Step 2 - Getting the right approval

This section aims to help you understand whether you need a development or a building permit for your project. Please note, the below information is not intended to replace state government legislation and requirements, or to be taken as legal advice.

The following Acts and Regulations provide a legislative framework for a decision making approvals issued by the City of Stirling:

  • Heritage Act 1990
  • Local Government Act 1995
  • Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960
  • Planning and Development Act 2005
  • Planning Development (Local Planning Scheme) Regulations 2015
  • Strata Titles Act 1985.

Pick your project

Ancillary dwellings (Granny flats)

An ancillary dwelling is sometimes referred to as a ‘granny flat’ and essentially is an independent dwelling intended for residential living which may or may not be attached to a single house, on the same lot.

A building permit is required for all ancillary dwellings. However, development approval for an ancillary dwelling is required where there are proposed variations to the R-Codes.

Please note, associated works relating to an ancillary dwelling such as retaining walls and raised decking may require development approval, where there are proposed variations to the R-Codes.

For more information, please refer to the Ancillary Dwelling Information Sheet.

Bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation

A ‘bed and breakfast’ means a dwelling used by the current resident to provide accommodation on a short-term, commercial basis.

If you are thinking of setting up a B&B or casual accommodation venue, you will require development approval.

The outcome of your application will depend on several factors, such as the zone you are in, the number of rooms you plan to use and car parking facilities.

For more information, please refer to the Bed and Breakfast Accommodation Policy.

Did you know?

If you live within a heritage protection control area, a formal development approval is required for a verge treatment. Hardstand materials are strictly prohibited in these areas.

Carports and garages

  • A carport is a roofed structure designed to accommodate one or more vehicles unenclosed except where it adjoins a dwelling
  • A garage is designed to be enclosed, to accommodate one or more vehicles and to be attached to a dwelling
  • Carports and garages require a building permit
  • Development approval is only required if the carport or garage isn’t fully compliant with the City’s local planning policies and the residential design codes or if your carport or garage is located within a heritage protection area.

For more information, please refer to the Carports and Garages Information Sheet.

Crossovers (Driveways)

A crossover is the section of a driveway that crosses over the verge, from the edge of the property boundary to the edge of the road.

The City requires prior approval for all crossover works prior to construction. If you are planning to install a new crossover, please make sure you follow the key requirements provided in the Crossover Policy and Crossover Specifications and Guidelines.

The City will contribute toward the cost of the first concrete or brick-paved crossover or the replacement of an existing bitumen crossover to the property, provided it is constructed in accordance with the City’s requirements.

Apply for a crossover installation permit

Please select the type of application that is applicable to you:

Residential

Non-residential

Crossover subsidy

Owners who are carrying out first-time crossover installations may be eligible for a subsidy. Applicants must advise the City on their crossover application form, that they will apply for a subsidy.

Once the works have been completed, please complete a Crossover Subsidy Application Form.

Please note, you must apply for a crossover subsidy within six months of the crossover completion.

Demolition of all or part of a building

Under the Building Act 2011, a demolition permit is required for demolition work on a whole or part of a building or structure. There are also health requirements which need to be considered, particularly for removing asbestos and decommissioning septic tanks.

Demolition permit applications must include:

Please note, you may have to submit a Notice and Request for Consent of Work Affecting Other Land Form BA20 if the proposed demolition work is likely to adversely affect adjoining land or properties. Where consent is not given by affected adjoining landowners, you must get a court order to carry out the proposed demolition work instead.

Top tip

You must notify service providers such as the Water Corporation, Western Power, Alinta Energy and Telstra before demolition work starts. Your water supply may need to stay connected until demolition work is complete, as water may be required to dampen down excessive dust.

Home businesses

Formal or informal approval is required for all home-based businesses, depending on the size of the company. Below are the four levels of home businesses:

  1. Home offices are not permitted to employ anyone who is not a member of the household and is not permitted to have any custom/trade signage or involve food preparation
  2. Home occupations are permitted to have some custom/trade signage. Home occupations are limited to twenty square metres of floor area and may not employ anyone who is not a member of the household
  3. Home businesses are permitted to employ up to two people who are not members of the household and are limited to fifty square metres of floor area. Some custom/trade signage is permitted.​​​ To apply for City approval for level 1 - 3 home businesses, please complete the following application form
  4. Home food businesses If you are setting up a business that involves food preparation, there are specific legislation and guidelines you must follow. We suggest you start by reading our Guidelines for Food Preparation in Residential Premises for Sale to the Public.

