Do your building works need approval?

The following low risk building works do not need building approval:

  • A garden shed or greenhouse up to 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10 square metres, 5.0 metres long and not located in the front or waterfront setback areas. Refer to garden sheds.
  • A fence or screen up to 2.0 metres high. Exceptions are:
    • new swimming pool fencing of any height
    • waterfront areas and corner lots.
      Refer to residential fencing.
  • A retaining wall up to 1.0 metre high that is not load bearing such as a building or driveway. Refer to retaining walls.
  • Roofed patio not within a setback area up to:
    • 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height)
    • 10 square metres
    • 5.0 metres long.

Building works that do not need building approval must be checked against:

The following building works do not need to be checked against these standards:

  • fixing minor attachments to a building such as a sunhood if the sunhood's area is less than 2 square metres
  • playground equipment up to 3.0 metres high.

Building works that may need building approval

The following types of building works may need building approval. A building designer, architect or Private building certifier may be able to help you with the design and approval process. For information on how to obtain a building approval, please refer to our Role of a private certifier page.

Shade sails

Generally, all shade sails need building approval.

The exception is small, low shade sails less than 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10 square metres, 5.0 metres long and not located in any setback areas.

Deck

A new timber deck is likely to need building approval from a private certifier.

These may also need the City’s approval for building within setbacks if they are over 1.0m high. The private certifier arranges this.

Example when building approval is required

For a deck as an elevated platform supported off the ground at any point, building approval is required unless smaller than 10 square metres, less than 1.0m high and meeting all building requirements.

Diagram example of raised deck where approval is required

Example when building approval is not required

For landscaping timber on natural ground (no posts or supports) approval is not required when in continuous ground contact and meeting all building requirements.

Diagram example of deck on the ground where no approval is required

Consideration must also be given to:

  • Building code fire separation requirements when less than 900mm from property boundary
  • Termite protection to adjacent buildings
  • Durability when close to ground

Pergola

Unroofed pergolas don't need building approval when less than 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10 square metres, 5.0 metres long.

When in a setback area, unroofed pergolas can't be used for entertainment and can only be ornamental or horticultural use.

Roofed patio

Unless it is very small in size a roofed patio will usually need building approval.

The exception is for small, low-roofed patios less than 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10 square metres, 5.0 metres long and not located in any setback areas.

Bali Hut

Because of their height, these need building approval.

For a full list of building works that doesn't need approval, go to the Queensland Legislation website and view Schedule 1 and 2 of the Building Regulation 2006.

Renovations/repairs to my home and other buildings

Minor repairs or maintenance to existing buildings that don't affect the structural or fire safety of a building may not need building approval.

The use or classification of a building must stay the same as the building approval.

For example, a family want to disable their garage door to use their garage as an extra bedroom or lounge. Because of the change of use, a building approval is needed even though no building work is to be done.

Shipping container

If you intend to place a shipping container on your property for more than 30 days, you will need a building approval from a private building certifier.

The private building certifier will refer the application to us to consider the impact of the shipping container against our Aesthetic and amenity policy(PDF, 555KB)

Your site must be at least 1500 square metres for this approval.

Shipping containers used for commercial purposes are subject to City Plan requirements.

Caravan or tiny house on wheels

Either a building approval or a camping area licence is needed for living in a caravan or tiny house on wheels on your property.

Tiny houses need a building and plumbing approval just like a normal house.

When they include their own bathroom, laundry and kitchen there are also planning issues to check such as a secondary dwelling or dual occupancy use.

Tiny houses don't include registered vehicles, or vehicles which can be registered. These vehicles are administered under our local law, which also restricts their use as accommodation.

For more information including licence applications as a vehicle, visit our Camping area licence page.

More information

For setback enquiries, contact our Planning Enquiries Centre on 07 5582 8708 or email: mail@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

For general building enquiries, contact the Building Certification Group on 07 5667 5987 or email: buildingcertificationgroup@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

For setback area information, refer to our Setbacks for buildings or structures page.