Council Approval for Sheds: What You Need to Know

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Regulations and Permits

Thinking of adding a shed to your property? Are you unsure if you need council approval or not? It can be confusing to figure out the rules for building a shed. This confusion often stops homeowners from starting.

Fear not! Lockyer Sheds, a top choice for custom shed solutions, will help clear things up. We work in areas like Toowoomba and Brisbane. We’re ready to explain everything about shed regulations. Whether it’s a small backyard shed or a big one for farming, knowing about the rules and permits is crucial. This knowledge is key to a trouble-free building experience.

It might be a lot to take in, but here’s some good news. Smaller sheds might not need council approval for sheds. They could be considered “exempt developments.” This means you might not need council permission to build. But remember, these exceptions have their own rules. The shed size, zoning laws, and residential requirements all play a part.

Stay tuned for a detailed guide on shed construction guidelines, council shed policies, and the shed approval process. We’ll give you all the information you need. With our help, understanding and navigating through council rules will be much easier. Your shed dream will be more possible than you think.


Building a shed can be thrilling, but it’s key to know about council approval for sheds and shed regulations. Not following outbuilding compliance rules could mean big fines or having to get rid of your shed. This process takes a lot of money and time.

The great part is, some councils don’t require approval for certain small sheds. They just have to meet specific rules about size and how they’re built. This makes things easier for anyone wanting to add a shed for storage or as a workshop.

Importance of understanding council approval requirements

Getting council approval for sheds is a step you can’t miss. If you don’t follow the shed regulations, you could face big fines and problems later on. It’s vital to know the rules in your area to keep your shed legal and avoid issues.

Good news: Not all sheds require approval

Many sheds do need council approval for sheds. But there’s good news – smaller sheds might not need this approval. They must meet certain rules about their size and distance from other things. By knowing and sticking to these residential shed requirements, you make the process smoother and skip extra paperwork and wait times.

Council Approval for Sheds

Getting approval for a shed from your local council is very important. It’s vital to know that every council has its own rules. You must follow these shed regulations and zoning laws for sheds. They may differ from place to place and cover things like the size of the shed and where it can be built.

Every council has different rules and regulations

Across Australia, each council sets its own rules for building a shed. Here are some examples:

  • In some councils, a small non-prefabricated shed up to 18m² can be built without a building permit.
  • Other councils allow prefabricated sheds up to 36m² without approval.
  • For farm sheds on rural properties, some councils permit prefabricated sheds less than 200m² without a permit.

Consequences of building without approval

If you don’t get the right permit before you build a shed, there can be big problems. You might face fines, or even have to take the shed down. It’s really important to find out what rules your council has and to follow them closely.

Exempt Developments: When Council Approval is Not Required

In Australia, some types of small sheds can be built without council approval. Many councils give exemptions for this. But, these activities, called exempt developments, must meet certain rules from the council.

Size and height restrictions for exempt sheds

The size and height of the shed is very important for it to be exempt. In New South Wales (NSW), a shed can be exempt if it’s under 20 square meters. In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the roof area can’t be more than 25 square meters.

If your land is smaller than 500 square meters, the maximum roof size in NSW is cut to 10 square meters.

There’s also a limit on how high these sheds can be. In NSW, exempt sheds shouldn’t be taller than 3 meters from the ground.

Setback requirements from boundaries

Exempt sheds also need to be a certain distance from property lines. In NSW, they must be 900mm from the boundary. They also need to sit at least 1 meter from any easements.

In the ACT, if you want an exemption, the shed has to be at least 15 meters from the front boundary. It must also be behind the main building line.

Other conditions for exemption

  • In NSW, each lot can only have up to two exempt developments.
  • Approved structures include cabanas, garden sheds, and other similar buildings.
  • For sheds near bushfire-prone areas and closer than 5 meters to a home, use non-combustible materials.
  • Sheds’ water runoff should not harm neighboring properties.
  • All exempt developments must meet Clause 1.16 of the relevant policy.

Remember, even for exempt developments, rules must be followed. Ignoring these rules might lead to fines or having to take down the shed.

Development Applications and Complying Development Certificates

If your shed doesn’t fit the rules as an exempt project, you must get council approval. This could mean applying for a development application (DA) or a complying development certificate (CDC). The choice depends on zoning laws and council shed policies in your area.

Purpose of development applications (DAs)

A development application is like a formal ask to build a shed. It lets the council check if your project follows the local and state building requirements. They’ll think about how it might affect the environment and nearby properties too.

Complying development certificates (CDCs)

If your shed fits all the set rules and needs, a complying development certificate (CDC) might be easier to get. This quicker option is for certain complying developments that are known to meet the criteria. These include outbuilding compliance and the need for council permits.

