Expert advice is essential for navigating board approvals

Planning a new home can be exciting as you imagine all the possibilities from a large patio to a large shed to house all of your DIY projects, but how do you navigate the board approvals for those extra features?

Working primarily with rural blocks, Ross Squire Homes design and build consultant Wayne March said there are many factors to consider in the council’s approval process.

“Navigating the approval process can often be tricky, in addition to being long and frustrating. Therefore, engaging with an industry expert can help minimize potential delays, ”he said.

“Often the delays can result from specific advice requiring additional information. An industry expert may have knowledge of what information different boards may want to see on blueprints and can walk you through the design process.

Before you fill your head with ideas of an exposed carport or grandma’s apartment to house the in-laws, Mr March said it’s important to find a reputable builder who could help you understand the requirements early on and avoid the high costs of construction work.

“Once planning approval has been granted, if applicable, a set of plans approved by the engineer are subject to certification and building permit approval,” he said.

“Planning and approving construction can take three to four months and more in some cases, depending on what needs to be approved.

“Plans certified by an engineer and a building permit can take two to three months without a planning approval being required. “

As individual boards often have their own unique rules that cover general planning or construction requirements, Mr March said knowing what those rules are would help streamline the approval process.

“It’s important to understand the potential setbacks of the boundaries and to determine if there is a building envelope,” he said.

“Building within setbacks and building envelopes can sometimes avoid planning approval throughout the process. “

According to March, not only are building permits generally required for the construction of new buildings and structures, but modifications and additions to new buildings also require approval.

“There are several structures and types of landscaping that require council approval,” he said.

“Usually, primary dwellings, ancillary dwellings, large sheds, and outdoor structures such as patios and carports have to go through the approval process. “

For rural properties, you may need to do your research on the level of bushfire attack – a way to gauge the severity of a building’s potential exposure to embers attack and direct contact with flames.

For a county like Serpentine-Jarrahdale, for example, installing and maintaining firewalls every year is a legal requirement for all homeowners and occupants.

“If you are building in a rural area, research information on the level of bushfire attack and whether clearing will be required,” March said. “Often councils require planning approval to clear the bush. “

CONTACT Ross Squire Homes, 9278 3400,

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