Building permits

In Western Australia it is an offence under the Building Act 2011 to commence any building work without a building permit. Generally, a building permit is required for all residential, commercial or industrial structures including but not limited to new works, alterations, additions, swimming pools, spas (below and above ground), pool safety barriers, patios and sheds.

Other approvals required

If your proposed building work requires a health or planning approval, you should obtain these approvals before submitting your building permit application to the City.

Duration

A building permit is valid for two years from the date of issue, unless otherwise stated on the permit.

Building permit exemptions 

Part 5, Division 2 of the Building Act 2011 outlines specific exemptions for particular buildings and incidental structures (including temporary buildings) Regulation 41 Schedule 4 of the Building Regulations 2012 further outlines building work that does not require a building permit. 

Regardless of any exemption that may apply there is always a requirement under section 37(2) of the Building Act 2011 for the owner to ensure that all building work, when completed complies with each applicable building standard.

Enquiries

If you have any building enquiries please send an email to eBuilding@swan.wa.gov.au or contact the City’s Building Services Development Liaison Officer on 9267 9267. 

Type of building permit application

There are two ways to apply for a building permit.

Applications for Class 1b and Class 2 to 9 must be made as certified applications, but this is optional for Class 1A and 10 buildings and incidental structures.

Certified application

 A certified building permit application (BA1) must include a Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3) from a registered building surveyor confirming that the design complies with the applicable building standards.  

A certificate of design compliance (CDC) and all the plans and specifications that are referenced in the CDC, must be submitted with the building permit application. 

The City will assess the application to ensure that it complies with other legislative requirements such as planning and health and will issue a permit when they are satisfied that all requirements have been met.

The City has 10 business days to approve or refuse a certified building permit application. 

Uncertified applications

 An uncertified building permit application (BA2) may be made to the City without engaging a registered building surveyor.

Under the Act an uncertified application can only be made for Class 1a and 10 buildings and incidental structures. In this instance, the City will assess the proposal and will issue the certificate of design compliance in conjunction with the building permit.

The City has 25 business days to approve or refuse an uncertified building permit application.

The City also offers a certification service for other building classifications where a certified application must be made. Please contact us on 9267 9267 for more information. 

Under the Building Services (Regulations) Act 2011 any person who carries out ‘building work’ valued over $20,000 must be a registered builder or an approved owner-builder before applying to the City for a building permit.

If the value of the building work is less than $20,000 a registered builder is not required, and an owner may choose to be an owner-builder without the need to obtain approval. 

What is a registered builder?

Under the Building Services (Regulations) Act 2011 only a registered building practitioner or a registered building contractor can perform particular building work.

The Building Services Board is the registration authority and is supported in its work by the Building Commission. The legislation has two categories of registration:

  • Practitioner; and
  • Contractor.

Practitioner registration is for individuals. It allows a person to be the nominated supervisor of a registered building contractor and to use the title 'registered building practitioner'. A practitioner may not provide building services directly to another person.

Contractor registration is for individuals, partnerships and companies that intend to trade as builders. This registration allows a business to provide services as a builder for work that requires a building permit, has a value of $20,000 or more and is located within the area of the Building Services Board’s jurisdiction.

For more information about whether your proposed building work needs to be undertaken by a registered builder please refer to the Do I need to be a Registered Builder? fact sheet on the Building Commission website.

What is an owner builder?

An Owner may be an owner-builder for any project without approval if the value of works is less than $20,000.

If the value of works is over $20,000, an owner may apply to be an owner-builder in place of a registered builder.

If you are thinking about becoming an owner-builder you must obtain approval from the Building Services Board before you can apply for a building permit.

For more information about being an owner-builder, including requirements and limitations, please refer to the Becoming an owner builder fact sheet which is available on the Building Commission website

Builder details

In all cases the builder details (section 4) of the building permit application form must be completed and signed by the person/company who has chosen to take responsibility for the proposed work.

If this section is not completed before an application is submitted to the City, the application will be deemed incomplete and will be rejected.  

Builder responsibilities

The responsible person (i.e. the builder named on the permit) is responsible for:

  • ensuring home indemnity insurance is in place (if relevant) before starting any building work
  • ensuring the building or incidental structure is completed in accordance with the plans and specifications detailed in the certificate of design compliance and that the building complies with each applicable building standard
  • ensuring that no work affecting other land is undertaken without consent or court order
  • arranging for any inspections and tests listed on the building permit to be carried out and recorded
  • giving a notice of completion (form BA7) to the permit authority within seven days of completion of the work or stage of the work for which the permit was granted
 

When estimating the value of building work, the Building Regulations 2012 require that the value is the sum of the value of the following relevant components (including GST):

  • all goods, including manufactured goods, forming part of the construction work
  • cost of labour (even if an owner or a friend provides this component)
  • fees payable
  • profit margin
  • GST
  • services necessary
  • overheads

For more information please refer to the Building Commissions Industry.

