Do I need council permission to build a shade sail?
If you’re planning on getting a shade sail, it is important to consider the council approval and planning permissions you’ll need. Your local council will have rules surrounding development approvals in your area. Whether you need approval and what kind you need is dependant on the design, size and placement of your potential shade sail at the discretion of your local council. If you don’t gain the appropriate permissions your council could demand you remove it, or it will cause trouble later on, usually when it comes to selling your home.
For example, in South Australia, the state Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the local council asses development and building requests in line with the South Australian Development Act 1993 and Development Regulations 2008 legislation. But in Queensland, the local councils have more control and assess development and building requests in line with the Queensland Development Code and their own local city plans and other building and planning schemes. Generally, you don’t need development permission to build a shade sail on your residential property around Australia but it’s different everywhere so it’s always best to check with your local council.
When you need planning permission
Heritage Sites & Specialised Zones
If your building is a listed local or state heritage site you must speak with your local council before building your shade sail. If your property is part of a conservation or high-risk zone, the requirements for your shade sail may different. Priority Development Zones and other state programmed areas are subject to different rules as well. Many councils can provide consultations with a town planner to help you understand if your property has any specialist requirements. The City of Adelaide Council even has Heritage Advisors who can consult with you about your heritage building and potential shade sail.
The sail is too large
If your shade sail is under a certain size, many councils will let you put up the sail without needing planning permission, or allow you to apply for approval with a simplified or fast-tracked system. The size will vary based on where you are as well as the size of your property and other shade sails or structures you already have. When checking the area permitted it’s important to check how that area is measured. For example, in South Australia, the area is a measurement of the space outlined by the posts and other fixing points attached to a roof or wall. Whereas in Queensland the area is a measurement of the actual fabric’s area. The height is also important, generally, only the maximum height is measured, but some councils also limit the mean height of the sail.
The location of the sail
Generally, if any part of your shade sail will be in front of the building line on the side of the primary street, you will need to gain council permission. If your home is on a corner block, your primary street is usually the street named in your address. The building line is a straight line parallel to the street, drawn from the closest edge of your home, or another approved structure, such as a shed or garage that you gained planning permission for previously.
The distance your shade sail needs to be from the boundary lines around the property to build without planning permission varies greatly. The size of your property and zoning generally have the greatest impact on this. For example, if you have a large property or in rural zoning, you will most likely need to leave bigger clearance from the boundaries, than a smaller suburban property. Or if your land backs onto another property you may need to leave more clearance on the rear boundary than if it backed onto a laneway or another road.
The sail will be water-proof
Some council’s mark the difference between permeable and non-permeable shade sails. This is important to check as a non-permeable roof, such as one made of water-proof fabric, may turn the shade structure into a residential outbuilding. Depending on your council area there may different regulations for the size and location of the structure.
Planning permission is not the only kind of council approval you might need. Your council might have different local requirements, so it’s always best to confirm with your council exactly what kind of approvals you need. Even if your shade sail doesn’t need to be approved by the council you may still need to get other permissions, usually relating to building codes and fire safety requirements. Your council can also ask to see proof that your shade sail meets all relevant local and state regulations.
How we can help
Our team can help you ensure that your new shade sail design will fit within your council’s guidelines and help you through the approval and certification process. Custom Made Shade Sails has extensive experience designing and installing a variety of custom shade sails across Australia. Call us today to start planning your new shade sail with one of our local experts.