Once completed, you must contact the City’s Development Services team for guidance on development approval required before applying for health approval. Once you have the necessary development approval, you will need to complete and submit a Food Premises Notification Form.

For more information, please refer to the Home Office, Home Occupation and Home Business Information Sheet.

Patios, pergolas and shade sails

Patios

A patio is described as an unenclosed (open on two or more sides) structure roofed in a water impervious material which may or may not be attached to a dwelling. A patio is usually used for outdoor living and entertainment.

Planning approval for a patio is required where variations to the deemed-to-comply requirements on of the R-Codes are sought, or the property is within the City’s heritage protection area.

Pergolas and shade sails

A pergola or shade sail is defined as an open-framed structure covered in water permeable material or unroofed, which may or may not be attached to a dwelling.

Development approval is not required for a pergola or shade sail where the following requirements are satisfied:

  •   The pergola or shade sail is located outside the street setback area
  •   The pergola or shade sail is less than 4m high
  •   The roof of the pergola or shade sail is more than one metre from the boundary
  •   The pergola or shade sail is not on land within the City’s heritage buildings and sites. 

In all other instances, development approval is required.

A building permit is not required provided the patio/shade sail complies with all of the following:

  •   The structure is freestanding
  •   The structure has a maximum floor area of 10m2
  •   The maximum height is 2.4m.

In all other instances, a building permit is required.

For more information, please refer to the Patios Pergolas and Shade Sails Information Sheet.

Residential additions

Any development of an existing dwelling is considered an addition. For example, an upper-level addition to a single-story house or an addition to a garage. All additions require a building permit.

Any applications with proposed variations to the R-Codes or the local planning scheme and associated policies, or are located within a heritage protection area will also require development approval.

For more information, please refer to the Residential Addition Information Sheet.

Retaining walls

A retaining wall is a structure designed to support soil at a slope where it cannot naturally be supported. A retaining wall is also required when any changes to natural ground levels are proposed.

A building permit is also required when a retaining wall will exceed 0.5m in height. Development approval is required where the retaining wall does not comply with the relevant R-Codes.

For more information, please refer to the Retaining Walls Information Sheet or visit the Planning WA website.

Rezoning

Land zoning determines what uses and development may be allowed on that land.

The most common type of the scheme amendment process is better known as rezoning. This is a process where the existing property (for example, residential) is changed to a new zoning (such as business).

The process includes but is not limited to:

  •   Initiation of rezoning

This is where a report is submitted to the planning and development committee and subsequently allows Council to determine if the amendment should be initiated.

  •   Referral to state government agencies

If Council resolves to initiate the amendment, the applicant is required to prepare formal scheme amendment documentation. Once this has been completed to the City’s satisfaction, the amendment is forwarded to the Environmental Protection Agency for preliminary approval to advertise.

  •   Advertising (applicable to standard and complex amendments only)

On receipt of approval to advertise the amendment, the City will arrange advertising in accordance with the LPS3 regulations and the City’s planning consultations procedure. The advertisement will be housed on the City’s Your Say Stirling website and is open to public comment. The consultation period is a minimum of 42 days in the case of a standard amendment and minimum of 60 days in the case of a complex amendment.

  •   Report on submissions received

Following the advertising period, a report on any submissions received will be prepared and referred to Council. Should Council resolve to adopt the scheme amendment with or without modification, the City will forward the submissions together with Council’s comments and recommendations to the WAPC. Should Council resolve not to adopt the scheme amendments it must still forward the documents to the WAPC. 

  •   Final determination

The final scheme amendment document, a schedule of all submissions received, and details of Council’s decision are referred to the WAPC to obtain the Minister for Planning’s final approval. If the Minister agrees to grant final approval, the City will then arrange for the scheme amendment to be published in the Government Gazette, at which point it legally comes into effect.

For more information, please refer to the Local Planning Scheme Amendment - Rezoning Information Sheet.

