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Builder registration and owner-builder approval

A registered building contractor or owner-builder approval may be required if the estimated value of a building project exceeds $20,000. This refers to the value of the project, not the cost, and includes the value of all materials, labour and associated works.

Registered building contractors

A building contractor must be suitably registered under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 (WA) and have a registration number issued by the Building Services Board. The Building Commission of Western Australia maintains a register of building contractors which is available through their website below.

A contactor must be engaged before making an application for building permit. An application with no contractor nominated will not be accepted. The contractor must be named on and sign the application form to accept responsibility for the work. The contractor may also be required to take out a home indemnity insurance policy in the name of the owner/s (see Related Links for more information).

Owner-builder approval

An owner may seek owner-builder approval from the Building Commission to manage their own building work. Owner-builder approval comes with a number of limitations, including that the building must be owner-occupied and cannot be sold within seven years of the building permit being issued unless the owner takes out a home indemnity insurance policy. For more information about owner-builder requirements and how to obtain owner-builder approval, refer to the Building Commission website below.

Exemptions

A registered building contractor is not required if the project value does not exceed $20,000 or if the work is a type excluded by legislation. Under Building Act 2011 (WA), work that is not “builder work” does not require a registered building contractor. This includes the following:

  • formation of a parking area or sporting surface;
  • construction of a walkway or viewing platform that does not form part of another building;
  • construction of a water tank that is not incorporated into the structure of another building;
  • installation of fire sprinklers, fee standing partitioning, safety systems, timber decking or glazing;
  • cabinet making and installation;
  • an incidental structure as defined under the Act, such as a swimming pool, fence, free-standing wall or retaining wall.

In these cases a person must still sign the application form as the building contractor and accept responsibility for the work, but that person does not have to be a registered building contractor. It should be noted that exemption from requiring a registered building contractor does not exempt a structure from requiring a building permit. For information about permit exemptions, refer to the Related Links below. For more information about “builder work” exemptions, contact us.

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