Building a Patio, Pergola or Shade Sail

This page has information about the planning and building requirements to construct open structures such as alfrescos, gazebos, patios, pergolas, porticos, shade sails, vergolas and verandahs. You may require planning/development approval, or building approval, or both. The following information will help you determine what approvals you need and how to lodge an application.

Definitions

Patio

A patio is an unenclosed structures (open on two or more sides) with an impervious roof covering (material that doesn’t allow water to pass through e.g. Colorbond or polycarbonate sheeting). It may or may not be attached to a house.

Pergola

A pergola is an open-sided structure that is supported by columns or posts. It generally has an open roof or a permeable roof cover (e.g. shade cloth). A pergola may be freestanding or attached to a house.

Shade Sails

A shade sail is a shade cloth structure designed to provide permanent shade that is attached to steel posts, the dwelling or surrounding structures.

Planning/Development Approval for a Patio, Pergola and Shade Sail

Residential Zones

Patios

Planning/development approval is generally not required, if your property is in a residential zone and your patio meets the following requirements:

  • The patio is setback from the primary street by 3.0 metres and from the secondary street by 1.5 metres*
  • It has a maximum eave height of 3.0 metres above natural ground level;
  • It has a maximum ridge height of 3.5 metres above natural ground level;
  • The patio is open on at least two sides;
  • The patio does not cover more than two-thirds of the primary outdoor living area;
  • A post may be within 1.0 metre of the side boundary, as long as the cumulative length of structures on the boundary, including the existing house, outbuildings (sheds) and other shade structures is less than 9m**

* In some circumstances, the patio may be located closer to the street. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your project with a planning officer;

** In some circumstances, a greater length of wall on the boundary may be permitted without planning/development approval. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your project with a planning officer.

Pergolas

Planning/development approval is generally not required if your property is in a residential zone and your pergola meets the following requirements:

  • The pergola has a maximum height of 3.0 metres above natural ground level;
  • The pergola does not cover more than two-thirds of the primary outdoor living area;
  • It is setback from the primary street by 3.0 metres and from the secondary street by 1.5 metres*

* In some circumstances, the pergola may be located closer to the street. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your project with a planning officer.

Shade sails

Planning/development approval is generally not required if your property is in a residential zone and your shade said meets the following requirements:

  • The shade sail has a maximum height of 3.0 metres above natural ground level;
  • The shade sail does not cover more than two-thirds of the primary outdoor living area;
  • It is setback from the primary street by 3.0 metres and from the secondary street by 1.5 metres*

* In some circumstances, the shade sail may be located closer to the street. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your project with a planning officer.

Other Zones

Planning/development approval is always required. Check your zone using our online maps.

Building Approval for a Patio, Pergola or Shade Sail

Patios

You will need to apply for a building permit for a patio if any of the following apply:

If the patio is freestanding; and:

Note: A freestanding patio should be located no less than 900mm from the dwelling and a minimum distance of 500mm from the lot boundary however may be considered when compliant with Part 3.7 Fire Separation of the National Construction Code 2019 Vol 2.

Pergolas

You will need to apply for a building permit for a pergola or if any of the following apply:

  • It is more than 2.4 metres in height
  • It is located in a wind region C or D as defined in Australian Standard AS 1170.2.
  • It covers an area that exceeds 20m2.

Shade Sails

You will need to apply for a building permit for a shade sail if any of the following apply:

If the shade sail is freestanding; and

Lodging a Planning/Development or Building Application for a Patio, Pergola or Shade Sail 

You can lodge and track most building and planning/development applications online, however some applications must be submitted in-person at our Civic Centre.

Lodge and Track a Building and Planning Application

The following guides provide more information about what to include in your application:

Planning/Development Approvals

Timeframes

We aim to process applications within the following guidelines:

  • Where we don’t need to consult with neighbours or external agencies: 60 days.
  • Where we need to consult with neighbours or external agencies: 90 days.

These timelines may sometimes be extended in consultation with the applicant. For more information about the development application process, please refer to the FAQ's.

Fees and Charges

Planning/development application fees are calculated based on the contract value of the project and are listed on the Planning Fees Schedule. The fee for projects with a contract value less than $50,000 is $147.

Building Permit Applications

Timeframes

We process all certified applications (BA1 forms) within 10 working days, and all uncertified applications (BA2 forms) within 25 working days.

You should apply for a certified application (BA1) when you have had the plans, specifications and technical documents assessed by a registered private building surveyor and have been issued a Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3). You should apply for an uncertified application (BA2) when your plans, specifications and technical documents have not been assessed by a private building surveyor and they will need to be assessed by our building surveyors.

If we need further information to assess your application, you will have up to 21 calendar days to provide any outstanding information. We then have balance of the remaining 10 working days to provide a determination.

If you do not provide the outstanding information within the 21 days, we may refuse your application.

Fees and Charges

The building permit fee for an open structure (Class 10a) with a contract value less than $20,000 is $166.65. If the value of the contract is more than $20,000, the Building Permit Fees will be calculated at the following percentages of the total contract price:

  • Application Fee – 0.19% 
  • Building Service Levy  - 0.137%

See all our building permit fees in our Building Permit Fee Schedule, or use our online fee calculator to estimate your building fees.

Planning/Development and Building Advice for a Patio, Pergola or Shade Sail  

The advice on this page is a general guide only. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your project so we can advise whether planning/development or building approval is needed. A planning officer and a building officer are available during business hours to provide advice on a range of matters either in person, over the phone, or by email. Depending on the complexity of the advice being sought we may ask you to lodge a request for written planning advice and a $73 fee will apply.

Guiding Documents

Forms and Documents

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