Building FAQs

There is a lot to know about building but it needn't be a difficult process. The Shire of Gingin has compiled the following list of frequently asked questions. Whilst not an exhaustive list, we hope it will provide adequate answers for common enquiries that we receive. 

Once you have read through this list, please visit our Building Forms & Guides webpage to get started. 

Do I need a Building Permit to build? 

Yes, you do. Under the Building Act 2011 a building permit is required before commencement of most building work. Generally a Building Permit is required for all residential, commercial or industrial structures including (but not limited to) new works, alterations and additions. Examples include: 

  • Dwellings
  • Commercial buildings including fitouts and refurbishments
  • Industrial buildings
  • Swimming pools, spas and barriers
  • Fences
  • Garden sheds (over 10m2)
  • Verandahs
  • Gazebos
  • Garages
  • Workshops
  • Pergolas
  • Changes to ground levels (eg, cutting and filling soil)
  • Retaining walls

The Building Regulations 2012 details building work for which a Building Permit is not required. Although a Building Permit may not be required for all works, it does not exempt those works which may require Development Approval. If the total value of the work exceeds $20,000 then a permit will be issued to a registered builder or in some circumstances, an owner builder.

Upon issue of a Building Permit, works must be completed within 24 months of the date of issue or other time frame as specified by the Shire. It is important to ensure sufficient time for assessment of your Building Permit.

Further Information

For more comprehensive information please view the Guide to the Building Approvals Process in WA available on the website for the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. 

How long will it take to assess my Permit application? 

Under the Building Act 2011 the Shire has a fixed amount of time to grant or refuse a permit application. The point at which our timeframe for assessing an application starts is referred to as “starting the clock”.

The length of time the Shire has to consider an application from when the clock starts is listed in the table below. The clock starts at 12am the day after a complete application is received by the Shire.



BA1 - Application for Building Permit (Certified)
BA5 - Application for Demolition Permit
BA9 - Application for Occupancy Permit
BA13 - Application for Building Approval Certificate

10 business days

BA2 - Application for Building Permit (Uncertified)
(Class 1a and Class 10 buildings and incidental structures only)

25 business days

To help the Shire process applications within these strict timeframes it is important to ensure that your application is complete and that all required approvals have been obtained before submitting your application.

The Shire may require an applicant to provide additional information or document(s) that it deems necessary.

The applicant must submit the additional information or document(s) within 21 days of a written request to avoid the application being refused.

If an application is incomplete or the required approvals have not been obtained, the Shire is entitled to refuse the application and to retain the application fee.

What do I do if my Application for a Building Permit is refused? 

If an application is refused due to non-compliance then the applicant may lodge an appeal with the State Administrative Tribunal in accordance with the provisions under the Building Act 2011.

For more information about the appeal process, please refer to the State Administrative Tribunal.

Who is involved in the application process and who is responsible? 

The roles and responsibilities of the key players during the building approval and building process are outlined as follows.


An applicant is the person making the application. This can be the owner, the designer, the builder or anyone else engaged to obtain the permit for the project. The applicant is responsible for:

  • The lodgement of the permit application with all required supporting documents; 
  • Providing further information to the Shire within the specified time if requested; and
  • Obtaining all required approvals prior to the lodgement of the building permit application.


An owner is the person(s) or entity whose name is registered as a proprietor of the land, i.e. the name(s) recorded on the Certificate of Title which is issued by Landgate. The owner(s) are responsible for:

  • Appointing a new builder in the event that the previous builder ceases work prior to the completion of building work.
  • For Class 2 to Class 9 buildings:

-   Ensuring the safety measures that formed part of the building permit in each part of the building are maintained (Regulation 48A)
-   Ensuring that an occupancy permit is obtained before the building is occupied and that the permit is displayed at the entrance of the building.

  • Ensuring a compliant barrier is installed and maintained (Regulation 50) for all private swimming pools or spas that have the capacity to contain water that is more than 300mm deep.
  • Ensuring that all building work (when completed) complies with each applicable building standard even if an exemption applies.