Sheds and outbuildings

An outbuilding is an enclosed structure that is not habitable and not attached to a dwelling. Outbuildings are assessed against the Residential Design Codes (R-Codes) and the City's Local Planning Scheme No. 3.

Where an outbuilding is compliant with R-Codes and local planning scheme, development approval is not required. However, if the outbuilding is proposed within a Heritage Protection Area, development approval is required.

For Class 10A buildings (such as sheds, carports, patios and garages), the current building regulations provide an exemption from requiring a building permit for the construction, erection, assembly or placement of a freestanding Class 10A building that:

  •   Has a floor area not exceeding 10m2
  •   Is no more than 2.4m in height
  •   Is not located in wind region C or D as defined in AS1170.2.

For more information, please refer to the Outbuildings Information Sheet.

Single house

A single house is a dwelling standing wholly on its own green title or strata title lot. It does not include any dwellings on a lot where there is a common property.

Single houses are exempt from development approval where the development is in strict accordance with the residential design codes (R-Codes) and City's Local Planning Scheme No. 3 and associated policies. Any variations to the R-Codes or LPS3 and associated policies require development approval. 

However, if the single house is proposed within the heritage protection area, development approval is required regardless, even if the development is in strict accordance with the requirements of LPS3, policies and the R-Codes.

For more information, please refer to the Single House Information Sheet.

Subdivision

All subdivision of land (the cutting up of land into smaller lots) in Western Australia is controlled by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC), which sets minimum standards and requirements.

You must apply for approval from the WAPC before you apply for City approval. Once you have WAPC approval, you must then obtain development approval from the City for five or fewer dwellings.

The following information must be submitted for all subdivision applications:

For more information, please visit the Western Australian Planning Commission website.

Useful documents

Document nameDownloadable files
Residential Subdivisions - Information Sheet279.6KB (PDF)
Subdivision Clearances - Information Sheet200.0KB (PDF)

Swimming pools and spas

A building permit is required before installing, constructing or altering a swimming pool, spa or pool safety barriers.

Please note, all private swimming pools and spas containing water more than 300mm deep must have a compliant barrier installed that restricts access by young children to the pool and its immediate surrounds.

Inflatable pools capable of holding over 300mm of water also require a building permit and safety barriers.

Top tip

Owners and occupiers are responsible for making sure that any fence or barrier restricting access to a swimming or spa pool is maintained and is operating effectively. If you do not comply with the regulations you risk the lives of young children and may face substantial fines.

For more information, please see our pool and spa safety guidelines.

Swimming pool and spa removal

If you plan to remove your swimming pool or spa, please complete the Swimming Pool and Spa Removal Form and return it by email to stirling@stirling.wa.gov.au.

Swimming pool and spa inspections

The City of Stirling has a legislative obligation to make sure that swimming pool and spa barriers are inspected regularly. To confirm continued compliance with the building regulations, they must ensure that a 4-year period does not elapse between inspections.

To book a pool or spa barrier inspection, please phone our Customer Contact Centre.

Useful documents

Document nameDownloadable files
Pool and spa safety guidelines585.7KB (PDF)
Swimming pool and spa removal form124.4KB (PDF)

Dividing fences

Fences within the setback area over 1.2 metres in height require both planning and building approval. Dividing fences up to 1.8m in height do not require any approval from Council and are controlled by the Dividing Fences Act 1961 (all new and repaired fences should conform to this standard).

The Citizens Advice Bureau of Western Australia may be able to assist on matters relating to the Dividing Fences Act. Further information may also be obtained by contacting the Legal Aid Commission or from the Building Commission within the Department of Commerce.

Useful documents

Document nameDownloadable files
Dividing fences1.7MB (PDF)
If your project relates to a heritage property, please visit Heritage and development
Click here

Verge permits

Verges play an important role in our streets by establishing an area for street trees, lawns and gardens. They also accomodate overhead and underground utilities such as power, water, gas and communications infrastructure.

If you're developing your property, a verge permit is required for all building or demolition work on the adjacent property. For more information, please see Verges.

Top tip

Save time in the long run by registering for your eLodgement account in advance. An eLodgement account will enable you to submit your applications online. Please click here to register.