Gaining approval for your new shed
Gaining approval to build a shed can be a costly and time consuming exercise.
You should consult with your local council before you start to make sure you are able to build.
You also need to factor in the costs to meet the council regulations, not only for the approcal process, but also based on what you will need to add to the build to meet these regulations.
There’s not much point in buying a shed only to find that you can’t get approval to build it. Councils differ widely from suburb to suburb and state to state regarding design and placement of sheds so be sure to speak to your local council.
Many smaller sheds are “exempt development” which means you don’t need to lodge development applications. That said, it still needs to comply with regulations such as location and drainage needs. Your council can supply you with easy to follow guides. As for maximum exemption sizes, you’ll find them listed with local council information in the table below.
Submitting a development application can be a real pain requiring the equivalent of small forests in documentation. So make sure you visit or call your local planning desk and talk with the officer or licenser most likely to deal with your application.
They’re normally very helpful and you can rely on their information being accurate. And since they’re often the final decision maker in the process, following their advice can make the project look easier than when you started.
Your submission should be accurate, easy to follow, set in point form and detailed as necessary. It should:
- Deal with all issues raised by the planning officer
- Ensure all attachments are in logical order
- Have each document clearly labeled and referred to by that label throughout the document
- Detail all materials, builders and contractors
- Use products that are well known and meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia such as sheds made from COLORBOND steel, ZINCALUME steel or GALVASPAN
- Deliver your submission on time as resubmissions and extensions may incur extra costs.
Don’t worry if your Council or Building Authority has questions, especially if your plans are out of the ordinary. Normally, they will supply contact details for one of their team for you to discuss any issues which might be as simple as providing further information.
If you strike problems see if you can reach a compromise. A shed, for example, placed too close to a boundary may be acceptable with guttering and a water tank to deal with runoff. Your shed supplier may also be able to suggest solutions to any problems that arise.
Unfortunately, costs vary from one council area to another so for budgeting purposes we suggest you speak directly to your council whether or not you think your shed may be exempt from approval requirements.
If all this seems too time consuming or too much hassle, ask your shed supplier for a supply and install contract. This way they’ll do the hard work while all you have to worry about is supplying any additional documentation the council may need.
Either way, you should personally double check all approvals before work begins because it’s ultimately your legal responsibility if something is overlooked.