Building a carport – Council regulations – Part 2 of 3

Posted: September 7, 2010 by DIY Big Boss in Garden Sheds / Barns / Carports
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This free standing carport was built by Pergola Land in NSW. If you decide to use a professional to build your carport, ensure that they will assist with the securing of council approval. Because they have experience in building carports they will know exactly what your council requirements are and can guide you through the process.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you view it the council have a large say in what we build on our properties and how we go about building them. To make matters even more confusing there are two types of permits / approvals which the council have and they are governed under different acts.  They are the Planning Permit and the Building Permit.  Simply put by Greater Dandenong (VIC) Council “a building permit deals with a building’s structural stability and safety whilst a planning permit deals with local appropriateness of form, location or use.”

The main permit for a home owner wishing to build a carport is the Planning Permit.  The council will advise after this if a building permit is also required.

The Planning Permit ensures that the building is in line with the zoning of the area, the building is in keeping with the area and that the building will not adversely impact neighbours.

Therefore it is important to consider these things in your design.  All councils are different and have their own rules, so it is worth dropping in and collecting these before you start doing any formal design.  Another great option to ensure the success of your project is to start talking at this stage to your neighbours.  Most will not care, but will appreciate being asked, but also if someone does have an issue it is better to identify it now before you pay for a permit / approval to proceed.  For example, if you are planning on building an extended driveway down the side of your home with the carport out the back, it may be that they have a baby that sleeps just next to that area.  They would then have grounds to objecting because your car never went down that side previously.

Do I definitely need a permit / approval?

The answer is quite simply, no, BUT, in many cases you do.  Some councils have fantastic resources that will clearly tell you when you do and when you do not need to apply for council approval.  One such council is Ryde (NSW) which has a great information sheet entitled ‘Carports and Garages’.  It clearly specifies when a development is exempt in a bulleted table.

The restrictions look at things such as:

  • The size of the proposed carport or structure.
  • Where it is in relation to the building line – The building line is the imaginary line drawn at a set distance from the street.  For most places this is about 5-8metres, but it really depends upon the other houses in the area. To get an idea of this, check the distance between the front of your home and the street, and estimate this for your neighbours properties.
  • How many sides are open.
  • Whether you need a new driveway.
  • The design and construction of the carport, how high it will be, whether it is attached or free-standing and what materials it will be made of.
  • Its location in relation to the boundaries of the property and any easement, sewer and water mains.
  • Whether there is a need to conserve heritage in your area.

The actual specifics of each of these will vary, so it is worth sitting down with a pencil and jotting down some rough drawings and thinking about your materials and placement before visiting the council.

With all these things done, make an appointment with a council representative in the planning section.  Take with you the photos of the ideas you like, photos of the front of your property, your sketches and the list of information and notes you have made in relation to your carport.  This should ensure that after a quick consultation with the planner, you will know whether you can proceed with your design, whether you will need a permit and what you need to do if you are planning to avoid requesting a permit.

Why bother asking for council approval?

It is a good question, especially if your neighbours do not mind, why would you ask when you could face the fact that you will not be able to build?  Or even if you will be able to proceed it is going to cost you a few hundred dollars for approval so why do it?

Well the answer is that if you ever decide to sell your home you are likely to have issues finding a buyer if it is not approved.  The carport if built well will add value to your home, but if it is not approved, a building inspection will likely identify it.  The structure will then need to be approved at that point.  Councils generally do not take well to being asked after the fact and in most areas do have the jurisdiction to have the ‘addition’ removed.  And it is not just when selling, a new neighbour may move in and object to the structure.  Without approval for it, the council will strongly favour your neighbour.

Therefore it is best to ask up front, a little pain and financial outlay now, will serve you will in the long term.

Tomorrow we will check out designs for carports and complete our checklist for successful building!  Check out the DIY Bargain Bin Garden Sheds, Barns and Carports for predesigned buildings and structures.  Remember that you may still need council approval before establishing these.

  1. […] Building a Carport Part 1 we looked at items 1-3 on the checklist above and in Building a Carport Part 2 we reviewed 4 and 5.  Now we will look at the remaining […]

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