Skip to Content

Unauthorised Structures

Residential Structures


A building permit is required for nearly all building and demolition work, unless exempt under the Building Regulations 2012 (check with your council prior to construction).

Should a building/structure be built without a building permit, the Building Act 2011 does not permit the Shire to issue one retrospectively. The Shire can however issue a Building Approval Certificate for an unauthorised building/structure, conditional upon compliance with relevant legislation, standard building construction practices, the Building Code of Australia, Health, Planning and Engineering requirements.

An application for Building Approval Certificate is the process by which a person obtains approval for unauthorised building work associated with a Class 1 or Class 10 building. The Building Approval Certificate confirms the building has been assessed by a registered building surveyor, and complies with the Building Code and relevant Australian Standards.


  • Class 1a building – a dwelling
  • Class 10a building – a non-habitable building being a private garage, carport, shed or the like
  • Class 10b building – a structure being a retaining wall, fence, swimming pool or the like

Approval Process

The owner/applicant engages a private building surveyor, details available on the Building Commissions website for certification services. The appointed private building surveyor, once satisfied the structure meets the requirements of the Building Code, Health, Planning & Engineering requirements and relevant standards, will issue a Certificate of Building Compliance (Form BA18). An application can then be made to the local government permit authority (Shire of Northam) for Building Approval Certificate (Form BA13).

For BA13 Application Forms and Checklists, refer to the list of application forms in Step 1, Part A on the Lodging a Building Permit Application page.

The application for a Building Approval Certificate must be accompanied by all documents noted on the Certificate of Building Compliance and payment of the prescribed fees which are detailed on the Shire’s Building Approval Certificate’s Checklist.

When the local government is satisfied all requirements have been met, it will issue a Form BA14 -Building Approval Certificate, formally endorsing the unauthorised structure (Refer flow chart below)

Unauthorised Residential Structures Flowchard


The following is a general list of items that may be required to obtain a Certificate of Building Compliance for an unauthorised structure from a Private Building Surveyor:

Shed/Outbuilding (Class 10)

  • A full set of professionally drawn “As Constructed” plans including Site Plan, Floor Plan, Elevations and Structural Details. These plans are to be endorsed by a Structural Engineer

Dwellings/Dwelling Additions

  • Energy efficiency compliance report
  • A Bushfire Assessment may be required in a Bushfire Prone area 
  • Evidence of a suitable waterproof barrier under the floor slab
  • Evidence of Termite Treatment
  • Electrical & Plumbing Certification (including Effluent Disposal System)
  • Stormwater Disposal to the satisfaction of the Shire
  • Planning Approval (if required)
  • Payment of application fees


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.