In Business

Western Australia Minister for Commerce Simon O’Brien

Govt Moves To Fast-Track Building Applications And Approvals

Victor P Taffa

  • Temporary measures to ease congestion of residential building applications & approvals
  • Amendments to regulation will clarify new processes & remove confusion

Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien today announced a series of measures to assist the building industry and local governments to work with recent legislation changes.

“The introduction of the Building Act on April 2, 2012 was the result of several years of consultation.” Mr. O’Brien said.

“However, as with any wholesale change to legislation, there is always the possibility that the need for some modifications will arise as the new processes are put into practice.”

“The State Government is very aware that any processing delays have a big impact on builders and consumers and since being made aware of the drop in building applications and approvals following the start of the new legislation, we have been working with industry and local government to find a solution.”

To alleviate the immediate pressures on industry, the Minister today signed a Ministerial Order designed to expedite the flow of building work. This order, which will take effect from Saturday, will allow a builder to start work pending approvals for applications lodged after January 1, 2012 and prior to June 30, 2012.

“This temporary measure will assist builders in avoiding protracted delays before starting construction, but will not remove the industry’s obligation to meet all necessary standards.” Mr. O’Brien said.

Further, in response to feedback from industry, the Building Commission has formulated a series of regulatory amendments that will simplify the approvals process and make it easier for local governments to apply the law consistently. Redesigned standard forms aimed at removing confusion in interpreting approval requirements will be distributed to local government authorities, along with a processing checklist.

“Additional information workshops and specific information kits will provide further assistance in understanding the new system and how to benefit from it.” the Minister said.

The State Government, with the Building Commission, is now working to identify longer-term measures, including looking at any other amendments to the Act that may be required to give greater security to industry and local government.

Mr. O’Brien said the Government looked forward to working closely with industry and local councils throughout this process.

While the necessary amendments and changes were being made, building surveyors were advised to use the new processing checklist, prioritise their new house applications, use electronic mail systems where possible and seek advice from the Building Commission to help speed up the applications and approvals processes.

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