Building FAQs

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Building Applications & Forms


When is a Building Permit required?

The commencement of the Building Act 2011 introduced significant changes and options to the way in which you can obtain a Building Permit (licence to build) from a Permit Authority. One of the more significant changes of the Act is that you will now be required to obtain a Certificate of Design Compliance (Form BA03) from a Registered Building Surveyor before you can obtain a Building Permit. A Registered Building Surveyor can be a person who works for a Permit Authority, (such as a Local Government) or who is privately employed.

A permit authority is obligated to provide a service to issue a Certificate of Design Compliance for Residential (Class 1 and 10) buildings but is not required to provide this service for Class 2-9 Buildings. The Shire of Donnybrook Balingup is a Permit Authority and intends to continue to provide a service to applicants who wish to obtain a Certificate of Design Compliance for ALL classes of buildings within the Shire, at its discretion until further notice.

For Residential (Class 1 and 10 Buildings), the Building Act provides 2 types of applications that you can make to seek a “Building Permit”, a Certified Application (Form BA01) and an Uncertified Application (Form BA02).

For Commercial/Industrial (Class 2-9 Buildings), you only have the option to lodge a Certified Application (Form BA01) under the Building Act. A Certified application may be made after you have obtained a Certificate of Design Compliance from a Registered Building Surveyor. As part of the process the Shire is providing the service of issuing a Certificate of Design Compliance in relation to a Class 2-9, so an Uncertified Application (Form BA02) will be accepted. 

An Uncertified application may be made where you wish to have the permit authority (Local Government) undertake the assessment of a Class 1 or 10 also Class 2-9 building and issue both the Certificate of Design Compliance and Building Permit.

The builder/applicant must also submit a Notice of Completion (Form BA7) to the Local Government within 7 days of completion.

You also need to be aware that the Act also sets some time limits within which the Shire has to assess and determine an application for a building permit. Time limits also apply within which an applicant needs to submit further information where an assessment of an application finds that an application is missing information. It is important that before lodging an application for building permit you make sure you are aware of these time limits and that your application is complete.

Checklists for Applicants

The following list needs to be reviewed before submitting a Building Application (Certified or Uncertified). Doing so ensures that your application is process promptly. Please note that if no Development Application has been supplied, your Building Application will first be passed to the Shire's Principal Planner for a preliminary assessment. Once preliminary approvals and all other information is collated, the fees will be collected, and the application will then be passed to the Shire's Principal Building Surveyor who will assess the application. The Principal Building Surveyor will provide a Certificate of Design Compliance and process the application within 10 working days for a Certified Building Application, or 25 working days for an Uncertified Building Application. 


Certified & Uncertified Building Applications Checklist:
  • All required sections on the Application for Building Permit (BA1 Form for Certified, BA2 Form for Uncertified) have been completed.
  • Provide a Site Plan that includes existing buildings, clearly identifying the new building with measurements from boundary.
  • Provide plans and specifications of the new building.
  • Provide Site Soil and Wind Load Classification by Structural Engineer (if required). 
  • Complete a Construction Training Fund (CTF) Form (for builds over $20,000).
  • Provide a DCD Certificate of Design Compliance (Certified applications only).
  • Provide Home Indemnity Insurance for Dwellings over $20,000 (except owner builder).
  • A completed Owner Builder Registration Form.
  • A completed Crossover Application (if access is required from Road to Property).
  • A Septic or Sewage Application (if applicable).
  • A BAL (Bushfire Attach Level) report (may be required in some areas).

Building Applications & Forms

What are the different building classes?

There are a total of 10 classes, which you can read about on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website below:

DMIRS Building Classes

What is the difference between Planning and Building approval?

Development (Planning Scheme) approval and building approval are two separate processes. Often a particular use or development of land may require approvals under both processes. Separate applications are required. 

The Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup will accept a Building Application and have a preliminary process to go through Planning prior to accepting the Building Application and receiving payment.



