Keep plan­ning rules in mind

Pilbara News - - Property - Dianne Gil­le­land Dianne Gil­le­land is the re­gional man­ager of Mas­ter Builders in the Mid West-North West.


Un­der what cir­cum­stances do you need to get coun­cil ap­proval for any walls, fenc­ing, decks or pergolas at the front or back of your prop­erty?


Build­ing work must meet the re­quire­ments of both plan­ning and build­ing leg­is­la­tion.

Each is a sep­a­rate as­sess­ment and ap­proval process that de­ter­mines the com­pli­ance of de­vel­op­ment (con­struc­tion and other work, such as clear­ing land).

You might not re­quire a build­ing per­mit for a small shed, but plan­ning re­quire­ments might not per­mit the shed to be lo­cated in the front yard or ad­ja­cent to neigh­bour­ing land.

You must en­sure you meet both plan­ning and build­ing leg­is­la­tion with all works you are propos­ing.

New build­ing leg­is­la­tion in place since April 2, 2012, pro­vides a more con­sis­tent ap­proach to mi­nor struc­tures.

The Build­ing Reg­u­la­tions 2012 in­clude a sched­ule of build­ing work that is ex­empt from re­quir­ing a build­ing per­mit.

It is im­por­tant to note that as the owner of the land, you are re­spon­si­ble to en­sure build­ing work com­plies with rel­e­vant build­ing stan­dards and other leg­is­la­tion.

For ex­am­ple, you can­not build cer­tain build­ings over ef­flu­ent dis­posal sys­tems, and must com­ply with Res­i­den­tial Plan­ning Code (R-Codes). Ac­cess to the R-Codes is avail­able on the Depart­ment of Plan­ning Web­site, www.plan­

The fol­low­ing list is a guide to some of the build­ing work that might not re­quire a build­ing per­mit:

■ Re­tain­ing walls less than 500mm high not sup­port­ing neigh­bour­ing land and not as­so­ci­ated with other build­ing work.

(If you are in­stalling a re­tain­ing wall and ex­tend­ing your home, you would need to in­clude the re­tain­ing wall on the plans for the ap­pli­ca­tion and ap­proval.)

■ Free­stand­ing shed-type build­ings that are less than 10sqm, no higher than 2.4m and not lo­cated in a cy­clonic area do not re­quire a build­ing per­mit.

■ Con­struc­tion of a per­gola (un­roofed struc­ture) with an area not ex­ceed­ing 20sqm, with a height not more than 2.4m and not lo­cated in a cy­clonic area.

■ Ren­o­vat­ing, al­ter­ing, im­prov­ing or main­te­nance work on ex­ist­ing build­ings does not re­quire a build­ing per­mit.

This is only valid if the work be­ing un­der­taken does not in­clude struc­tural work or an in­crease or de­crease in the ex­ist­ing floor area.

Keep in mind that the work must in­clude the same, or sim­i­lar ma­te­ri­als be­ing re­placed, the build­ing is not chang­ing use (i.e. chang­ing a garage into a games room).

The work must still be com­pli­ant with rel­e­vant codes and stan­dards, and the build­ing is not sub­ject to an or­der, agree­ment, or per­mit un­der the Her­itage Act.

■ Bound­ary fences in non-cy­clonic ar­eas do not re­quire a build­ing per­mit if they meet the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of any lo­cal laws of the coun­cil, with the ex­cep­tion of ma­sonry walls greater than 750mm in height and swim­ming pool safety bar­ri­ers for new pools.

■ Wa­ter tanks with less than 5000-litre ca­pac­ity.

■ Pho­to­voltaic pan­els or so­lar hot-wa­ter sys­tems on do­mes­tic build­ings.

Al­though I have sum­marised the main ex­empt struc­tures and build­ing work, it is al­ways pru­dent to con­tact your lo­cal coun­cil to check any re­quire­ments that may be rel­e­vant for your home.

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