Building

A Building Permit is required if you intend to construct, alter, add to or repair a building or structure within the Shire of Kojonup.  Types of buildings and structures include houses, garages, car ports, sheds, swimming pools, farm buildings, retaining walls and commercial buildings.

Building Approval Process

The Building Act 2011 came into effect on 2 April 2012 changing the building approval process in WA to provide more flexibility and choice for both builders and building owners. The Act has removed Local Government as the sole building assessors and now allows for private certification of building plans.

Project owners have two options under the new Act in applying for a building permit. Applications are either “uncertified” or “certified”. “Certified” applications involve the engagement of private building surveyor contractors (i.e. private certifiers) who will provide certification services such as a Certificate of Design Compliance, which accompanies a certified building permit application and a Certificate of Construction Compliance or a Certificate of Building Compliance which will accompany applications for occupancy permits, building approval certificates, or applications for strata title.

Applications for domestic structures like houses, garages, retaining walls and swimming pools (i.e. Class 1 and 10 buildings) can either be lodged as certified or uncertified applications. Applications for all other building types must be accompanied by a Certificate of Design Compliance.

Applicant’s choosing the “certified” application process will be required to have obtained all necessary approvals (i.e. planning, heritage, environmental health) prior to lodging a building application. The application must be processed by the Shire and permits issued within 10 business days of the date of lodgement. “Uncertified” applications are essentially assessed and certified by the Shire; and must be processed within 25 business days of lodgement.

A certificate of design compliance is issued by a registered building surveyor (in private practice or local government) to confirm the suitability of a building.  A building permit is issued by the local government permit authority to confirm approval to build. Building companies are free to contract (but not directly employ) registered building surveyors and offer certification as part of the building service to their customers.

What is the difference between Uncertified and Certified applications?

In the uncertified application process you will lodge all of the documentation with the local government who will have it assessed for compliance with the Building Code of Australia. If compliant the local government will issue a "Design Compliance Certificate" which, once issued, allows the local government/ Permit Authority to issue a Building Permit.

If you choose to lodge an uncertified application, or a “BA2”, (form available here) then as a minimum the Shire of Kojonup will require the following information to be submitted:

  • Two copies of a site plan showing:
    • Title block (owner name, address of development);
    • Scale and north arrow;
    • Size, shape and position of block;
    • Dimensions and position of proposed and existing buildings, showing distance to lot boundaries;
    • Finished floor levels relative to ground level and datum;
    • Proposed/existing crossover; and
    • Onsite effluent disposal system location.
  • Two copies of full working drawings and specifications, including fully dimensional floor plan, two elevations, ceiling height, window sizes, ventilation, storm water disposal and all structural detail (e.g. timber sizes, grades, centres, spans, footing details, concrete and wall thickness);
  • If the building is to be built in a designated bushfire prone area (please click the link to see if you will be building here), then a site specific Bushfire Attack Level report, prepared by an accredited practitioner (please see who is a accredited practitioner here) and accompanying construction specifications;
  • Completed application form and fees;
  • Site classification report, undertaken or endorsed by a Practicing Structural Engineer;
  • Completed BCITF form for works over $20 000 in value;
  • For works over $20 000, a Registered Builder or Owner Builder needs to be nominated (more information about Owner Builder’s available from here);
  • If a Registered Builder is carrying out the work a copy of the Home Indemnity Insurance is required to be provided; and
  • Structural Engineers details for footings, two (or more) storey construction, retaining walls over 500mm high, or where requested if you choose to lodge a certified application, or a “BA1” form available from here, the level of detail will be determined by the Registered Building Surveyor Contractor you have engaged to assess the plans.The list of Registered Building Surveyor Contractors is available to download from here.

Please note that whatever type of application is made, building must NOT commence until a building permit has been issued.

More information about the various building application types and process is available here.

Information about considerations when building or renovating a home is available here.

National Construction Code

On 30 May 2014, the Australian Building Ministers’ Forum agreed in principle to make the 2015 National Construction Code (NCC) and future editions freely available online, significantly contributing to reducing the burden of building regulation. The NCC, the minimum building requirements, is available to download here.

What are my responsibilities as the applicant?

Under the Building Act you are responsible to ensure that ALL relevant approvals are in place before the application is made for a Building Permit such as Shire development approval and approvals to install onsite effluent disposal systems.

May I lodge my application and provide other information later?

Yes you may but the timeframe is very limited for ensuring that the information provided is correct. Any additional information required to complete your assessment must be provided to the Shire within twenty one (21) days from the day it is requested.

What happens if the Shire takes longer than the prescribed time?

If the Shire does not determine the application in the prescribed time then the application is deemed refused and the Shire is required to return in full the fees paid for the application. However if the Shire has requested additional information and the information is not provided within the prescribed time then the application is deemed refused and the Shire retains the fees paid.

Application fees and charges

The fees for applications depend on the type of application made and the value of works.

When estimating the value of building work, the Building Regulations 2012 requires that the value of works is the sum of the value of the following relevant components (including GST):

  • All goods (including manufactured goods forming part of the work);
  • Labour;
  • Services necessary e.g. water supply, sewerage connection/onsite effluent, power supply;
  • Fees payable;
  • Overheads to be met; and
  • Profit margin.

