Building Approval Process - Advice Notes

Building Commission's Keys to Quick Approvals Guide

Choosing the right permit

When is a building permit required?

Generally, a building permit is required before any building work can be carried out. A registered building surveyor is engaged by the applicant to certify compliance to the building standards by issuing a Certificate of Design Compliance (CDC).

Are there exemptions?

Yes. Schedule 4 of the Building Regulations 2012 sets out work for which a building permit is not required.

Is consent required (does work affect other land)?

There are two instances where work affecting other land requires consent or a court order to be provided as part of a permit application:

 1. Encroachment – This is where a part of a proposed building is over a boundary or using the land on another property for support.

2. Work adversely affecting an adjoining property – This is where the building work being undertaken will adversely affect the stability, bearing capacity or natural site drainage of the adjoining land or structure.

Where work is affecting other land by either encroachment or adverse effect, the adjoining landowner’s consent is required prior to making a permit application. This consent forms part of the permit application. In the event consent cannot be gained, a court order must be obtained and submitted with the permit application.

In some instances, building or demolition work that does not encroach or adversely affect adjoining land may still require the adjoining owner’s consent. In this instance you may use either a BA20A form, email or any other correspondence confirming you have the adjoining owner’s consent. Consent is not required prior to making a permit application.

For more information on work affecting other land, see the fact sheet on the Building Commission’s website

The Building Act 2011 does not require you to get approval from adjoining owners to remove a fence to build an approved zero lot wall, but you must get neighbour consent if you want to access the adjoining land to build it. If the adjoining land is vacant or unoccupied, you do not need to get neighbour consent for access.

Notification to Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Details of proposed commercial buildings as prescribed in the Building Regulations 2012 are required to be submitted to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) for comment on operational requirements.

Fees and Charges

The Building Regulations 2012 prescribe set fees for all applications to permit authorities. Certification fees for obtaining a certificate of design compliance or other certificates are not regulated and are set by the registered building surveyor engaged.

Know the players in the process

The legislation requires all parties associated with building or demolition to be involved in the process, including the following:


A person whose name is registered as a proprietor of the land; the State if registered as a proprietor of the land; or a person who holds a prescribed interest in the land, as stated in the Building Regulations 2012.


The person responsible for the work being carried out under the building permit. Where works are required to be undertaken by a registered builder this is a person registered as a building contractor under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011.

Building surveyor

A person who is a registered building surveyor, as defined in section 3 of the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011.

Permit authority

Usually a local government in whose district the building or incidental structure is, or is proposed to be, located; a special permit authority; or the State Government.


The person making the application. This can be the owner, the designer, the builder or anyone else engaged to get the permits for a project.

The roles and responsibilities of the four key players (the applicant, builder, building surveyor & permit authority) are outlined in the table here.


Applications for building, demolition, and occupancy permits, or building approval certificates, can be submitted:

  • In person by visiting the Shire of Ashburton Administration Building, Lot 246 Poinicana Street, Tom Price;
  • Via post to the Property and Development Services Department, PO Box 567 TOM PRICE  WA  6751 or
  • Emailing your application to [email protected].

Be aware of timeframe

When does the clock start?

Permit authorities have a fixed amount of time to issue or refuse a permit application. The point at which the permit authority’s timeframe for assessing an application starts is referred to as ‘starting the clock’. The point at which the clock starts depends on the method of application. Click here to view a table of these timeframes.

To view a table that lists the length of time the permit authority has to consider the application and issue a permit click here