The development approval process involves assessment of a proposal to use or develop land against the rules in a Planning Scheme. The development process is mainly concerned with the impacts of a proposed use or development upon neighbouring land. Planning is concerned, but not limited to some of the following items:

  • Is a proposed development positioned far enough away from boundaries?
  • Is a proposed building too high?
  • Is the proposed us of land located in a Bushfire Zone?
  • Is the proposed use of the land appropriate to the area?
  • Will a proposed development affect the streetscape?
  • Does a use or development have enough car parking?
  • Will the proposed hours of operating of a use affect neighbours?

Planning or development approval is undertaken by the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup, Planning Officer and Principal Planner.



Building approval involves an assessment of a proposed use or development against the Building Code of Australia and the Plumbing Regulations. The building approval process mainly involves issues such as:

  • Is the building soundly constructed?
  • Have adequate fire and pest protection measures been installed?
  • Is the building capable of receiving adequate levels of light and ventilation?
  • Is the building property sewered and drained?
  • Is the building insulated?
  • Are the building's features safe for users?

Building approval or certification is undertaken by the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup, Principal Building Surveyor.

How long will it take for my building permit to be approved?

The application is submitted and a preliminary assessment will take place to ensure all documents are relevant and planning approvals are in place if required.

The clock will only start when the application is complete and payment is received.

Certified application: 10 business days (excluding public holidays).

Uncertified application: 25 business days (excluding public holidays).

What is the difference between certified and uncertified building permit applications?

There are two types of building permits:

BA1 – Application for building permit – certified: Requires a Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3 Form) to be completed by a Private Building Surveyor prior to being submitted to the Shire

BA2 – Application for building permit – uncertified: Certified by the Shire.

The fees differ for certified and uncertified applications Fees and Charges.

There are more details on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website below:

DMIRS Permits and Processes

How much does a building permit application cost?

Payments can be made by completing the Credit Card Authorisation form with your application, over the phone via credit card details or in person at the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup Administration Office.

The minimum building permit fees for estimated value of works under $20,000 is $171.65. For current fees for estimated value of works over $20,000 please refer to the fees and charges for this financial year.

Building Fees & Charges

Annual Budget, Fees & Charges

The Building and Construction Industry Training Fund levy is also payable where the total value of construction is estimated to be more than $20,000 (see next section)

What is the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Levy?

Note: this payment is only required for construction estimated to be over $20,000.

The Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Levy applies to all residential, commercial and civil engineering projects undertaken in Western Australia, where the total value of construction is estimated to be more than $20,000.  

You can pay and/or apply for the BCTIF Levy using the form below.  Note, a copy of the receipt will need to be provided to the Shire with your application.

CTF Application Form

Alternatively, you can pay for the levy in person when you lodge your application.

Do I need a registered builder?

When carrying out ‘builder work’ for another person over $20,000 in value, in most parts of Western Australia registration as a building contractor is required.

If a property owner intends to undertake building works over the value of $20,000, they must apply for Owner-Builders Approval. You can start the process on the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DEMIRS) website below.

Owner-builder Applications (DEMIRS)

The Owner-Builder Approval must be submitted with the Building Permit application or you must engage a registered builder to complete the works.

Note, Class 10 B structures don’t require a registered builder. Exemptions can apply for Rural locations. You can read more on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website below:

DMIRS Registered Builders

How do I become an owner-builder?

When applying for an owner builder application you must show that you have sufficient knowledge of the duties and responsibilities involved in being an owner builder. This can be done by completing an owner-builder course (online) at a cost of approximately $200.

Once you have completed the course and received your certificate, you can then complete and submit an owner-builder approval application and pay the application fee. This may take up to 5 weeks.

You will need a copy of your Owner Builder Number and paperwork to apply for your building permit:

Owner-builder Applications (DEMIRS)

Will I need approval for building a shed on my property?

Council approval is nearly always required when you want to build a shed, patio carport or any other Class 10A structure.

It is best to check with the Shire’s Planning Services prior to starting your application. Different zoning will require different approvals. Make sure you start with:

1. A site layout plan showing the boundaries and dimensions of your block. and setbacks 

You should have received a site plan with the conveyancing paperwork when you purchased the property or approvals for any previous developments you have had done, or download a copy of your property from Landgate Map Viewer link

2. A Preliminary Design,

Or at the very least a sketch of the shed you propose.

