Building and planning approvals after a fire

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There are two steps that need to be considered before you start rebuilding your home after a bushfire. The first is planning approval (if required) and the second is a building permit.

Please note: this is general advice only as there may be different requirements in each situation.

 

  • Rebuilding your house in the same location as the destroyed house: Planning approval is not required if the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment has rated the location as BAL-29 or less.
  • Rebuilding your house in the same location as the destroyed house: Planning approval is required if the DFES BAL assessment has rated this location as BAL-40 or BAL-FZ (Flame Zone).
  • Rebuilding your house in a slightly different location, but the structure is still located within an approved building envelope: Planning approval is not required if your BAL assessment has rated the location as BAL-29 or less.
  • Rebuild your house in a different location: Planning approval is required. If the proposed new location achieves a lower Bushfire Attack Level than the original location, irrespective of the new build being closer to the lot boundaries, it will be assessed without neighbour referral.

Notes:
All approvals will require construction to meet the relevant standards under AS3959 – Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas, and provision for an Asset Protection Zone around the house.

Any applications for new a house that does not improve the BAL rating below a BAL-FZ /BAL -40 will need to be approved at a Council meeting.

In all situations, you require a current Building Permit to rebuild the house.

To get specific information about the planning requirements, please contact the City of Swan to speak with a planning officer.  

Get in contact with the City:

  • in person at the Administration Building in Midland,
  • phone 9267 9267, or
  • email swan@swan.wa.gov.au (please direct it to Planning and advising that it is regarding a Wooroloo/Gidgegannup bushfire affected property).

You may require to engage a BAL consultant (registered Bushfire Planning and Design (Bpad) practitioner) to provide additional BAL report(s) or advice.

You may claim the cost (up to $2,000) by providing the invoice and your bank details to the City’s Bushfire Recovery team. For more information please contact the Bushfire Recovery team on 0438 242 356 or email bushfirerecovergroup@swan.wa.gov.au

You will need to obtain planning approval prior to obtaining a building permit. We recommended you complete this process before lodging a Building Permit application.

The BAL Report will be required as part of your Building Permit application.

We recommended engaging with an industry professional (builder, designer, architect, BAL assessor or building surveyor) to assist you with building code / BAL matters and compliance in the early stages of the project.

There are two types of application:

  • Certified Application: A private building surveyor contractor certifies the proposed design for compliance with the Building Codes of Australia (BCA) before lodgement to the City.   Used for most house applications.
  • Uncertified Application: The City certifies the proposed design for compliance with the BCA at the time of lodgement to the City.  Used for many shed, carport, pool applications.

Application forms are available online.

Most houses are built by registered building companies. They arrange for the certification of the proposed building and then submit certified applications. 

Uncertified applications are common for sheds, patios, smaller housing renovations and some owner/builder projects.  If you are an owner/builder, a list of building surveyors can be found on the Building Commission website.

Please note: All owner builders will need to register with the Building Commission and engage with industry professionals themselves. 

The building surveyor contractor will advise what documentation is required to issue a ‘BA3 - Certificate of Design Compliance’ for your proposal. Generally speaking, you will need:

  • Complete set of plans,
  • Structural Engineers Certification,
  • Site soil and wind classification,
  • Contour / feature survey,
  • Termite management plan,
  • Standard specifications,
  • Energy efficiency report, and
  • BAL Report and BAL construction specifications.

A helpful starting point may be to get a copy of previous plans from the City (if available).  This can be provided free of charge by the City for bushfire-affected properties.  To obtain a copy, complete the copy of plans application form available on the City’s website and email it to copybuildplans@swan.wa.gov.au.

Clear site

1. Obtain Clearance Certificate from Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) (if not provided already).

General

2. Obtain a copy of your DFES BAL Report.|
3. Engage a ‘BPAD Practitioner’ to do a site specific BAL Assessment if required (up to $2,000 can be claimed back via our Bushfire Recovery team).
4. Consider whether to engage a builder or be an owner builder – seek advice from friends / family.
5. Develop a draft plan for your rebuild.

Health

6. Contact the City’s Environmental Health team to obtain information on onsite effluent disposal system requirements / limitations for your proposal.

Planning Development Approval (DA)

7. Contact our Planning Department to obtain a DA (if required).
8. Engage a builder to provide the City’s Planning team with further documentation and get an estimate of building costs.

~ DA approved / refused

Health

9. Contact the City’s Health Department to get approval, if a new septic system is proposed / required.

Building Surveyor

10. Engage with a Building Surveyor via Registered Builder to provide a ‘BA3 – Certificate of design compliance’ and supporting documentation.

Building Permit application

11. Submit:
o BA1 – Certified application for building permit
o BA2 - Uncertified application for building permit
o BA3 - Certificate of design compliance o Along with all supporting documentation

~ BP approved / refused

Approved:
12. Start building
Please do not start construction (of any part) until you have a Building Permit for the proposed works.