A builder is the person responsible for the work being carried out under the building permit. The builder is responsible for: 

  • Ensuring home indemnity insurance is in place (if relevant) before starting any building work.
  • Ensuring the building or incidental structure is completed in accordance with the plans and specifications detailed in the certificate of design compliance and that the building complies with each applicable building standard and the provisions in the building permit.
  • Ensuring that no work affecting other land is undertaken without consent or court order.
  • Arranging for any inspections and tests listed on the building permit to be carried out and recorded.
  • Giving a notice of completion (form BA7) to the Shire within seven days of completion of the work or stage of the work for which the permit was granted
  • Giving a notice of cessation (form BA8) to the Shire within seven days if the builder ceases to be responsible for the work.

Where works are required to be undertaken by a registered builder, this person is required to be registered as a building contractor under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011. Refer to the “Do I need to be a registered builder” fact sheet on the Building Commission's website.

Building Surveyors

A Building Surveyor is a person who is a registered building surveyor as defined in section 3 of the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011. The building surveyor is responsible for:

  • Certifying the design of new building work to state it will meet the applicable building standards.
  • Certifying that the building has been built in accordance with the specified plans and specifications.
  • Certifying that existing buildings meet the applicable building standards for temporary or permanent changes of use or classification or when a building is being strata titled or retrospectively approved.
  • Certifying that the building in its current form is safe to occupy and use in the way proposed.

Owners or applicants may either engage a private building surveyor or seek the services of the Shire’s building surveyor.

Private Building Surveyors

A private building surveyor must be registered as a building surveying contractor under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 in order to contract with the public to carry out building surveying work as defined in the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011.

Independent Building Surveyor 

All certifying building surveyors must be independent meaning that they cannot be an owner of the land, an employee of an owner or the builder or demolition contractor or an employee of the builder or demolition contractor. This applies to both private and local government building surveyors.

How can I get a Permit for Demolition and Occupancy? 

You can apply for a permit for either through the Shire's Building Services department. Visit our Building Forms & Guides page for more information on how to apply for a permit for either.  

How can I get a Building Approval Certificate?

Similarly to the previous section, you can apply for a Building Approval Certificate through the Shire's Building Services department. A Certificate of Building Compliance is entirely voluntary. However, if you have undertaken unauthorised building work then you may be required to demolish it if you have not obtained retrospective approval by way of lodging a Certificate of Building Compliance with the Shire.

Visit our Building Forms & Guides page or our Unathorised Buildings/Structures for more information or to apply.  

Are there any fees/charges for building application forms? 

Yes, there are. All fees are payable at time of lodgement of an application.

There are 3 types of fees that may be applied to a Building Approval application and they are all listed in the Shire's Schedule of Fees & Charges. They are:

  • The Building Act 2011 Fees - the prescribed fee is payable to local government when an application is made. These fees cover the cost of assessment, regardless of the outcome, i.e. if the application is refused this fee will not be refunded.  
  • The Building Services Levy (BSL) - a building services levy is payable to local government for building, demolition and some occupancy permits as well as for building approval certificates issued under the Building Act 2011. The levy is paid for the purposes of funding the operations of the Building Commission to regulate WA's building services. 
  • The Construction Training Fund (CTF) - the training levy is applied to all residential, commercial and civil engineering projects undertaken in Western Australia where the total value of construction is more than $20,000. The rate of the levy is 0.2% of the total contract price (inclusive of GST). In most cases the Levy is paid to the Shire when an application is made. Alternatively a direct payment to the Construction Training Fund may be made in which case a copy of the receipt is required before the Shire can accept or lodge the application. 

How can I get in touch with any local service providers? 

The Shire has compiled a list of local drafting services, structural engineers and building surveyors. These lists are provided as a courtesy only. The Shire of Gingin cannot recommend any particular commercial service provider. 

List of Building Surveyors

List of Drafting Service Providers

List of Structural Engineers


Contact the Shire's Building Department on (08) 9575 5100, option 3.