Unauthorised works and building safety

In general, a person must not carry out works without the relevant approvals and permits where one is required.

The City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3 applies to residential, commercial and industrial zoned land. It prescribes development controls for all land uses and suitable locations / zones in order to protect the amenity of those areas.  Land uses conducted where not permitted or without approval from the City, can cause considerable problems for the community.  

Approval that is required after an unauthorised structure has been completed is referred to as retrospective approval. This retrospective approval process may help those who are buying or selling a property that has an unauthorised structure.

Planning and building service requests

The City can investigate planning and building service issues: 

  • Business from home
  • Commercial vehicle parking
  • Dangerous or unsafe buildings
  • Overlooking / privacy issues
  • Departure from approved plans
  • Swimming pools / spa barrier
  • Unauthorised structures
  • Unauthorised signage
  • Unauthorised land use
  • Unauthorised cut and/or fill.

To submit a development services planning and building service request, please complete the following form:

Planning and building service request 

Unauthorised works

  • Unauthorised development works

    If you're unsure whether a structure or land use is permitted in a specific location, the City provides general advice, but is not a consulting service.  Where you have a concern about unapproved structures or land uses, it is the landowner’s responsibility to seek professional advice from a town planning consultant.

    Unauthorised building works

    The Building Act 2011 allows a person to make an application to the relevant permit authority to approve unauthorised building work, in relation to a building and/or incidental structure:

    • Residential properties - Class 1 and Class 10 buildings and incidental structures A person may apply under s. 51(3) of the Building Act for a ‘building approval certificate’ for a building or an incidental structure in respect of which unauthorised work has been done. Applicants should use complete an Application for Building Approval (BA13). This type of application would also apply to a Class 2 to Class 9 building that does not require an occupancy permit
    • Commercial properties - Class 2 to Class 9 buildings A person may apply under s. 51(2) of the Building Act for an ‘occupancy permit’ for a building in respect of which unauthorised work has been done. Applicants should use an Application for Occupancy Permit (BA9).

    For more information, please phone our Customer Contact Centre.

  • Unauthorised development works

    It is an offence pursuant to the Planning and Development Act 2005 to carry out development contrary to the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3.  The City considers many factors when investigating unauthorised existing development, including, but not limited to; legal proceedings, the issuing of a direction notice or a planning infringement notice.

    The City’s Compliance Enforcement Policy 2015 details how the City evaluates risk and undertakes enforcement action.

    Unauthorised building works

    Whilst time limits apply under S. 133 of the Building Act in relation to when a prosecution can commence for an offence such as doing building work without a building permit, this does not prevent a permit authority serving a building order at any time to an owner in relation to unauthorised building work.

    A building order may specify what needs to be done regarding a building or incidental structure, such as remedial works or removal of unauthorised works. This is a matter the permit authority will consider on a case by case basis.

    If you are concerned that a building or incidental structure on a property you own or are thinking about purchasing may not have the necessary approval, please phone our Customer Contact Centre to confirm any building approvals that have been granted.

    Prosecution Summaries

    The below link depicts decisions made by the Magistrates Court in relation to Planning, Building and Local Government Act Prosecutions.

    Prosecution Summaries

    Top tip

    Although a person may seek retrospective approval for unauthorised building work, this does not cancel the offence and a local government may still take legal action under the Building Act, to ensure that the unauthorised building work is approved or removed.

Building safety


If you are thinking of renovating, you need to be aware that household materials could contain asbestos and take precautions to protect yourself. Any person handling or disposing of asbestos must comply with the Health (Asbestos) Regulations 1992.

For more information on how to identify and correctly remove asbestos, you can visit the WA Health website.

Disposing of asbestos

Residents can dispose of asbestos at Tamala Park and Redhill landfill sites. For further information on their opening hours and disposal requirements, please visit the Mindarie Regional Council and East Metropolitan Regional Council websites.

Please note that the City's Recycling Centre Balcatta does not accept asbestos.

Hazardous waste disposal

If you have concerns about an asbestos risk in our community, please complete an illegal dumping form.

Decommissioning of septic tanks

Septic tanks are full of untreated wastewater which if abandoned and incorrectly decommissioned, can leak contaminants into the soils and ground water.

For more information, please visit the WA Health website.


If there is excessive dust coming from a building site that requires investigation from the City, please use the below health hazard request form:

Health hazard request

Service delivery delays

We are experiencing some delays in service delivery due to COVID-19 and an impact on our staffing. We’re aiming to minimise disruption to our customers and to maintain delivering essential services. We are prioritising services that ensure the health and safety of our community.

The following requests may take up to four weeks to be resolved. You can continue to lodge these services, however please take into account the delay in delivery.

  • Litter/dumped rubbish on private property
  • Dust complaints
  • Noise complaints
  • Animal complaints - cat, rats, chickens, pigeons and bees
  • Odour complaints
  • Light spills (that do not cause harm to the public).