Retrospective Approval for Unapproved Building Structures

Structural Site Inspections

Unapproved building structures, they are in every Perth suburb. Some are decades old while the paint is still drying on those that went up last weekend.

Usually, the structure doesn’t bother anyone. The owner is happy because the structure meets their needs, the neighbours don't care about it and, of course, the council doesn’t know about it.

Quite often the unapproved structure only becomes a problem when it comes time to sell the property. The real estate agent or prospective buyer asks ‘Is the patio council approved?’ then it becomes a problem.

Sometimes unapproved structures aren’t picked up until the new buyer commissions a building inspector to check the property as part of the offer and acceptance.

Most Common Unapproved Structures

There is a range of illegal structures but the majority include:

  • Patio or gazebo
  • Shed or garage
  • Pool or spa
  • Renovations and alterations

Impact Unapproved Structures have on Selling your Home

Unapproved structures can delay settlement, cause renegotiations on price and jeopardise the sale of the property. A new buyer may be inheriting a dodgy or dangerous structure that is their problem once the property settlement has been completed.

Some of the problems a new owner may be buying:

  • If anyone is injured as a result of the unapproved structure, they are legally responsible

  • A council can demand unapproved structures be demolished at any time at the owner's expense

  • If work is required to remedy an unapproved structure, they are responsible for all costs.   

What to Do if you have an Unapproved Structure

You will need to obtain a retrospective Building Approval Certificate from your local council. Some councils may even require you to apply for retrospective planning approval and a retrospective building permit.

Take the following steps to gain a Building Approval Certificate:

  1. Speak to your council to find out their requirements around retrospective building approvals.
  2. Commission a draftsperson to add the structure to your site and floor plan drawings and elevations, if required
  3. Organise a site inspection to confirm the structure complies with Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards.
  4. Submit your certified documents to council  
  5. Wait for your certificate to arrive

How We Can Assist

At Advanced Building Engineers we understand the need to gain quick retrospective building approvals. We can have an experienced Building Certifier available to visit your property within a day or two.

Advanced Building Engineers has in-house Draftspeople to complete any drawings required. We can also manage the council liaison and lodgement of documents on your behalf.

If you have any queries about retrospective building approvals, don’t hesitate to get in touch or call Advanced Building Engineers on 9382 8888.