 

Anyone can apply for a building permit and this includes the owner, builder, designer, building surveyor or any other person.

The applicant is responsible for:

  • providing details of the builder in the application form
  • lodgement of permit application with all required supporting documents
  • providing further information to the City within the specified time if requested
  • obtaining all required approvals prior to lodgement of building permit applications.

What to submit?

In order for the City to accept and lodge a building permit application we require the following mandatory items:

  • A Certified (BA1) or Uncertified (BA2) building permit application
  • A Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3) signed by an independent building surveyor ( N/A for uncertified applications)
  • Copies of all relevant plans, specifications and technical certificates
  • Evidence of the following approvals as relevant to the building or incidental structure including:
    • health approval if the building work involves the construction or installation of any apparatus for the treatment of sewage (i.e. septic)
    • planning approval
  • Appropriate consent forms or court orders where work encroaches onto or adversely affects other land
  • Evidence that the required insurance provisions under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 have been met (if applicable)
  • Evidence of owner-builder approval from the Building Services Board (if applicable)
  • Payment of the prescribed fees including the Building Services Levy and the Building Construction Training Fund Levy.

The City may require an applicant to provide additional information or document(s) that it deems necessary. The applicant must submit the additional information or document(s) within 21 days of a written request to avoid the application being refused.

Once we are satisfied that the application complies with the building standards, and all other relevant legislative requirements, we will issue a building permit.

If an application is incomplete, or the required approvals have not been obtained, the City is entitled to refuse the application and to retain the application fee.

How much will it cost?

All fees are payable at time of lodgement of an application. The fee types may apply:

  • The Building Act Fees:  The prescribed fee is payable to local government when an application is made. These fees cover the cost of assessment, regardless of the outcome i.e. if the application is refused this fee will not be refunded.
  • The Building Services Levy (BSL): A building services levy is payable to local government for building, demolition and some occupancy permits as well as for building approval certificates issued under the Building Act 2011.

    The levy is paid for the purposes of funding the operations of the Building Commission to regulate the building services. 

  • The Construction Training Fund (CTF) LevyThe training levy is applied to all residential, commercial and civil engineering projects undertaken in Western Australia where the total value of construction is more than $20,000. The rate of the levy is 0.2% of the total contract price (inclusive of GST). 

In most cases, the Levy is paid to the City when an application is made. Alternatively a direct payment to the Construction Training Fund may be made, in which case copy of the receipt is required before the City can accept or lodge the application.  

  • Residential Design Codes (R-Code) Variation AssessmentsA Residential Design Code (R-Code) variation assessment may be required when a proposed development does not comply with the ‘deemed to comply' criteria specified in the Residential Design Codes (State Planning Policy 3.1), or the Detailed Area Plan (DAP). 

Read the full schedule of fees and charges for 2016/2017(PDF, 203KB).

 

The City receives building applications electronically. This option is available to all our customers and residents and it is our preferred choice for submissions. You may also submit your application in person, or by post.

Electronically:

  • If you are a registered user (i.e. applicants/builders who regularly submit building applications) please lodge the application using the online applications portal.

    If you are interested in becoming a registered user then please send an email to eApplications@swan.wa.gov.au  

  • If you are not a registered user please submit a PDF version of the application and supporting documentation to eApplications@swan.wa.gov.au

Please note: We can receive up to 30MB per email, however no single PDF should be larger than 10MB.

In person:

You may lodge an application over the counter at City of Swan, 2 Midland Square, MIDLAND WA 6056.

By post:

You may lodge an application via post at City of Swan, PO Box 196, MIDLAND WA 6936.

Assessment time frames

Under the Building Act 2011 the City has a fixed amount of time to grant or refuse a permit application. The point at which our timeframe for assessing an application starts is referred to as “starting the clock”.

 The length of time the City has to consider an application from when the clock starts is listed in the table below:

The clock starts at 12am the day after a complete application is received by the City.

Type of application Time the City has to decide
  • Building permit certified (BA1)
  • Demolition permit (BA5)
  • Occupancy permit (BA9)
  • Occupancy permit strata (BA11)
  • Building approval certificate (BA13)
  • Building approval certificate strata (BA15)
10 business days
  • Building permit uncertified (BA2)

(Class 1a and Class 10 buildings and incidental structures only)

25 business days

To help the City process applications within these strict timeframes, it is important to ensure that your application is complete and that all required approvals have been obtained before submitting your application.

The City may require an applicant to provide additional information or document(s) that it deems necessary.

