. Examples include the removal of a dividing fence, or accessing adjoining property. In these instances you must obtain the adjoining landowner’s consent in a BA20A form, but consent is not required prior to making a permit application.
Battery powered smoke alarms
Building Regulations 2012 allows the use of battery powered smoke alarms where:
- Mains power is not connected to the dwelling.
- There is no hidden space to run the necessary wiring for mains powered alarms, and there is no appropriate alternative location – for example, where there is a concrete ceiling.
The use of battery operated alarms for any other circumstance must be approved by local government. Battery operated alarms must have a non-removable 10-year life battery (9V battery operated alarms are not admissible).
Please see below an application for approval for the use of battery powered smoke alarms.
Certificate of Structural Sufficiency
The purpose of this certificate is to provide the City of Perth with assurance that the structural design, materials and form of construction for the proposed building works complies with the relevant deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the Building Code of Australia. This form may only be completed by a professional engineer as defined in Building Code of Australia.
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