Planning may assist with:

  • What floor area can I build on my property?
  • What is the maximum shed (wall or roof) height permitted?
  • How far does a shed have to be from the boundaries?
  • What are the maximum siteworks permitted?


Building Applications & Forms

About Planning

Planning Applications & Forms

Can I live in a shed?

Living in a shed is not allowed. Your standard shed is classed as a 10a building making it non-habitable. Sheds, carports, private garages and similar structures fall under this category. If you want to live in a shed, it must be converted under a Building Permit to meet the criteria of a Class 1a building as outlined below.

DMIRS Building Classes

What if I have a building on my property that has not been approved?

You can also make a retrospective building regulations application for work that has been carried out without consent. If the work has already started – or even completed – without the required certification, then a retrospective application can be made

 It should be noted that this process is a lot more expensive than if you had gained the necessary approvals before starting to build.

You must appoint a Building Surveyor to assess the work. The building surveyor must be satisfied that the unauthorised works comply with the building standards applicable at the time of applying for retrospective approval. The building surveyor will need to gather relevant information to be satisfied compliance with applicable building standards has been met.

It should be noted that the engagement of a building surveyor for certification services does not guarantee automatic certification. If the building surveyor is not satisfied that compliance has been met, the owner has the option of either:

  • removing the unauthorised structure;
  • carrying out further remedial works that may be required; or
  • face the risk of enforcement action by the permit authority.

Any demolition or remedial work may require a permit and should be referred to the relevant permit authority for advice.

What if I change my plans during the build?

During construction some circumstances may arise that require changes or variations to the plans and specifications. Some minor changes may not require any amendment to the plans and specifications. Other changes or variations may require a certificate of design compliance if the changes affect compliance with the building standards. Accordingly a new building permit may be required to reflect those changes. The new building permit may cover the changes only and the previous building permit still covers the other works.

However where there are substantial changes or variations to the design or construction of the building or incidental structure, a new building permit for all the works may be warranted. This ensures that an accurate building record is maintained for that building or incidental structure.

Changes to the permit plans may incur a cost. Please refer to the fees and charges for this financial year.

Building Fees & Charges

Fees & Charges

How long does the permit last?

A permit authority may set any validity period for a permit. This is usually done at the request of the applicant. Where the permit authority does not set a validity period, the default is two years. To make a request, please complete an Application for Extend Time (BA22) form. 

Building Applications & Forms

If a project takes longer than expected, an application to extend the permit (linked below) can be submitted to the relevant permit authority at a cost of $110. 

Notice of completion of your permit

The Building Act requires the responsible person (i.e. the Permit holder of a Demolition or Building Permit) to provide certain notices for the completion or suspension of work under a building or demolition permit. This can be easily done by completing and submitting a Notice of Completion (BA7) form, which can be found on the page linked below. 

Building Applications & Forms

Further information on notices of completion, including the requirements and consequences, are available in the document below.

DMIRS Guide: BA7 (Notice of Completion) requirements

Stormwater & Water Tank Requirements

It is the landowner’s responsibility to manage stormwater runoff from buildings, hard stand (impervious) areas and gardens within the property boundary.  Stormwater management systems should be designed as per the following Shire requirements:

  • Avoid or minimise risk to the receiving natural environment
  • Avoid or minimise the risk of erosion
  • Ensure the stormwater infiltration and run off rates post development have no more of an off-site impact that pre-development rates
  • Consider the potential impact on the existing and planned built environment
  • Avoid adverse impact on Council’s existing stormwater drainage network
  • Preserve significant overland floor routes and minimize the risk of localised flooding

During extreme rain events, storage capacities may be exceeded. Therefore when designing a stormwater management system, consider providing safe overland flow route/s to direct excess runoff away from buildings and/or adjoining properties



Construction, erection assembly or placement of a water storage tanks with a capacity of more than 5000 litres are required to have a building permit.

Legal Requirements for Smoke Alarms

Under the Building Regulations 2012, dwelling owners must ensure that smoke alarms are installed prior to selling, transferring ownership, renting or hiring a dwelling.

