FAQ

Building Approval Forms Explained

Completing forms can be a time consuming and frustrating process. WA building law has created a multitude of forms which are applicable to different parties participating in the building approvals process. The forms are statutory documents and generally involve declarations around building compliance and approvals.

BA3, BA17 and BA18 forms can ONLY be completed and signed off by building surveying practitioners and contractors who are registered in Western Australia. These forms incorporate a statement made by the building surveyor that an existing or proposed structure will comply with the Building Code of Australia.

BA1, BA9, BA11, BA13, BA15 are commonly used APPLICATION FORMS which are submitted to the permit authority (local government) in conjunction with other project documentation in order to gain approvals.

The BA7 and BA8 forms are generally completed by registerd building practitioners and will notify all parties that building work has either been completed or ceased.

BA20 forms are often required where building work is taking place on or near a property boundary. Adjoining property owners often must grant permission for work which may adversely affect their property or where access is required on to their property.

A link to the statutory forms is provided below for your reference.

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/building-approval-forms-0

Working Example of Approvals Process – Change of Use and BCA Classification

The owner, lessee or applicant should carry out due diligence to determine if a particular use or building classification can be applied to an existing property. This process can often be expensive and time consuming depending on how well the proposed new use aligns with that which is existing and approved.

Town Planning Schemes will mandate which particular building uses are permitted in certain areas. A change of use application under a planning scheme will often involve reassessment of building floor areas, numbers of building occupants, acoustics, parking requirements and neighbour consultation. The scope of the reassessment will often depend on the type and magnitude of the change of use.

Under the Building Regulations 2012, a building which undergoes a change in classification (for example an office to a gymnasium) must generally be brought in to compliance with the current version of the BCA. It is generally prudent to involve an experienced building surveyor to assist in determining which parts of the existing building may require upgrading.

The ultimate goal in this process is receiving planning approval and a new occupancy permit for the building which captures the new use and classification.

Working Example of Approvals Process – New Office Building

When proposing the construction of a new building it is necessary to obtain information on the site which should be used to determine the feasibility of a project. Specialist consultants are often required to carry out a variety of tasks and produce documentation which is ultimately used to gain planning and building approvals. Some of these are as follows.

Geotechnical Report

Titles (Easements etc.)

Surveys

Existing Service Locations (Water/Gas/Electricity/Comms etc.)

Flow and Pressure Tests

An informed design development can then take place and trigger additional project stages such as;

Preliminary BCA Assessment

Planning Approvals

Engagement of Other Consultants – Structural Engineer, Mechanical/Hydraulic/Electrical/Acoustic

For more complicated projects it may be necessary to involve the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and seek their comment.

Unauthorised Work and Building Approval Certificates

Certain situations may arise where building work has taken place either without a building permit in place, or contrary to what is documented in an existing permit. In these instances, the Building Regulations 2012 provides a pathway to retrospective approval via the engagement of a building surveyor and other consultants depending on the complexity of the building work.

There are penalties which may apply and which are enforceable by the local government.

Building Classifications

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/building-classes

Council Fees (Statutory Fees)

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/building-act-fees

Request for Existing Plans and Approvals

Relevant Legislation

Planning and Development Act 2005

Building Act 2011 and Building Regulations 2012

Health Act 1911

Public Building Regulations 1992

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety – Guide to the Building Approvals Process

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/guide-building-approvals-process-wa