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Frequently Asked Questions
What does a Building Surveyor do?
The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) nominates a Building Surveyors role as having “a statutory responsibility for ensuring buildings are safe to occupy, energy efficient, accessible and meet all legal requirements. They review, analyse and assess plans for compliance to current standard, conduct inspections and issue relevant legislative permits, certification and approvals.”
Additionally, Building Surveyors need to be aware and be competent in their knowledge of local authority, relevant state/territory legislation, guidelines and policies, National Construction Code/Building Code of Australia requirements, associated Australian Standards, industry codes and standards as well as keeping abreast of industry changes and innovation both technically and organisationally.
A Building Surveyor is a crucial resource in today’s building and construction industry and selecting the right one can save you thousands of dollars in time and/or construction costs.
What is the difference between a certified and uncertified application?
A certified application is one that a registered private building surveyor has reviewed, verified and formally certified. A certified application is accompanied by a signed Certificate of Design Compliance (CDC – Form BA3) which notes the drawing(s), specification(s) and technical document(s) that have been verified and form the certified construction documentation. The documents are generally bound into a single document (electronically) and digitally stamped for submission to the Permit/Local Authority for review prior to them issuing a Building Permit. For class 2-9 buildings (any building other than a single residential dwelling/house) an application must be certified be a registered building surveying contractor/practitioner. Under the Building Act a Permit Authority has 10 days to review the application and issue an approval or refusal of the application for Building Permit.
An uncertified application relates primarily to single residential dwellings and grouped dwelling developments on single residential lots. These are deemed as Class 1a buildings under the NCC/BCA. An uncertified application has not been reviewed, verified or certified by a Registered Building Surveying Contractor/Practitioner. Uncertified applications are review and certified by Building Surveyors within the Local Authority’s Building Department. The local authority can take up to 25 working days to approve or refuse an application.
What is Registered Building Surveying Contractor/Practitioner?
The Government of Western Australia through the Department of Commerce’s Building Commission have established a system of registration for Building Surveying companies and individual Building Surveyors.
Under the Building Services (registration) Regulations 2011 Building Surveying companies and individuals are required to provide documented evidence of their qualification and experience to become registered.
A company is nominated as a Registered Building Surveying Contractor; and
An individual is nominated as a Registered Building Surveying Practitioner on the Register.
How long does a Building Permit Take?
The Permit/Local Authority can take 10 working days to approve or refuse a Certified Building Permit Application.
The Permit/Local Authority has 25 working days to approve or refuse an uncertified Building Permit.
Do I need a Building Permit?
Generally Yes all building works requires a Building Permit, however under the Building Regulations 2012 (WA) there are exclusions (that vary in time) for works that do not require a building permit. Most local authorities (Shire/Town/City) will be able to provide you with a list of structure that will require, and are exempt, a building permit within their jurisdiction. We would strongly suggest contacting your local authority for guidance as although items like shed less than 10m² and not more than 2.4m in height, minor internal renovations that do not affect the structural soundness of the building, fences, photovoltaic (solar) panels, rain water tanks (less than 5000lt) etc, many local authorities have policies covering these items and may require planning approval, or provide guidelines to their location and concealment from the street view or your property, prior to installation. Planning approval will require an application and fee for lodgement and may not always result in approval.
What are the fees associated with a Building Permit?
Local Authority Fees for Building Permits vary for certified and uncertified applications.
Currently the fees for certified applications are 0.09% of estimated value of works (minimum fee payable $95) in addition local authorities may request a Building Services Levy that varies with the cost of the project, and for works over $20,000 a Construction Training Fund Levy of 0.2% of estimated value of works is required.
Local Authority Fees for uncertified applications (Class 1 and Class 10 only) will be 0.32% of estimated value of works (minimum fee payable $95) in addition local authorities may request a Building Services Levy that varies with the cost of the project, and for works over $20,000 a Construction Training Fund Levy of 0.2% of estimated value of works is required.
What is an Occupancy Permit (BA9), and do I need one?
This will depend on the type of building/structure that is being completed/occupied.
If you are building a Class 1a (single house or grouped dwelling) or Class 10a (shed) structure then there is no requirement under the Building Act 2011 (WA) for an occupancy permit. Upon completion of the construction the nominated builder (person/company nominated on the Building Permit) must issue a form BA7 “Notice of Completion” to the Local Authority (Building Permit issuer) within 7 days of completing the works. The house or shed can then be occupied/used straight away.
For any other class of building Class 2-9, then an Occupancy Permit is required. As with class 1 and Class 10 buidlings/structures the builder will need to issue a form BA7 “Notice of Completion” however there will also be a requirement to have a building surveyor (preferably the surveyor who issued the CDC) issue a Form BA17 “Certificate of Construction Compliance” (CCC).
A CCC will generally require an inspection of the project as well as the builder providing evidence and trade certificates (electrical, plumbing, fire services, fire rating etc, expert inspections through the construction process) confirming materials and workmanship have been undertaken in compliance with the drawings, specification and technical data that formed the Certificate of Design Compliance and Building Permit. Note, variations to the approved the drawings, specification and technical data during the construction of a project should be confirmed with your Building Surveyor to ensure that any variation does not affect the conditions of the CDC or Building Permit.
Following the issuance of a CCC the builder, or building surveyor, will submit the CCC, BA7 Notice of Completion and a form BA9 “Application for Occupancy Permit” signed by the owner/occupier, to the local authority from whom the Occupancy Permit is required. The authority has 10 days to process the application during which time they may chose to inspect the premises or request additional information from the applicant. The applicant will then have 21 days to provide the requested information.
The local authority will have an application fee for the Occupancy Permit and may additionally have a Building Services levy payable as well. Occupancy Permit applications for unauthorised works will generally attracted a higher fee.
Applications for Temporary Occupancy Permits can also be made.