Building Compliance Introduction
Scribe Building Compliance will assist our clients and streamline the compliance and certification process enabling our clients to obtain certification, Building Permits and Occupancy Permits for their projects in a timely and cost effective manner. Our experience can directly contribute to savings in time and money whilst ensuring your project complies with the relevant codes and standards.
Scribe Building Compliance is a Registered Building Surveying Contractor (Reg No 425) committed to delivering accurate, personalised Building Surveying and Certification services to our clients. We pride ourselves on being a Western Australian company with ‘local’ experience, knowledge and an intimate understanding of the Northern, Southern and Metropolitan regions of our State.
Scribe Building Compliance believes in providing clients with the highest level of service and best advice in easy to understand terminology and language to effectively and efficiently convey the technical interpretation of the National Construction Code Building Code of Australia (NCC/BCA) and relevant Australian Standards and industry requirements as they relate to each project.
We understand the need to provide our clients with advice and information that is specifically tailored to each projects unique requirements to address a projects location, construction method, materials, budget and timeframes. We strongly encourage property owners/developers to seek compliance advice on their projects as early as possible in the design stage to minimise delays and provide our Building Surveyors with the opportunity to collaboratively assist clients design professionals to investigate cost effective design solutions or construction methodologies or alternate compliance solutions to be investigated and incorporated to prevent costly or complicated solutions being implemented at the end of the design or documentation process to meet a projects compliance obligations that can result in significant delays and additional cost to the project.
Scribe Building Compliance provides a range of services for residential, commercial, industrial, mining and government construction sectors of the Western Australian building industry tailored specifically for the size and complexity of your project.
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Preliminary NCC/BCA Assessment Report and Advice
An important part of our preliminary services to our clients is in the provision of a project specific “Preliminary Building Assessment Report” and advice. The report is based on a preliminary review of the project drawings and outlines areas of identified, or possible, non-compliances with respect to the requirements under the Building Code of Australia. The report also outlines documents and information required to be supplied in order to undertake and provide the Certificate of Design Compliance (CDC) prior to lodging for a Building Permit.
Ideally, a review and preliminary report is undertaken at the design stage of your project providing ample time for the findings, advice or recommendations to be acted on and incorporated into the project. This can be especially critical where an alternate solution is identified as a preferable course of action. (An alternate solution will require the services of a specialist consultant to be engaged by the client which although will attract a fee may provide significant savings, in time or money, at the time of construction)
The “Preliminary Building Assessment” report is designed to guide and assist your design professional through the compliance issues involved to ensure life safety, access for people with disabilities, amenity and optimum design are catered for and allowed for at an early stage. This allows more comprehensive budgets and design decisions to be made early in the design of the proposal and for compliant documentation to be submitted at the Development Approval stage thus speeding up the approval process.
As part of our personalised service for our clients we offer direct contact to our Building Surveyor to respond as quickly as possible to general queries that you may have regarding compliance issues with your project. This can be especially beneficial when determining critical design issues associated with access or fire and life safety.
Building Code Compliance & Certification
With the introduction of the Building Act in 2011, it enabled works (projects) to be privately certified, which meant private Building Surveyors could review project documentation and certify it as compliant with the current National Construction Code Series – Building Code of Australia Volumes 1 and 2. The intention was to provide more certainty for applicants and significantly reduce the processing time associated with Building Permit Applications submitted to the Local Authorities (Shire, Town, City). Prior to the introduction of the Building Act applications for Building Permits were formally submitted to the Local Authority for approval, now the process has been split into a two stage process whereby documentation can be reviewed and certified by a private Registered Building Surveying Contractor prior to submission to your local authority for your Building Permit. This process has resulted in significant time savings for applicants and allowed projects to progress through the documentation and approval process more efficiently.
Under the regulations an application for a Residential house or small shed or structure on a residential lot (Class 1 or 10 building) can be submitted directly to your local City/Town/Shire as an “Application for Building Permit Uncertified” (Form BA2) however applications for Grouped Dwellings, Multi-Residential Units, Commercial, Industrial, Public Buildings etc (Classes 2 – 9) must be privately certified prior to the submission of an “Application for Building Permit Certified” (Form BA1) is presented to your local City/Town/Shire for approval. (Clients can also chose to have a Class 1 or 10 project privately certified) With a certified application the Permit Authority (City/Town/Shire) has 10 business days to process and approve the application.
