Do I Need a Permit to Renovate My Bathroom in Perth?


Transforming a bathroom space may be deemed a smaller project (relative to a full house renovation), but it may surprise you to learn that a permit may still be required for your bathroom renovation project in Perth. 


When is a Permit Needed for Bathroom Renovation in Perth?

According to the City of Perth, those who wish to carry out any renovation or extension of a property should seek council approval to determine if their planned works will require a permit. 


Bathroom renovation projects are assessed on a case-by-case basis. That being said, your bathroom renovation will require a permit if:


  1. Structural work is involved
  2. Alterations will be made to the plumbing system 


What is Considered Structural Work for a Bathroom Renovation?

Structural work simply refers to any construction or demolition work that will impact the structural integrity of the building. A permit will be required for bathroom renovations that carry out any structural work.


A clear example would be if the renovation work will involve the removal of a wall that separates the bathroom and the toilet areas. Even a small wall like this may be load bearing, which is why a professional assessment must be made to ensure that its removal will not damage the structural stability of the entire building. 


when is a perment needed for bathroom renovation


Is Waterproofing Considered Structural Work?

Waterproofing is not typically considered to be structural work, even though some aspects of it will ultimately impact the structural stability of the building. 


Waterproofing work is carried our as a protective measure to prevent water from seeping into other parts of the building such as between walls and flooring. Any water that seems into these interior spaces can result in water damage, which can eventually compromise the structural integrity of the building. 


Why Are Permits Required for Plumbing Works?

Complex bathroom renovations that involve a redesign of the existing plumbing system will require a building permit — many technical considerations must be made to ensure that the new system works safely. For example, installing a new tiled wet area shower may require an extension of pipes for both water supply and drainage. 


Minor replacements like changing the taps, shower heads, or the toilets’ position will not require council approval as there is no change to the number of plumbing fixtures required. In situations where you are unsure whether a permit is required or not, it’s safer to consult your council for confirmation.


what is considered structural work for a bathroom renovation


Can You Renovate a Bathroom Without a Permit?

You can — if you are 100% sure that you don’t need one. Even if you choose to take a DIY approach to your bathroom renovation, you should know that serious legal consequences will apply if you proceed to with renovate work on a project that does require a permit. Past cases show that you could face fines up to $75,000 if you are found guilty of illegal conduct.


What Kind of Permits Are Required? 

There are two main building permits application:


  • Building Permit Certified (BA1), which is mainly used for commercial buildings (Class 2-9) but may apply to some residential dwellings and incidental structures (Class 1 and 10). This permit has a processing time of 10 business days from the date of application.  


  • Building Permit Uncertified (BA2), which only applies to residential dwellings and incidental structures. This permit has processing time of 25 business days from the date of application.


If you are unsure of which permit to apply for, not to worry. In most cases, your builder or renovation service will be able to determine the required permits based on the work and submit the application for them on your behalf. 


Do Permits Apply For Strata Bathroom Renovations?

In the case of strata renovations, the permit requirements may involve a general occupancy permit (BA10) or a general building approval certificate (BA14), depend on the building’s classification and circumstances under the Building Act. 


Renovating a bathroom in a strata property is a little trickier as the work must also adhere to the specific by-laws of the strata title, which cover what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to renovations. 


Any cosmetic work such as replacing or installing new bathroom vanities can usually be carried out without issue. For anything that involves building or plumbing work, such as changing bathroom tiling or altering the location of pipes, you’ll need prior approval.


Adding to this, the bathroom renovation work may end up affecting other tenants in terms of noise and shared walls. This is why renovation work in strata properties often face more limitations in what can be done.


why are permits required for plumbing works


How To Apply for Council Approval 

Always be sure to confirm the permit requirements before proceeding with your bathroom renovation, and work with professional bathroom renovators who understand these requirements rather than taking on the renovation yourself.


Most bathroom renovation services in Perth offer to apply for the right permits in advance and on your behalf, ensuring that the bathroom renovation is as smooth as possible — this is what we offer at Venaso Selections. 


If you are planning a DIY project however, you can apply directly for the permits on the building commission website, provided you already know what permits apply.