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Amendments to strengthen Building Act

by | Oct 25, 2012

Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said last night’s passing of amendments to Western Australia’s building laws would allow the industry to reap the full benefits of the legislation’s original intention.

“The State Government needed to update the Building Act 2011 to enable the industry to deliver buildings without unnecessary red tape and hurdles,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Some problems were experienced in the change-over from the 50-year-old system and the Government has worked quickly in consultation with industry and the community to strengthen the Building Act through these amendments.

“The building industry can now forge ahead and work together to build WA under a more modern and flexible process, on a more even playing field with other Australian states.”

Permit authorities will still have a maximum of 25 business days to decide on uncertified applications for a building permit, or 10 business days for a privately-certified application. The amendments will, however, minimise time delays when a permit authority needs more information before making decisions on applications.

The amendments also provide more flexibility in areas such as builders accessing unoccupied land; and remove the need to get an adjoining landowner’s consent to access vacant or unoccupied land during construction, or remove a dividing fence where a permit or approval allows construction of a wall on or close to the boundary. They also pave the way for the Minister to make an order removing the need for owner signatures in some circumstances.

Local governments can be the permit authority for work on properties they own within their electorate boundaries but must outsource the Certificate of Design Compliance.

Some of the amendments come into effect upon Royal Assent while others will be timed to coincide with the supporting regulations, which are expected to be in place by early December 2012.