Under the Building Act (2011) there are three primary areas of Certification that cover new and existing building works. These are; Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3), Certificate of Construction Compliance (B17), and Certificate of Building Compliance (BA18). Each of these certificates and the role they play in the approval process are outlined under Private Certification
Certificate of Design Compliance (CDC) – Building Commission Form BA3
Form: Download Form BA3
The Certificate of Design Compliance (CDC) is a document completed by your chosen Registered Building Surveying Contractor that acknowledges and certifies that all drawings, specifications, technical documents/data and other relevant information required for a CDC complies with the applicable building standards nominated within the NCC/BCA.
The CDC document identifies, and will include, stamped certified copies of, all plans/drawings, specifications, technical documents/data along with the completed BA3 form.
In addition to the Certificate of Design Compliance, your local Permit Authority will also require the following information to be provided (if applicable) by your selected builder.
Class 1 and 10 buildings
- A copy of the Home Indemnity Insurance (for works over $20,000), or
- A copy of the Owner Builder Approval
- Water Services Notification
- A Completed BA20 – for Works Affecting Other Land
- Septic System Approval – Apparatus for the Treatment of Sewerage
- Heritage Council of WA approval
Class 2 to 9 buildings
- A copy of the Owner Builder Approval
- Water Services Notification
- Health Department Clearance/Approval – for Aquatic Facilities
- Septic System Approval – Apparatus for the Treatment of Sewerage
- Heritage Council of WA approval
The completed CDC including all nominated and certified drawings, specifications, technical documents/data and supporting additional approvals/clearances are then submitted to your local Permit Authority (City/Town/Shire) whom then have 10 working days to approve the Building Permit.
Certificate of Construction Compliance (CCC) – Building Commission Form B17
Form: Download Form B17
A Certificate of Construction Compliance (CCC) only relates to new class 2 to 9 buildings/works and is issued upon completion of the works to provide confirmation to the Permit Authority (City/Town/Shire) that the works have been constructed in accordance with the certified and approved CDC documents.
A CCC is required to make an Application for Occupancy Permit (Form BA9) from the local Permit Authority (City/Town/Shire).
Form: Download form BA9
A CCC will require your Registered Building Surveying Contractor to undertake, at least one, inspections of the works and may require several inspections at key stages throughout the construction process in order for them to certify the works. The number of inspections will generally relate to the complexity of the works and key items associated with fire and life safety.
Certificate of Building Compliance (CBC) – Building Commission Form BA18
Form: Download form BA18
The Certificate of Building Compliance (CBC) generally relates to existing structures/buildings and is used to certify the following works:
- Temporary modification of the Occupancy Permit (Section 48)
- Change of Building Use/Classification (Section 49)
- Built Strata (Section 50)
- Unauthorised Works (Section 51)
- Existing authorized Buildings (Section 52)
A CBC is most commonly utilized to certify unauthorized works or obtain a Built Strata.
Comprehensive Check sheets and Guidance notes are provided to clients upon engagement of Scribe Building Compliance to provide assistance to our clients, and their representatives, through each of certificate processes.
Unauthorised Building Works (Certificate of Building Compliance)
There are a large number of circumstances that can result in all or part of a completed building not complying with the requirements of the Local Authority (Shire/Town/City) or a part(s) of the National Construction Code Building Code of Australia.
The resolution and certification of Unauthorized Building Works can be a complex procedure and the time and cost associated with the approval of the works will depend heavily on the circumstances, documentation, timeframe, access and workmanship associated with the unauthorized works.
Scribe Building Compliance has undertaken a number of Certificate of Building Compliance (CBC) projects and understands the need for a coordinated and organized approach through the process.
Depending on the extent and complexity of the Unauthorized Works it may be necessary to engage a Structural Engineer and Architect/Draftsperson to assist in preparation or verification of documentation suitable to be certified and compliant under the requirements of the NCC/BCA and Local Authority Building Service Department and/or Planning Department.
Scribe Building Compliance will work closely with you, your builder (if there is one involved), the Local Authority, Engineers and architect to tailor a service specific to your projects requirements and to achieve the necessary solution to provide the necessary documentation and certifications to satisfy the local Authority’s requirements.
It must be noted that in some situations the removal of some building elements, partial demolition or destructive testing may be required to establish the necessary information to confirm compliance. Wherever possible we try to avoid this level of investigation however there may be no other method available to provide the level of certainty required for compliance. Any and all testing or processes that may involve this level of investigation will be communicated fully to you and the extent of investigation clearly outlined with specific outcomes noted.
As outlined within our Private Certification section, some certificates require additional approvals and information as part of the application for Building Permit from the local Permit Authority (City/Town/Shire). Scribe Building Compliance can assist with the receipt and provision of these various approvals if required.
