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Planning and building

The Gold Coast is a vibrant and attractive city. We are working hard to maintain our enviable lifestyle and ensure our city continues to thrive in a sustainable way.

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Building works that do not require an approval

Building works that do not require an approval

All building work starts out needing a building approval; however state building regulations allow some low risk work without approval:

  • A garden shed up to 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10 square metres, five (5) metres long and not located in the front or waterfront setback areas, refer to sheds.
  • A fence not more than two (2) metres high.
    • swimming pool fencing needs approval for new work regardless of the height
    • waterfront areas and corner lots also have special rules, refer to fencing.
  • A one-metre-high retaining wall (if no loads are imposed above it, such as a building or driveway), refer to retaining walls.
  • Deck up to one (1) metre high and less than 10 square metres when not located in any required setback area.
  • Roofed patio up to 2.4 metres high (2.1 metres mean height), 10 square metres, five (5) metres long when not located in any required setback area.

While building approval may not be required, it still must be checked against:

Building work that does not need to be checked against these standards includes:

  • fixing minor attachments to a building such as a sunhood if the sunhood’s area is less than two square metres
  • playground equipment not more than three metres high.

A full list of building work that doesn’t need approval can be found in Schedule 1 and 2 of the Building Regulation 2006. Visit Queensland Legislation website for more information.

Building designers, architects and building certifiers will be able to advise whether a building approval is required.
Our Building Certification Group can assist with general enquiries on 07 5667 5978 or email

Renovations/repairs to my home and other buildings

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

For example a family disable their garage door and use their garage as an extra bedroom or lounge; this change requires a building approval even though no building work was actually done.
Where building work involves only minor repairs or maintenance to existing buildings not affecting structural or fire safety a building approval may not be needed.

Do I need approval to have a shipping container on my property?

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

The building certifier will refer the application to us to consider the impact of the shipping container against our aesthetic and amenity policy, this only allows approval on sites greater than 1500 square metres unless on a temporary basis.

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

Can I live in a caravan or tiny house on wheels without approval?

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

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

Tiny houses don’t include registered vehicles, or vehicles which can be registered; these are administered under our local law which also restricts their use as accommodation.
Further information including licence applications as a vehicle can be found on our Camping areas and caravan parks page.

Either a building approval or a camping area licence will be required for a living in a caravan or tiny house on wheels.

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