Council Approvals for Shade Sails

Do I need council approval to build a shade sail?

If you’re planning on getting a shade sail, it is important to consider the council approvals and planning permissions you’ll need. Your local council will have rules surrounding development approvals in your area. Whether you need council approval for your shade sails and what kind of permissions you need is dependent on a range of factors including the design, size and placement of your potential sail. If you don’t gain the appropriate permissions your council could demand you remove it, or it will cause other troubles for you later on.

In Queensland, your local council asses development and building requests in line with the Queensland Development Code and local council City Plans or other building and planning schemes. Generally, shade sails are considered domestic outbuildings of either acceptable or assessable development depending on the size of the sail. While there are state guidelines, local councils all have their own rules. It’s important to check with your local council for their exact regulations as they have the final ruling.

When you need planning permission

Heritage, Conservation & Priority Development Zones 

If your building is a listed local or state heritage site, or part of a protected or conservation zone you must speak with your local council before building your shade sail. Even if your sail is a free-standing structure that won’t damage the building, heritage restrictions may still consider it as changing the appearance of the building.

Priority Development Zones are subject to different rules as part of their specialist state programs. Other protected zones, may have specific design requirements to assist in the preservation of nearby flora and fauna or protect properties along the foreshore or in high-risk bushfire and flood areas. 

The sail is too large

Depending on the size of your property, zoning and council the maximum roofed area varies. For example, in the Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) area, on a general residential lot of less than 600m2, where the total roofed area of all outbuildings is 50m2 or less the structure is an accepted development and no planning permission is required of the council. It’s important to note that an outbuilding is defined by the MBRC and many other councils as any Class 10a building according to the Australia Building Codes Board. So in this example, the 50m2 is shared across other structures on the property such as other shade sails, garages or sheds.

Within the MBRC, you will also need permission if any part of the sail will be over four meters tall or the mean height will exceed three and a half meters, measured from the ground or the floor level or whatever surface it’s constructed on, such as a deck.

The location of the sail 

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. If you have another approved outbuilding that is in front of the main house, the building line is moved forward to the front edge of that structure. 

The distance your shade sail needs to be from the boundary lines around your property in order to be exempt varies. Depending on your home, the size of your property and the surrounding buildings these rules can differ so it’s best to check with your council.

Other considerations

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. Many local governments including the Brisbane City Council are making it easier to see the zoning, overlays and planning conditions for your property online to help make the process simpler.

If your shade sail is an accepted development, for example, the council doesn’t need to approve your sail, but they can still ask for proof that you are complying with all the state and local standards. If you have an accepted development subject to requirements or an assessable development within the Somerset Regional Council, for example, you’ll need to submit a building application.

How we can help

Our local 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. Northside Shade Sails has extensive experience designing and installing a variety of custom shade sails in Brisbane’s North. Call us today to start planning your new shade sail with a local expert.