Scribe Building Compliance mandate is to assist clients through the Building Permit approval process and therefore our staff tailor their service to provide clients with the necessary assistance. Whether you are going through the design and construct process for the first time or you are a builder or developer who requires building surveying services regularly we endeavor to make the process of building compliance and certification as streamlined as possible.
All clients are provided with comprehensive checklists and guides that outline all the required documents, approvals, forms that will be required for certification to be undertaken and the lodgment of the necessary documentation for the Local Authority to approve a Building Permit.
Scribe Building Compliance will even submit all documentation to the Local Authority on your request.
Building Inspections and Reports
Scribe Building Compliance are able to provide clients with inspection services to review a range of building elements for issues associated with compliance or non-compliance. When undertaking the certification process our building surveyor(s) may identify a requirement for specific elements to be inspected during the construction process. If specific inspections are required the client and building contractor will be provided with a schedule outlining the timing or specific elements to be inspected to facilitate the scheduling and programming of the inspections into the contraction Gantt chant/schedule.
On larger projects scheduled inspections can be undertaken to coincide with project milestones or pre/post specific building elements to provide the client with peace-of-mind that elements critical to the safety and classification of the building have been undertaken correctly and integrated into the building structure/fabric in accordance with the Building Code of Australia or Australian Standard.
Built Strata Inspections and Certification
Strata Titling is defined on the Strata Community Australia (WA) website as “a defined portion of a building, group of buildings or land for which a separate Certificate of Title is issued”. In Western Australia, strata titled properties must comply and adhere to the “Strata Titles Act 1985” and are required to be registered with Landgate. Strata Titled property will result in individual ownership of specifically nominated parts of property or building that are given individual ‘Lot’ numbers and are noted on the property title. Strata Titled properties will also generally include a portion of the property that has ‘Shared Ownership’ with all other parties of Strata Titled property, through a Strata Company, which is commonly referred to as “Common Property”. (Common Property generally includes; driveways, gardens, lobbies/foyers, paths/walkways etc)
As part of the Application process for achieving Built-Strata approval a Building Surveyor must be engaged to undertake a number of inspections and provide certification that the building has been built in compliance with the approved plans and that the building complies with the Strata Plan prepared by the licensed Land Surveyor. Scribe Building Compliance are able to undertake the required inspections and provide the formal certification required to be presented to Landgate and the Local Authority for the approval of the Built Strata Development.
Generally a local Authority will require the following documentation to be supplied for a Built Strata Application:
- Strata/Survey – Strata Plans
- Annexes Sheet (where necessary)
- Certificate of Licensed Surveyor
- BA11 Application for Occupancy Permit – Strata; for all Class 2-9 commercial Buildings; or
- BA15 Application for Building Approval Certificate – Strata for all Class 1 & 10 residential and incidental Buildings.
- Applications will also need to include a Certificate of Building Compliance (BA18) issued in accordance with the Building Act 2011 s.57 and the Building Regulations 2012 r.36 for both new and existing buildings.
- Form 26 Certificate of Grant of Approval by WAPC to the Strata Plan
- Note: Form 26 WAPC approval is required only when:
- The Strata Scheme is a residential development of more than five (5) dwelling units situated on a parcel of no more than 2500m2; and for
- All commercial/industrial (class 2 – 9) developments; or
- A vacant strata lot is to be created as part of the proposal.
We strongly recommend engaging a Building Surveyor to assist with the process and liaison with the Local Authority when undertaking Built Strata applications to ensure that there are no issues with Unauthorised Works being present on the property or discovering that an occupancy approval has not been issued by the Local Authority. These situations can result in costly delays and frustration for the property owners.
Due Diligence Reports / Building Audits
Prior to moving premises, upgrading a property, renewing or putting a property up for lease or altering or renovating an existing building it is wise to engage Scribe Building Compliance to undertake a Building Audit to identify any compliance obligations/issues that may need to be addressed to satisfy current code requirements that may be required due to the proposed changes to a premises or residence.
Scribe Building Compliance will undertake desk top analysis in conjunction with onsite inspections and investigation to establish:
- The Codes and Regulations applicable at the time of the buildings construction or alteration
- The buildings compliance with current codes, standards and technical regulations
- Measures/works that will need to be undertaken to bring the building up to current or required codes and regulations or to address compliance obligations under the new codes
- Identify issues associated with the current building condition or building services (including Fire hose reels, hydrants, emergency lighting, mechanical services, electrical services, plumbing)
- Identify alternate solutions or exemptions that may be available.
