Outbuildings, sheds, garages and carports
Building an outbuilding shed, garage or carport will usually require Development Approval from Council. Development Approval comprises both Development Plan Consent and Building Rules Consent. An application may be made for both consents together or separately.
Some smaller structures such as garden sheds do not require development approval.
Residential outbuildings, including garages and sheds, SHOULD NOT be constructed unless in association with an existing dwelling.
The following information provides some guidance in determining what approvals are required. It is also recommended that you provide Council with details of your proposal so that we can confirm whether or not development approval is required.
Except for State or Local Heritage Places, a garden shed (or outbuilding) that is associated with an existing dwelling on a site does not require development approval, but only if it is:
- located behind the main face of the existing dwelling;
- located more than 900mm from a second street frontage; and
- not located within 6m of an intersection or corner cut off.
The garden shed can only be established without prior development approval if it would have dimensions that are no more than:
- 15m² in floor area;
- 2.5 metres in height; and
- a span greater than 3 metres.
If approval is not required, it is recommended that garden sheds are set back a minimum of 600mm from a boundary or other structure, to reduce the likelihood of leaves and other litter becoming trapped in the gap.
All free-standing sheds and garages (free-standing outbuildings) and carports require approval from Council prior to construction. Development approval consists of both Development Plan (Planning) Consent and Building Rules Consent.
If the proposed outbuilding, shed, garage or carport meets the following criteria it only requires Building Rules Consent:
- is detached from and ancillary to a dwelling erected on the site, a carport can be attached to a dwelling or free-standing; and
- is not being constructed, added to or altered so that any part of the outbuilding is situated in front of any part of the building line of the building to which it is ancillary; or
- within 900 millimetres of a boundary of the allotment with a secondary street (if the land has boundaries on 2 or more roads); and
- in the case of a garage—is set back at least 5.5 metres from the primary street; and
- complies with the following requirements as to dimensions:
(i) total floor area not exceeding 40 square metres;
(ii) a wall height not exceeding 3 metres (measured as a height above the natural surface of the ground and not including a gable end);
(iii) a wall height not exceeding 3 metres (measured as a height above the natural surface of the ground and not including a gable end);
(iv) roof height where no part of the roof is more than 5 metres above the natural surface of the ground;
(v) if situated on a boundary of the allotment—a length not exceeding 8 metres; and
- if situated on a side boundary of the allotment—
(i) will not result in all relevant walls or structures located along the boundary exceeding 45% of the length of the boundary; and
(ii) will not be within 3 metres of any other relevant wall or structure located along the boundary, unless on an adjacent site on that boundary there is an existing wall of a building that would be adjacent to or abut a proposed relevant wall or structure (in which case this subparagraph does not apply); and
- if ancillary to—
(i) a detached or semi-detached dwelling—the circumstances are such that the total roofed area of all existing or proposed buildings on the allotment will not exceed 60% of the area of the allotment; or
(ii) any other kind of dwelling—the circumstances are such that the total roofed area of all existing or proposed buildings on the allotment will not exceed 70% of the area of the allotment; and
- in the case of a garage and carport—
(i) will not have an opening or openings for vehicle access facing a street frontage that exceed, in total, 7 metres in width; and
(ii) is not designed or located so as to provide vehicle access from an alley, lane or right of way that is less than 6.2 metres wide along the boundary of the allotment; and
(iii) the garage and carport is located so that vehicle access—
(A) will use an existing or authorised driveway or access point under section 221 of the Local Government Act 1999, including a driveway or access point for which consent under the Act has been granted as part of an application for the division of land; or
(B) will use a driveway that—
- is not located within 6 metres of an intersection of 2 or more roads or a pedestrian actuated crossing; and
- will not interfere with an item of street furniture (including directional signs, lighting, seating and weather shelters), other infrastructure, or a tree; or
(C) will be via a kerb that is designed to allow a vehicle to roll over it; and
(D) is located so that the gradient from the place of access on the boundary of the allotment to the finished floor level at the front of the garage when the work is completed is not steeper than 1:4 on average; and
(iv) if clad in sheet metal—is pre-colour treated or painted in a non-reflective colour; and
(A) does not involve:
- excavation exceeding a vertical height of 1 metre; or
- filling exceeding a vertical height of 1 metre, and, if the development involves both excavation and filling, the total combined excavation and filling must not exceed a vertical height of 2 metres.
If the proposed structure has a floor area of up to 60m² and satisfies the criteria listed above, then a Schedule 4 assessment (also known as Complying) could apply. This means Development Approval is required, however it is a streamlined process, which has a general time frame of two (2) weeks, if all of the required information is provided and a planning authority cannot withhold approval.
If the building is larger than 90m², or fails to satisfy one or more of the criteria listed above and shown in the table below, then the application would be assessed against the relevant provisions of Council’s Development Plan and may require public notification.
According to Council’s Development Plan, residential outbuildings should not:
- Impinge on the minimum private open space areas required;
- Be of a size or in a location which results in their visual dominance of the dwelling to which they relate, or to the locality;
- Be of a size or in a location which results in the unreasonable overshadowing of the main windows to a habitable room in a dwelling;
- Be used for a purpose which is unreasonably disruptive to adjoining residents;
- Garages and carports facing the street (other than an access lane way) should be designed with a maximum width of 6m or 50% of the allotment or building site width, whichever is the lesser distance.
Maximum floor area
90 square metres
Maximum building height (from natural ground level)
Maximum wall height (from natural ground level)
Minimum setback from side and rear boundaries where the outbuilding has windows
Minimum setback from primary road frontage
Minimum setback from secondary road frontage
Maximum total site coverage for all structures on the property
50 per cent
If the proposal complies with the criteria shown above, then planning consent is usually granted. Failure to satisfy these criteria will require careful consideration of the application.