Proposed planning reform package

Proposed planning reform package

We have had a lot of people asking questions, so hopefully this clears up any misunderstanding regarding the Government’s proposed planning reform package (the proposal to remove planning approval for patios).

The legislation passed the Legislative Assembly (lower house) on 28 May and is now with the Legislative Council (upper house). The LC is now up to the third reading and from there the Bill is presented to the Governor, and on the Governor’s assent the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament. So the Bill has not been passed yet and it is anticipated that it could still be a few months.

That aside, there is one huge misconception that needs some explanation. The Bill proposes to exempt a wider range of small residential projects (such as patios) from planning approval. Planning approval is not building approval. A patio or carport must be built to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) AND the Western Australian Residential Design Codes (R-Codes). Every patio that is attached to a dwelling (house) must have building approval before being constructed. The only patios that don’t require building approval are those that are less than 10m2 and less than 2.4m in height from ground level. We personally have never built a patio that didn’t require building approval.

So what is planning approval?
An application for Planning Approval is required for any proposed patio in the residential zone that does not comply with the following relevant provisions:
*Secondary Street – patios and carports set back in accordance with Table 1 of the R-Codes. The eaves may encroach 750mm into the setback area.
*Open Space – Covered outdoor areas are not included in site coverage providing it is open on at least two sides and covers not more than 10% of the lot or 50m² whichever is less.
(There are also R-codes for the different zones (R5/R10/R15/R20/R25/R30 and higher). Properties classified as Special Provision, Special Character Area or Landscape Value Area also have specific R-codes allocated to them.)

Out of the 62 building applications we have submitted this financial year, 9 of them have required planning approval (14%).

The statutory timeframe for a planning application is 60-90 calendar days, and 25 working days for a building application. This means that if we were to lodge a planning application next Monday (22nd June), it could take until 23rd October to receive the planning & building approval. Thankfully we haven’t had any take that long, but hopefully this explains the process a little.

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