Scribe Building Compliance can work with you to tailor a package that suits your specific needs and timeframes.
Universal (Disability) Access Audits
Scribe Building Compliance understands the need to ensure buildings and public spaces comply with the requirements of NCC/BCA, Disability Discrimination Act and Australian Standard AS1428 suite of standards and AS2890.6 (parking) to provide equity and amenity for all members of society.
An Access Audit includes a survey of existing buildings and provision of an access compliance report which highlights areas of non-compliance with the Premises Standard – Disability Access Code for buildings and the BCA access provisions. This can be used to budget for or to upgrade an existing building to meet current legal requirements or as part of a Disability and Inclusion Services Plan. The report includes a comprehensive list of areas of compliance and most importantly areas of non-compliance and offers suggestions and possible solutions to remedy the areas of non- compliance.
Universal Access Audits can also prove to be extremely beneficial for clients looking to move premises or wanting to change the building classification on all or part of an existing building. An audit of the premises can quickly reveal if there are any access issues associated with; front entry doors, passage ways, internal doors, circulation spaces, stairs, ramps, lifts, toilets, light switch and door handle heights, and car parking.
Scribe Building Compliance has developed a comprehensive checklist as well as a suite of Advisory Notes developed for client information and education:
- Access Provisions – Ambulant Facilities
- Access Provisions – Existing Buildings
- Access Provisions – Class 1B Buildings
- AS1428.1 – 2009 Handrail Details for Compliance
Performance Based BCA Solutions
The National Construction Code/Building Code of Australia (NCC/BCA) provides two primary means of compliance; “Deemed-To-Comply” and “Alternate Solutions”.
The Deemed-To-Comply provisions provide a series of prescriptive and quantitative criteria that enables users to easily identify and provide compliance with the requirements nominated. For example: if the NCC/BCA requires an insulation rating of R2.8 it can be achieved by nominating/specifying a product or system that has been tested and provides certification that it complies with that requirement.
However, there are certain instances, especially when a project involves additions or alterations to an existing building or structure where compliance with the Deemed-to-Comply provisions is not a straightforward process. This is where the NCC/BCA allows design professional, consultants, engineers and building surveyors to investigate “Alternate Solutions” that are in compliance with the performance based, qualitative criteria nominated within the NCC/BCA to achieve compliance.
Scribe Building Compliance understands that adhering to the Deemed-to-Comply provisions of the NCC/BCA does not always provide the best project outcome or cost effective solutions for some projects and therefore we believe in examining each project closely to evaluate and ensure the best solutions are being provided to our clients.
When developing “Alternate Solutions” there is often the need to engage external consultants with specific experience or expertise in the area being examined. The engagement of a specialist consultant can attract additional fees that are often seen as prohibitive in the early stages of a project however our experience has shown that the savings in construction cost are matched or significantly better than undertaking a Deemed-to-Comply solution.
Our Building Surveyor(s) can work with your design and consultant team to identify areas where an ‘Alternate Solution’ may be required and coordinate the necessary team members to formulate a suitable, and quantifiable, alternate solution that complies with the requirements nominated under the NCC/BCA.
New Technology and Building Materials Appraisals
As part of an ‘innovative’ nation, companies and individuals are constantly looking to develop a product or process that improves our lives or provides benefit over existing technologies, products or processes. Scribe Building Compliance can work with you to evaluate products and provide advice on the NCC/BCA compliance requirements with the view of establishing quantitative data that can be used to certify your product or process as compliant with the requirements of the NCC/BCA and facilitate the endorse of that product, process or material for use in the Australian Building Industry.
As part of the process of evaluating and verifying new technology, building materials or processes there is a need to work closely with a range of specialist consultants and testing authorities to ensure sampling, test processes and results are undertaken in accordance with relevant Australian Standards or industry protocols to ensure the result adhere to stipulated requirements and that the results are accurate.
Our building surveyor(s) have experience working with clients on a range of products to develop, verify and certify new technology, building materials and processes. We understand that there is strong need to maintain confidentiality throughout the process and will work closely with clients to develop project specific protocols and methodologies to ensure information is kept confidential and private throughout the process.
With ever increasing cost of construction driving a need to seek alternatives to standard building practices there is a strong focus within some sectors of the construction industry to look at the benefits and drawbacks of Modular Construction.
Scribe Building Compliance has worked a number of design professionals and developers to investigate this type of construction and to formulate construction methodologies and materials to achieve compliance with the requirements nominated for Modular Construction within the NCC/BCA.