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WA cuts back on building planning approvals

Recent estimates released by the Housing Industry Association reveal the state will have to increase building activity by as much as 13,800 homes each year in order to meet housing requirements for 2050.

These statistics have caused the state to take a serious look at local Town Planning Schemes and policies to ensure the city is well equipped for future generations.

As Perth remains Australia’s fastest growing city, we face the upcoming challenge of housing our ever growing population. While Perth’s current population is expected to triple over the next 50 years, the city is fronting a sizeable housing shortage.

Under recent changes announced by Commerce Minister, Michael Mischin, a new Instant Start initiative has been revealed, enabling builders to commence work on single detached houses immediately after lodging a certified permit. This limits a lag time where builders are forced to wait while their application is processed by local governments.

Mischin outlines that the lack of certainty regarding approvals can cause substantial time loss, meaning significant costs and delays to the housing construction industry and its clients. This means that builders are left with uncertain start times, effecting their ability to schedule subcontractors efficiently.

In an additional move, Planning Minister John Day has suggested a range of changes be made to the state’s planning laws. Under these changes, individuals are no longer required to obtain approval to build patios, carports, pools or granny flats on single storey houses providing these changes conform to residential design codes. Owners of small to medium sized businesses are able to change the type of business run from a property without planning approval as long as the new use is still a permitted land use. Finally, a singular planning process can be applied across all local governments.

These changes form part of the second phase of government efforts to simplify planning and building approval arrangements which commenced in 2009. These new amendments aim to build on previous efforts to fix residential design codes and establish a state and capital city planning framework. This will be done through fast-tracking approvals for new houses and streamlining processes by moving toward an electronic planning system.

While greater efficiency will be achieved through these changes, the ultimate aim is to address the state’s housing shortage by stimulating residential construction and boosting the overall level of housing supply.