Gaining Government Building Approval

Before you buy your shed, you need to make sure that it has building or development approval, or is exempt, otherwise you can end up with an unusable pile of building components. Council requirements for approvals differ around Australia, with many state and territory-based laws regarding shed design and location on your property. You will need to speak to your local planning authority. Most residential sheds, single or double garage, carports or any structure bigger than a garden shed need approval. Your shed will need to comply with regulations, such as location and drainage requirements, your local council will be able to supply you with an easy guide to assist with your application.

Sometimes it can be a daunting task submitting a development application, because the guidelines usually ask for considerable documentation along with many standard forms provided by the council. Before you begin, visit or call your local planning authority and speak with one of the planning officers or building inspectors likely to deal with your application.

You will often find that what is required is much simpler. Planning officers are generally very helpful, and their information will be accurate and up to date. They are the people who make the decision whether a build is appropriate, so if you follow their guidance it will make your application a simple process.

Your submission should be clear, accurate, set out in easy-to-read point form, and detailed as required.

Mention everything the planning officer has asked for;

Present documentation in logical order, labelling each document clearly and referring to it by the same name throughout the submission;

Council and or your Building Authority may come back to you with questions, especially if you want an unusual build for your area. Usually they will supply contact details for a member of their planning team for you to discuss these issues. Work directly with the staff member to resolve the issues, which can be as simple as providing more information.

Where there are difficulties, see if you can strike a compromise. A shed placed too close to a boundary, for example, may be made acceptable with guttering and a water tank to deal with water run-off. It’s worth going back to your Diamond Tough member with council issues as they may be able to suggest alternatives or provide more structured detail that will satisfy the planning officer.

Be as thorough as you can and deliver documents by the requested dates as resubmissions and extensions usually attract extra costs.

Double-check that all your paperwork is in order. Even if you believe you are exempt from seeking planning or building approval, get in touch with your local council to make sure you are meeting all their guidelines. Costs vary depending on your local area.

If you are an owner-builder, make sure that you have met all your legal obligations before you begin work, a small amount of inconvenience now can save a lot later.

You have approval and your quote – now’s the time to go through it in detail to check that everything you wanted, including accessories, is included in the quotation.