Selling your Home when you have an Unapproved Structure

Residential Structural Services

Unapproved structures usually become a problem for homeowners only when it comes time to sell the property. The real estate agent asks if the patio, pergola or renovation has council approval and then some decisions need to be made.

Home owners have three options with unapproved structures:

  1. Attempt to sell the property without council approval
  2. Gain retrospective approval
  3. Pull down the unapproved structure

Selling without council approval

Property with an unapproved structure can be difficult to sell. A prospective buyer may decide not to proceed with the sale because they don’t want to take on the risk, so the property remains on the market.

Some buyers may decide to pull down a structure that isn’t adding significant value to the property. If they need to sell the property quickly, it may be the fastest way of getting the property on the market.

Getting advice on retrospective approval

These are the steps you can take to gain council approval.

  1. Ask your local council if you require retrospective planning and building approval or just building approval
  2. Commission a draftsperson to add the structure to your site and floor plan or have new plans drawn up including an elevation drawing.
  3. Submit the plans and application/s to council yourself; or
  4. Organise for a private building surveyor to undertake a site inspection and assessment to ensure the structure complies with the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards.  
  5. Ask the surveyor to submit the application/s to your local council.

Advantages of a Private Site Inspection

The time to gain council approval can be shortened if you use a private building surveyor compared to submitting your plans to council without a surveyor’s assessment. In most cases, a council representative will still want to complete their own site visit but the process is often quicker and less stressful if you know the structure applies before going in to council.

Use a building surveyor that does residential assessments regularly and knows your local council’s planning policies and residential design codes.

Retrospective council applications are more common than you may think. Don’t panic when you find you need to submit an application. With the right advice, the process can be made more simple.

Advanced Building Engineers has completed site inspections and handled retrospective building approvals for clients in most Perth local councils. If you have any questions or need advice on retrospective inspections, contact one of our experienced consultants on 08 9382 8888 or contact us online.