As a builder what are my responsibilities?

As the builder you are responsible to:

  • Ensure that you build your building in accordance with the approved Building Permit;
  • Ensure that all inspections noted on the Building Permit are carried out by a competent person; and
  • Provide notification to the Permit Authority within seven (7) days of completion of the building works being undertaken by the Building Permit issued.

Where can I get the forms?

The Building Act 2011 prescribes the format to which local governments are to accept applications. The various forms are available here.  

Demolition

Demolition involves removal of all or part of a building. Removal can be for proposed development or additions to an existing building.

Land owners have a statutory obligation to advise the Shire of any additions or alterations to a building. Demolition is considered an alteration to a building and requires approval from the Shire.

All demolition applications must include the following:

  • Site plan at a scale of no less than 1:200 showing the lot size and location of all buildings, with the building(s) to be demolished clearly defined;
  • Photographs of the building or building part to be demolished;
  • Application form signed by the applicant; and
  • Where WorkSafe requires the demolition to be carried out by a licensed contractor, the registration number of the contractor must be included.

The application form, “BA5”, is available to download here.

Licensed contractor

Under WorkSafe legislation, it may be necessary to engage a licensed contractor for demolition work of a particular size or type, or where there is asbestos on site.

The register of licenced contractors is available here.

The register of registered asbestos handlers is available here.

Fencing

The Shire of Kojonup adopted a Fencing Local Law that came into operation in June 2020.

While Dividing Fences are administered by the State Government, via the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website, The Shire’s Local Law  prescribes what a sufficient fence is and the minimum standard for the construction and maintenance of fences throughout the Shire.

Approval from the Shire of Kojonup is not required for a front fence where the fence:

  1. Is constructed of new materials
  2. Is less than 1.2m high, if constructed from any other material other than masonry
  3. Is less than 0.75m high, if constructed from masonry
  4. Is splayed for lines of vision for a motorist using the driveway, unless the fence is of an open construction that does not obscure the lines of vision.

In relation to item 4, the diagram below, from the Residential Design Codes, Volume 1, illustrates that the fence, if constructed of solid material, is to be placed on an angle, 1.5m wide and deep from the driveway access point. The intent of this is to ensure that motorists in their vehicles have clear sight lines from the driveway over the footpath and onto the road. This would not apply to a fence of open construction, or if the fence was reduced in height to 0.75m for 1.5m either side of the driveway.

Any front fencing needs to be constructed on or within the property boundary. The only people who can confirm a property boundary location is a Licensed Land Surveyor. Residents are encouraged to undertake a “Dial Before You Dig” search prior to undertaking any works close to their front boundary.

Erecting Sheds on Farms/Rural Properties

There are some building permit and development approval exemptions for some building works outside of the townsites within the Shire of Kojonup. The building classification is considered on a case by case basis. To assist us to establish the correct classification and establish if development approval is required for your new shed, the following information is required to be provided:

  • Site plan showing the proposed location of the new building with reference to existing buildings (including any existing dwellings on the lot) and property boundaries. Existing buildings to be named e.g. “dwelling”, “worker’s accommodation”, “shed” etc.;
  • If the lot where the building is to be located is part of a larger farm, then this needs to be shown/described;
  • Floor Plan that clearly shows the size of the proposed building;
  • Elevation that clearly shows the height of the proposed building; and
  • Written information from the landowner that confirms: Use of the property, Intended use of the proposed building, Frequency of use of the proposed building, Number of persons likely to use the building/employed at the property.

We aim to respond to these enquiries and confirm development and or building permit requirements within 5 business days.

Onsite Effluent Disposal Information (Septic Tanks)

The sewer system within the Kojonup townsite is owned and operated by the Water Corporation. To find out if your property has sewer available conduct a search of the Water Corporation’s property rating system here.

Where sewer is not available, onsite effluent disposal is able to be considered. An onsite effluent disposal or septic approval is one of the “prescribed” approvals required before a Building Permit can be issued for a project.

The Shire is only able to consider disposal systems that have first been approved for use in Western Australia by the Department of Health. The Shire is also required to consider the Department’s approval conditions to ensure that the installation can achieve the approval requirements on the site proposed. For example, if the highest known ground water is within 1.2m of the ground level, or the installation is within 100m of a watercourse, a secondary treatment system may need to be installed instead of a conventional septic tank and leach drain installation.

Types of onsite effluent disposal systems include:

Please note that Alternative Toilets are not supported in residential zoned areas of the Shire of Kojonup and may not be suitable on small rural landholdings.

It is always best to speak with your licensed plumber about your preferred system so that they may offer you some practical advice regarding installation and maintenance.

All applications are required to be submitted on the prescribed from available from here.

Plumbing Diagrams

Plumbing diagrams are maintained by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. A search for plumbing diagrams can be conducted online here.

If the property is not connected to sewer, then you may apply to the Shire for a Building Record Search. More information is available by contacting 9831 2400.