Legislation, Australian Standards and Residential Design Codes

Before undertaking any property development or building works, it is important to be familiar with the Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA), Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (WA), Residential Design Codes (R-Codes), Building Act 2011 (WA), Building Regulations 2012 (WA), and the National Construction Code and as they set the framework and standards for all property development, building and demolition work in Western Australia.

Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA)

The objective of the Planning and Development Act 2005 is to provide an effective and efficient land use planning system which promotes sustainable use of land. It details matters such as:

  • The role and power of the Western Australian Planning Commission;
  • The preparation of regional and local planning schemes and other planning documents;
  • Subdivision of land and development control;
  • Development assessment panels; and
  • Enforcement, legal proceedings and review rights.

Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (WA)

The Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 provides detailed information to assist with preparing documents such as local planning schemes, activity centre plans and local planning policies. The regulations also set out the process for dealing with development applications.

State Planning Policies

The State Government has prepared a range of state planning policies covering matters such as planning in bushfire prone areas, the role of activity centres, road and rail infrastructure and design matters. The full suite of state planning policies can be found on the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website.

State Planning Policy 7.3 Residential Design Codes Volumes 1 and 2 (R-Codes)

The State Planning Policy (7.3) - Residential Design Codes, Volumes 1 and 2 commonly referred to as the R-Codes, apply to residential development across Western Australia.

The R-Codes include a series of development requirements that apply to all residential developments, with specific requirements varying between the type and density of the proposal. All residential developments need to be considered having regard to the R-Codes.

To access the R-Codes, visit the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website.

Building Act 2011 (WA) and Building Regulations 2012 (WA)

The Building Act 2011 and Building Regulations 2012 sets out a comprehensive process and standards for all building and demolition work in Western Australia.

It sets out, among other things:

  • The process for all building and demolition application permits,
  • The applicable standards for all building and construction works,
  • Requirements for work affecting other land,
  • Information on the enforcement powers of permit authorities,
  • Requirements for storage and publishing of building information, and
  • The process for prosecutions under the Building Act.

Building and Demolition Permits and Certificates

We are the permit authority for all building works occurring within the City of Melville, and all applications for building, demolition and occupancy permits, as well as building approval certificates, must be made to us.

Building Orders and Building Registers

We can issue building orders to ensure compliance with all applicable building standards and processes, and we are also required to keep a record of, and make available, a register of all building, demolition and occupancy permits, and building approval certificates.

Works Affecting Other Land

You must get consent from the owner/s of adjoining land prior to work starting, if any of your works may be reasonably likely to adversely affect their land. For more information, including links to the consent forms, visit the Section 11: Works affecting other land page on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

Further Information about the Building Act 2011 or Building Regulations 2012

For more information about the Building Act 2011 or the Building Regulations 2012, refer to Compliance with Building Standards page on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

Australian Building Codes Board – National Construction Code

Under the Building Act 2011, all building and constructions works are required to comply with the applicable standards set out by the Australian Building Codes Board in the National Construction Code.

The National Construction Code is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures, plumping and drainage systems throughout Australia. They also reference the Australian Standards that set out specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable and consistently perform the way they are intended to. They establish a minimum set of requirements which define quality and safety criteria.

For more information on the National Construction Code, visit the Australian Building Codes Board and Standards Australia website.

Application of Legislation, Standards and Codes to Approvals and Permits

Building Permits and Approvals

As part of your application for a building permit, you will be required to demonstrate that your proposed building design complies with the Building Act 2011, Building Regulations 2012 and the relevant building standards in the National Construction Code.

If you are getting your building plans certified, your building surveyor will check that your plans are compliant with the relevant building standards in the National Construction Code. If you are submitting an uncertified application, we will do this for you and let you know if your proposed building design complies with the relevant building standards.

The structural engineer you appoint to provide the required information for your building application should also ensure that their plans and details comply with the National Construction Code and relevant Australian standards.

We strongly encourage that you get professional advice prior to submitting your application to ensure your proposed building complies with the Building Act 2011, Building Regulations 2012 and the relevant standards in the National Construction Code.

Planning/Development Approval

Some development types, such as a new single house or additions to a single house and some additions to grouped dwellings are exempt from planning/development approval if they meet the deemed-to-comply requirements of the R-Codes and our council and local planning policies. In these cases, a development can process straight to a building permit application.

For other developments, you will need to apply for planning/development approval. As part of your application you need to show the proposed development either meets the deemed-to-comply provisions of the R-Codes and council and local planning policies, or that your proposed development meets the objectives and design principles of the R-Codes. This responsibility generally sits with your architect, designer or draftsperson, who designs the development to ensure compliance with the R-Codes.

Planning/Development Advice

The advice on this page is a general guide only. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your project so we can advise whether planning/development approval is needed. A planning officer is available during business hours to provide advice on a range of matters either in person, over the phone, or by email. Depending on the complexity of the advice being sought we may ask you to lodge a request for written planning advice and a fee of $73 will apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my proposed building or construction work does not comply with the Building Act 2011, Building Regulations 2012 or the National Construction Code?

If your proposed building does not comply we will not issue you with applicable building permits or provide you with building approval.

If construction works have already commenced, we can issue building orders to stop work that contravenes the Building Act 2011 or Building Regulations 2012, and in some cases, we may take the matter to court.

What happens if my proposed residential development does not meet the deemed to comply provisions of the Residential Design Codes and/or council and local planning policies?

If your proposed development does not meet the deemed-to-comply standards, we will consider the application against the design principles of the residential design codes and make a decision to approve with or without conditions, or refuse the application.

If your application for planning/development approval is refused, or you disagree with one or more of the conditions, you can lodge an Application for Review with the State Administrative Tribunal.

How will I know if my building or construction work complies with the Building Act 2011, Building Regulations 2012 or the National Construction Code?

For certified applications, it is the responsibility of the registered building surveyor to ensure that the drawings, specification and technical documents comply with the standards and National Construction Code.

Once constructed, the builder is responsible for ensuring that the building has been constructed in accordance with the approved plans and comply with the relevant standards and National Construction Code.

The builder must also issue a BA7 - Notice of Completion to the permit authority within 7 days of completing the works. This must also be accompanied by each relevant inspection or test certificate as listed in the building permit.

How will I know if my proposed residential development complies with the Residential Design Codes, council and local planning policies?

Your architect, designer or draftsperson, has a responsibility to design the proposal in accordance with the R-Codes and various local policies.

You can also contact us to request advice from our planning team. A planning officer is available during business hours to provide advice on a range of matters either in person, over the phone, or by email. Depending on the complexity of the advice being sought we may ask you to lodge a request for written advice and a fee of $73 will apply.

Social Media Share this pageLinks below open in a new window

Was this page helpful?
Page Helpful