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Streamlining Strata registration

March 24, 2020

The Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety have recently announced that amendments have been made to the Strata Title Act 1985, Building Act 2011 and Building Regulations 2012, that will commence upon the new Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 taking effect (once proclaimed).

This information sheet provides further detail on the changes and how they make effect registering or amending a scheme plan going forward.

What’s the issue?

Currently sections 5B and 8A of the Strata Titles Act 1985 (STA) and section 50 of the Building Act 2011 (Building Act) require a person lodging a strata plan for registration, or to re-subdivide a lot in a strata scheme under the STA, to obtain either:

  • an occupancy permit (OP strata) BA12
  • a building approval certificate (BAC strata) BA16.

This creates duplication and extra costs for a strata proponent because the Building Act also requires each owner of a Class 2 - 9 building to obtain a separate general occupancy permit to occupy the building.

However both types of occupancy permit essentially demonstrate that the building is safe to occupy and use.

What is changing?

These requirements will be replaced with new requirements for registering or amending a scheme plan (strata plan or survey-strata plan).

Under the Building Act for each strata scheme building, these include a requirement for an application to register or amend a scheme plan to be accompanied by either:

  • a general occupancy permit (BA9) or
  • a general building approval certificate (BA16)

Whether an occupancy permit or building approval certificate is needed will depend on the building’s classification and circumstances as determined by the Building Act.

A strata proponent will no longer need to obtain an additional OP strata (BA12) or a BAC strata (BA16) in order to lodge such an application.

How does this affect the Building Regulations?

Amendments to the Building Regulations will come into operation when the amendments to the STA come into effect. These amendments will:

  • Create new definitions of managed reserve, management body, road and strata leasehold estate, and
  • Amend provisions about owners, replacing references to “land held in freehold” with “land held in freehold or held in leasehold under a strata lease”, reflecting lease-hold strata tenure
  • Amend the applicable building standards by removing references to an OP strata and a BAC strata in the Building Act
  • Delete regulation 39, no longer relevant due to the deletion of reference to an OP strata and a BAC strata.

What about the Building Act forms?

The following changes to Building Act forms will be made at the same time section 50 of the Building Act is removed and changes are made to the Building Regulations.

Forms to be discontinued:

  • BA11 Application for occupancy permit strata
  • BA15 Application for building approval certificate strata
  • BA12 Occupancy permit strata
  • BA16 Building approval certificate strata

Forms to be amended for the applicant:

  • BA9 Application for occupancy permit
  • BA13 Application for building approval certificate

Forms to be amended for the permit authority:

  • BA10 Occupancy permit
  • BA14 Building approval certificate

What do these changes mean for me?

These changes predominantly affect those currently applying for subdivision, or seeking to register a subdivision after 1 May 2020. This will mainly affect those undertaking development and design, as opposed to builders and trades, generally.

Further information

A detailed breakdown of the changes, including a table of the proposed changes, can be found in Industry Bulletin 127 at the DMIRS website.

For further information on the changes contact HIA Building Services team on 1300 650 620 or email hia_technical@hia.com.au