The applicant must submit the additional information or document(s) within 21 days of a written request to avoid the application from being refused.

If an application is incomplete, or the required approvals have not been obtained, the City is entitled to refuse the application and to retain the application fee.

Applications are assessed for compliance with the Building Act 2011, which requires compliance with the National Construction Code, planning and other relevant legislative requirements. When the City is satisfied that the application complies with the relevant requirements a building permit is issued.

The City must determine a certified application within 10 business days and an uncertified application within 25 business days of submission unless amendments or additional information is requested.

Information must be provided within 21 days of a written request to avoid refusal, unless other arrangements are made with the building surveyor.

A building permit is issued with conditions to the approval. These conditions must be carefully read and understood prior to commencing work, and must be adhered to for the life of the work or the building.

If an application is refused due to non-compliance the applicant may lodge an appeal with the State Administrative Tribunal in accordance with the provisions under the Building Act.

For more information about the appeal process, please refer to the State Administrative Tribunal website.

A building permit is valid for two years from the date of issue, unless otherwise stated on the permit. 

Extending the duration of a building permit

If a project takes longer than expected, an application to extend the building permit (BA22) must be submitted to the City before the expiry date of the existing permit.

The City will consider each application on a case by case basis and may add, vary or revoke the conditions of the building permit. 

How much will it cost to extend my permit?

Statutory fees - fee description 2017/2018  GST included 

Application for building and demolition permit (Building Regulations 2012 - Schedule 2, Division 1)

   
Application to extend the time during which a building or demolition permit has effect (s.32(3) (f))   $97.70  exempt

Please note: Once an assessment has commenced, the prescribed permit fee is not refundable.

If an owner or an applicant decides they no longer want the City to assess a building permit application, it is possible to withdrawal the application if the application has been lodged but not yet assessed. A building application can only be withdrawn before the assessment of an application has started.

Either the Owner or the Applicant may withdraw an application by sending a written request to the City at eApplications@swan.wa.gov.au.

Once the request has been processed the City will issue a confirmation notice for the unassessed application. 

The Building Act 2011 does not allow a permit to be cancelled or withdrawn. It can only be suspended if the builder submits a notice of cessation (BA8).

Until a notice of cessation is issued to the City, the builder remains liable for ensuring that all building work complies with the Building Act 2011.

A permit does not have effect during the period starting from the day on which a notice of cessation is received by the City and the day the City approves a new builder.  

When can a permit be suspended?

 A permit can be suspended when:

  • the builder submits a Notice of Cessation (BA8), or
  • the builder’s registration or authority under the Registration Act ceases to have effect i.e. if a builder goes into receivership.

Who can suspend a permit?

Only the person named as the builder on a building permit may, before completion of the works or stage of work for which the permit was granted, formally advise the City that they are no longer the responsible person for the project. This is done by submitting a notice of cessation (BA8). The penalty for not complying is a fine of $10,000.

Within seven days of giving notice to the City, the builder must provide a copy of the notice to the owner of the building or incidental structure, as this alerts the owner to the cessation of work and suspension of the permit.

How to submit a notice of cessation

Please submit all notices of cessations to eApplications@swan.wa.gov.au.

A building permit is issued under the Building Act 2011 and is therefore a legal document. If there is a requirement to transfer the permit from one builder to another an application needs to be submitted to the City.

To address any copyright concerns, the City recommends that an owner obtains permission from the original builder to reuse the original permit documents, before nominating a new builder.

If you are not able to obtain permission to reuse the documents or you are unable to obtain a notice of cessation (BA8), then you will need to apply for a brand new permit.

When can a permit be transferred?

 A permit may be transferred if:

  • an owner decides they want to transfer the permit from one builder to another and has received a notice of cessation (BA8) from the original builder
  • a builder has gone into receivership.

Who can nominate a new builder?

An owner can nominate a new builder by submitting either a certified or uncertified building permit application to the City. 

The application type must match the original submission i.e. if a certified application was originally approved then you need to complete and submit a certified building permit application (BA1).  

What to submit

 In order for the City to transfer a permit from one builder to another we require the following documents:

  • A notice of cessation (BA8) which has been completed and signed by the builder named on the permit, or notification that a builder has gone into receivership.
  • If any building work has been performed the following will be required:
    • a comprehensive certification from a Structural Engineer
    • a detailed list of the works completed and a declaration from the new builder that the work complies with the approved permit.

How to submit an application to nominate a new builder

Please submit all applications to eApplications@swan.wa.gov.au

Once the application has been approved the City will issue a revised building permit building with the new builder’s details.

The revised building permit will retain the original building permit number but will have a suffix added i.e. BP-####-YYYY / A .