Whether you go for a DA or a CDC, talking to your local council is a must. They’ll help you figure out what you need to do. Making sure your shed project follows all the rules is very important.

Building Licenses for Larger Sheds

Smaller sheds often don’t need council approval. But, if they’re big or go over certain size limits, you must follow shed regulations. This means homeowners need experts. They have to make sure their shed meets shed construction guidelines and council shed policies.

Requirement for licensed builders and designers

Sheds bigger than 36 square meters or farm sheds over 200 square meters need pros. These professionals make sure the shed is safe and strong. They check that the shed construction guidelines fit the rules of council shed policies.

Role of building surveyors

Along with experts, a building surveyor might review the shed’s plans. After checking everything, they give the green light for building. Building surveyors make sure the shed meets the National Construction Code and other shed regulations.

By using licensed experts and following the rules, owners ensure their project is safe and up to scratch.

Planning Considerations

Thinking about building a shed on your property is exciting. But, you should first look into council shed policies, zoning laws for sheds, and council approval for sheds. Doing this will make sure your shed follows the local rules. It also helps you avoid legal problems or having to do expensive changes later on.

Checking Local Planning Schemes

Before you start your backyard shed project, do your homework. Checking the planning scheme in your area is key. This will show if your shed’s plans go against any zoning laws or land use regulations. The schemes tell you what you can and can’t do, depending on your property’s features and the shed’s purpose.

Setbacks and Easements

It’s vital to know the right setbacks for your shed. Setbacks are the minimum distance your shed must be from the property lines. They are there to keep enough space between buildings and neighbouring properties. You also need to be aware of any easements on your land. Easements are special areas kept clear for utilities or other needs. Not following setback and easement rules could lead to trouble or having to change your shed’s location.

Taking time to understand the local planning scheme and rules on setbacks and easements is smart. This helps make sure your shed’s design and location meet council shed policies and zoning laws for sheds. This could prevent legal troubles, fines, or the need for big changes in the future.

Consulting with Council

This guide gives you a quick look at what you need for council approval on sheds. But, it’s smart to talk to your local council directly. They might have different rules, ways to apply, and paperwork needs. This is why getting in touch with your council is key. It helps you get the correct and latest information. It also makes sure you’re doing things the right way for your shed project.

When you talk to council people, they can clearly explain what you need to do. They’ll tell you about the steps, fees, and any extra things you might need to do, based on where you are and your shed’s details. They’ll also make the council shed rules and council permits clear for you.

  • Outbuildings not requiring a planning permit generally must adhere to criteria like:
    • Having a floor area below 100 square meters
    • Not being used for accommodation
    • Being ancillary to a dwelling on the property
  • Applications not meeting preset bushfire protection measures will require referral to the fire authority and additional standard application requirements.

So, always make sure to reach out to your local council directly. This way, you can be sure you’re following all the right rules for sheds. It’ll help you avoid problems or delays in getting shed approval from the council.

Plumbing Requirements for Sheds

In cities, building big sheds needs careful stormwater management. This is to avoid floods and protect neighbors’ properties. Local councils have rules to manage roof water. These rules stop flooding and keep the area around your shed safe.

Stormwater management for larger sheds

Big sheds in towns must handle water well. They must follow the rules for drainage explained in the Director’s Determination on Categories of Plumbing Work. About 54% of these buildings are Class 10, which means they’re not for living in. This includes sheds, garages, and carports. Plumbers who are licensed must deal with their plumbing drainage. This stops any bad smells or messes.

Connecting to stormwater systems

If your shed is large and in a city, you might need to connect to the city’s stormwater system. This work should be done by a licensed plumber. Plumbers with a license can work on roof plumbing, stormwater drainage, and putting downpipes to a water tank for your shed. Homeowners must make sure all work meets the national plumbing standards and council regulations. This is for handling water properly.

To make sure your shed follows all the rules, talking to Lockyer Sheds is a great idea. They are experts in custom sheds in Toowoomba, Gatton, Dalby, Goondiwindi, and Brisbane. They will help you understand everything you need to know. This includes building your shed right and dealing with plumbing.

Building Sheds in Hazardous Areas

Planning a shed in a risky place like a bushfire or landslip area means dealing with extra rules. These rules help keep your shed safe, following the law while cutting down on danger.

Bushfire-prone areas

In spots where bushfires might hit, sheds need to keep away from houses and be made of not-flammable stuff. These rules are about stopping fire from spreading, which protects people and homes. It’s smart to talk to a building surveyor. They can explain what you need to do in your area to make sure your shed is okay.

Landslip areas

If you live where landslides are a danger, the council might have strict rules for sheds. They focus on how digging and draining water are done to not make landslides worse. Building surveyors are great at helping you. They know the shed rules for these places, making sure you build safely.