Smoke alarms must comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Australian Standard for residential smoke alarms (AS 3786-2014). It is the responsibility of the property owners to have compliant smoke alarms installed in:

  • Class 1a – Single residential dwellings and grouped dwellings or the like.
  • Class 1b – Hostels/ boarding houses/ guest house/ bed and breakfast or a like with a total floor not exceeding 300m2.
  • Class 2 – Apartments or flat or the like.
  • Class 4 – Caretaker’s residence or the like in a non-residential building.

Where your home has more than one smoke alarm, we recommend that smoke alarms be interconnected. This means that when one smoke alarm detects a fire, all alarms throughout the house will sound to alert all the occupants of your home. If your home was newly constructed since 1 May 2015, you are required by law to interconnect your smoke alarms. In the interest of your safety, the Shire urges all of its home owners to install hardwired smoke alarms in their residence and to adopt the 1st of April as the day to replace backup batteries. 



Smoke alarms are required to be installed in accordance with the BCA and the AS 3786-2014. They must be in working order and permanently connected to mains power (hard-wired).

Only a licensed electrician is required to connect the smoke alarms to the mains power supply. Smoke alarms must be no more than 10 years old, when dwelling ownership is transferred, or when a building is rented or hired. 

Battery powered smoke alarms that have a non-removable 10- year life battery can only be installed where main power is not connected to the dwelling or there is no hidden space in the existing dwelling to install wiring for hard wired alarms or no alternative locations.

Owners should be aware that it is unlawful to install battery powered smoke alarms just because it is convenient to do so. Application for approval to install a battery powered alarm is required and the Shire will review the circumstances during the Building Permit approval process.


For more information about smoke alarms please visit the Department of Fire & Emergency Services website below.

About Demolition Permits

Under the Building Act 2011 a demolition permit is required prior to the demolition of any major structure and before the demolition takes place. A demolition permit is not required for the demolition of incidental structures such as patios, pergolas and garden sheds. There are also health requirements that must be complied with, particularly for removing asbestos and the decommissioning of septic tanks.

Service providers must be notified before demolition work is started, including:



To apply for a demolition permit, you need to submit the following:

  • Completed Demolition Permit Application Form (BA5) and application fee (refer to Building schedule of fees and charges)
  • 1 x copies of scaled (min 1:200) site plan, clearly showing buildings or sections to be demolished and the structures to be retained
  • Demolition Contractor Worksafe Registration or proof of a valid legislative exemption
  • A rat baiting certificate from a licensed pest control company.

You may need to submit a Notice and Request for Consent of Work Affecting Other Land form (BA20) if the proposed demolition work is likely to adversely affect adjoining land or buildings. 

Building Applications & Forms

Building Plan Searches

When a Building Permit is granted by the Shire, all of the information provided during the application process is maintained on record. This information may also be provided to the owner of the property, which is often misplaced (either by accident, or if there is a transfer of ownership).

If you are the owner of a property, or have the written consent of the owner, the Shire can provide you with all Building Permits relevant to that property. This will incur a fee of $80.30 per residential property. To submit a request, please use the Building Permit Plan Search Request Form (available below).

Building Applications & Forms

About Retaining Walls

Retaining walls that retain more than 500mm high are required to have a building permit. Additionally, you will need your neighbours' written permission if accessing adjoining property. The following forms can be downloaded from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety website:

  • Walls, fences and dividing fences
  • Boundary fencing are governed by the Dividing Fences Act 1961 

A dividing fence is any wall, fences or similar structure located on or near a common boundary or adjoining land or on a line other that the common boundary.

A building permit is required for a fence exceeding 1.2 metres in height from the natural ground level within three (3) metres of the front boundary of any lot.

If you are a property owner and are constructing a dividing fence, you should know your obligations and responsibilities under the Act. The Shire does not administer the Act but can provide advice if required, practically of the definition of a sufficient fence for a zone within the Shire for the purposes of the Act. Please direct any dividing fences disputes to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety.

Learn more about the Dividing Fences Act 1961