WA – HENDRY building surveyors advise it is important for building owners and managers to know how to apply to a building surveyor for a building licence or Provisional Approval under the Building Regulations before considering the appointment of consultants and contractors to perform services on their behalf. 

The following article will hopefully clarify the process.

Building Licences
Part 4 of the Building Regulations 1989 sets out the requirements for applying and obtaining a building licence.

Application
The Building Regulations 1989 describe the information that is required to be provided with an application for a building licence, including compliance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). It is important to check with the municipal building surveyor on how many copies of the required documentation will be needed to be submitted to the local government.

Drawings must clearly differentiation between proposed building work and the existing building – where building alterations are proposed. This may be done by way of colouring, shading, hatching, or the like. Colouring denoting material types may also be utilised.

Other Authorities
Building Regulation 8 requires that other authority approvals may be necessary prior to the issue of a building licence by the building surveyor. The builder must refer applications to those other authorities as required.

Building Licence Issuing
The documents must be stamped by the municipal building surveyor indicating the building licence number and date of issue.

Building Licence Duration
The Building Regulations provide limitations on the commencement and completion times for building projects. If building work is not substantially commenced within 12 months as specified in Building Regulation 15, the building licence shall be deemed void. It would be necessary to obtain the consent of the building surveyor for an extension of the commencement date of the building license.

If the works are not complete within 24 months of the date of issue, then the local government is authorised to issue a notice on the building. An application for an extension of time may be submitted to the local government for approval.

Information regarding parts of municipalities that have been designated as being subject to specific hazards such as flooding, termite infestation, bushfires etc. may be available at the council’s offices at no cost. However, should the applicant request advice of this nature in writing from the local government in respect of a specific property then the local government may charge a fee for that information.

In the case where a local government is requested to advise as to whether a planning approval is required for a particular development and, if so, whether it has been issued it will be necessary to check regarding fees (if any) with the planning department of the relevant local government.

Security Bond
Security bonds may be required by the local government where there is demolition work, removal or re-erection of a building.

Preliminary Plans and Provisional Approval
It is possible, with the written consent of the owner of the site, to lodge plans with the local government building surveyor for a report as to whether a proposal is capable of complying with the Building Regulations.

An application may also be made to the local government for its provisional approval of a proposed building. The application must consist of preliminary plans, a prescribed fee, and any specifications that the local government may require in issuing a provisional approval.

A provisional approval remains in force for a period of 12 months from the date of which it is issued.

A provisional approval allows the applicant, during the period of which it is valid, to procure the issue of a building licence for the commencement of works. It must be noted though that the final plans, drawings etc. must be in conformity with the provisional approval under the Building Regulations.