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Garages, Domestic Sheds, Carports, Pergolas, Shade Structures and Shade Sails

Garages, Domestic Sheds, Carports, Pergolas, Shade Structures and Shade Sails

Garages, Domestic Sheds and Carports

Under the Building Code of Australia garages, carports, sheds and similar outbuildings are classified as Class 10a – non-habitable outbuildings.

A building permit is required for these types of buildings, unless the floor area is not greater than 10m2 such as a small garden shed 3m x 3m.

Even if your building is exempt from needing a building permit, you must still ensure your building is sited legally and is structurally compliant. It must also have a compliant stormwater drainage system.

Please get advice from one of our Building Department staff before you start any building work.

Pergolas, Shade Structures and Shade Sails

A ‘pergola’ is defined as an open structure that is unroofed but may have a covering of open weave permeable material. Shade structures and shade sails fit within the definition of a ‘pergola’ in that they are unroofed structures having a covering of an open or closed weave permeable or non-permeable material.

A building permit is not required for a pergola, shade structure or shade sail provided it is not more than 3.6m in height, it is located no further forward than 2.5m of the front wall of the existing dwelling and it has a floor area not exceeding 20m2, for example 5m x 4m.

Verandahs, carports or other roofed structures are not included in this definition of a ‘pergola’. They must have a building permit.
Consent from a service authority might be required to construct a pergola, shade structure or shade sail in an area over an easement vested in that authority.

Please get advice from one of our Building Department staff before you start any building work.

Application and Checklist

Fees and charges

Building permit fees are to be paid upon lodgement of your building permit application.

Please contact the Building Department for advice on the building permit fees.
Building Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2396

Bushfire construction requirements

If your proposed outbuilding associated with your dwelling is in a designated Bushfire Prone Area, you must conduct and fully document a site assessment. This will determine the level of protection required by the Australian Standard AS3959 – 2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas.

This assessment and documentation is compulsory.

A guide from the Victorian Building Authority will help you with this process.

The information in the guide provides a summary to determine the BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) using an easy six-step approach.

Under Regulation 811 (3) of the Building Regulations 2006, you must still construct your building to a Bushfire Attack Level of 12.5 (ember attack) standard if:

  • Your site is in a Bushfire Prone Area, and
  • Your Bushfire Attack Level assessment is BAL – LOW

The standards are set out in Section 5 of AS 3959 – 2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas.

This residential building standard aims to improve buildings to withstand attack from bushfires including ember attack. This provides better protection for the occupants and the building itself while the fire front passes.

To find out if your site is in a designated Bushfire Prone Area visit

Building inspections

Inspections are an important and mandatory part of the permit process.

The following compulsory inspections are required for all new building work:

  • Before placing footing (foundation excavations, stump holes, slab steel reinforcement).
  • Completion of framework (sub-floor frame through to roof structure).
  • Final inspection on completion of all building work (before occupation and/or use of the building).
Arrange a building inspections by contacting our building department during office hours. Please quote your building permit number. A minimum of 24 hours notice is needed.
Building Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2396