There are places in America where it is not required to have a building permit to start building, most of these areas are rural counties. There are places in America where there are no zoning laws, Houston Texas being the prime example.

You may be curious to know that the Australian equivalent would be the Northern Territory, go outside of a “Building Control Area” and you won’t need to worry about Building Codes, although, Planning Codes may still be applicable. If you are outside a Building Control Area in the NT, then typically you are far far away from any developed city or town. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, here in Queensland, every inch of land is governed by the Planning Act and Building Act, so Planning and Building Codes always apply… unless you’re building a tiny house on wheels… 🙂

The below video provides interesting first-hand insights from a couple of the good, the bad, and the ugly of building in an American county where there are no mandatory building codes to comply with. 

This article is written for Queensland residents…

If your garden shed has a – 

  • Plan area greater than 10m2 including any eaves and overhangs; or
  • Has a maximum height at any point above the natural ground surface greater than 2.4m; or
  • Has an average maximum height above the natural ground surface greater than 2.1m; or
  • Any side greater than 5m in length

… then a Building Approval is required.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to trigger a Building Approval. 

If you require a Building Approval for your shed, please be aware that the same rigorous assessment applying to large sheds also applies to small sheds. If you have recently bought a small shed that requires a Building Approval, don’t be surprised if the costs associated with obtaining a Building Approval (i.e. structural drawings, soil report, certification fee, Council fees, etc) exceed the cost of the shed itself. I say this because many people who call in to inquire about getting a Building Approval for their small shed are truly surprised by the amount of regulation that is involved.

At the end of the day, the aim is to show your building certifier that you have a documented design that demonstrates compliance with town planning codes and building codes. Sounds easy enough, but, as always the devil is in the details. a good draftsman and structural engineer are worth there weight in gold.

If you would like to know if your shed design complies with the relevant town planning and building code laws, please feel free to call Agile Approvals for advice and assistance.