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When applying for a building permit, the documents required need to be to a “ready for construction” standard. The minimum requirements for a building project when it comes to documenting can be summarised as:

Drawings or Plans – These describe visually, what will be built, where the building is situated, the size of rooms and the relationship between each. They include the site plan, floor plans, elevations, electrical plan, and a section cut through the building.

Specification – This describes in words the types of materials and workmanship to be applied to each aspect of building work including listing the relevant Australian Standards and Building Code references. This technical description might include addenda or similar sections which allow the parties to list selections for the building materials including doors, tiles, and paint colours for example.

Technical Certificates – These certificates of compliance i.e. Energy Efficiency compliance, termite management system, engineer design or plans, site classification (i.e. soil type) are required to support the plans and specifications.

Forms – A Building Permit form (certified or uncertified): A certified application has been checked by a registered Building Surveyor and includes a Certificate of Design compliance and all documents listed in that Certificate with the submission for the Building Permit or an uncertified application is assessed by the Permit Authority that also issues the certificate of design compliance. A number of forms may also be required before you lodge for a Building Permit some examples include: Septic Tank Application (for non-sewered lots), Application to Commence Development (a number of lots require planning approval before a Building Permit can be issued – check with your approval authority), crossover application.

Notifications – There are a number of Authorities that must be notified for building work. The main authorities are the Water Corporation and Western Power for residential development.

Anything else?! Within each of these categories of documents, a number of additional items may be necessary to better explain the proposed building work. The more complex the building, generally, the more details are required. You may need a geo-technical report in unusual site conditions or acoustic consultant report in areas affected by a flight path.

Care and precision in drafting these documents will allow the building work to be priced accurately. As many form part of the building contract, clarity in their preparation will allow the builder and subcontractors to proceed as required by the owner.

Clear and complete documentation will minimise delays in obtaining a building permit from the permit authority. There is less potential for dispute over what the parties intended and variations or  extras during construction which were not considered initially but which are ultimately required – can be avoided.

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