Building permit requirement for solar panels on commercial buildings

ECA WA has recently been advised by a member that he received an order from a council building inspector for not submitting a building permit application for the installation of solar panels on a commercial property.

The Building Commission published a bulletin in December 2014 which outlined  the requirement for a building permit before any building work can commence. The definition for building work includes:

a. the construction, erection, assembly or placement of a building or an incidental structure; or
b. the renovation, alteration, extension, improvement or repair of a building or an incidental structure. 

An ‘Incidental structure’ is defined under the Act as a structure attached to, or incidental to, a building. Therefore, the placement (installation) of solar panels attached to or incidental to a building is considered building work and requires a building permit – unless an exemption applies.

It should be noted that an exemption applies to the installation of solar panels and solar hot water systems on a Class 1 or Class 10a building that is not in Wind Regions C or D as defined in AS 1170.2

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