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The Building Commission has received several calls regarding a report that aired on Channel 7’s Today Tonight program on 11 December 2014.
At the conclusion of the report, which looked at the “problems, dangers and hidden costs of home renovations”, the program’s host stated that “as of next year, you’ll no longer need council approval for swimming pools, patios and granny flats”. This information is misleading and was not provided by the Building Commission of Western Australia.
The report may be referring to information in a media release issued by the Minister for Planning John Day MLA on 18 November 2014, which stated that planning approval to add an R-Code (residential design codes) compliant patio, carport/garage, pool or granny to a home will no longer be needed under proposed changes to Western Australian planning laws. This, however, does not apply to building approvals, which would still need to be obtained from the local government.
The Instant Start proposal announced by the State Government in November 2014 does propose reforms to the building approvals process for single residential housing and would allow registered builders to start construction upon lodging a certified permit application while the application was processed by local government. While this initiative would remove delays in starting works which had been verified by competent independent experts to be compliant with planning and building requirements, it would not remove the requirement for obtaining building approval.
The Building Commission is in the process of finalising details relating to the Instant Start proposal, which we expect to be available from mid- 2015. This process will include further consultation with relevant stakeholders in early 2015 to ensure the initiative provides the best possible benefit to the Western Australian building industry while protecting the interests of consumers and the community.
Information on Instant Start, including answers to some Frequently Asked Questions, is available on the Building Commission website.