Pergolas, Patios and Minor Structures

You may need to apply for a Building Permit from the City for a new patio, pergola, shade sail, shed or other minor structure before the proposed structure can be constructed. Find out when a building permit is required and if you also require planning approval.

In most instances, a Building Permit must be obtained from the City prior to building work being carried out for a patio, pergola, shade sail, shed, water tank or minor structure.

Pergolas

A pergola is an open-sided structure that is supported by columns or posts. It generally has an open roof or a permeable roof cover (eg. shade cloth). A pergola may be freestanding or attached to the dwelling. 
 
It should be noted that a pergola with an impervious roof covering (eg. colorbond or polycarbonate sheeting) is considered a patio by the City.

When is a Building Permit required for a Pergola?

You will need a permit for an unenclosed pergola that is more than 20m2 in area and/or is more than 2.4m in height.

Please visit the Building Permit Application page for more information on how to submit a Building Permit application for a pergola.

If a pergola is less than 20m2, a building permit will not be required.

Shade sails

A shade sail is a piece of permeable fabric that is fixed to timber or metal posts to provide shade to an outdoor area. Please note a shade sail made from impervious fabric (i.e. impenetrable to rainwater) is classed as a patio by the City.


When is a Building Permit required for a Shade Sail?

You will need a Building Permit for a shade sail that is more than 10m2 in area and/or is more than 2.4m in height.

Sheds

Sheds can be built right up to a boundary but can be no closer than 900mm from house eaves. If this cannot be achieved, the shed must be 900mm from the boundary to comply with fire separation requirements of the Building Code of Australia.


When is a Building Permit required for a Shed?

You will only need a Building Permit for a shed that:

  • Is larger than 10m2 and/or
  • Has walls more than 2.4m in height
  • Please visit the Building Permit Application page for more information on how to submit a Building Permit application for a shed

If a shed is less than the dimensions above, a building permit will not be required.

Water Tanks

A rainwater tank made from steel or fibreglass, with a height of not more than 1.8m and a capacity of less than 5000 litres would not require a Building Permit. The tank should be located in the rear yard of a property and not be visible from the primary or secondary streets. In addition, the base of the tank must be placed directly on the ground or supported by a manufacturer designed tank stand not exceeding 300mm in height.

When is a building permit required for a rainwater tank?

You will need a building permit for a rainwater tank that:
  • Is more than 1.8m in height, and/or
  • Has a capacity of more than 5000 litres, and/or
  • Is constructed of a material other than steel or fibreglass.

Build a Patio

A patio is a pergola with an impervious roof covering (eg. colorbond or polycarbonate sheeting). Under the Building Code of Australia, patios are classed as non-habitable Class 10a buildings.


When is a building permit not required for a Patio? 

Under the Building Regulations 2012, a Building Permit is not required for a patio that:

  • Is freestanding
  • Has a floor area not exceeding 10m2  and
  • Is not more than 2.4m in height.

The freestanding proposed patio should be located not less than 900mm from the dwelling and a minimum distance of 500mm from the lot boundary.
Please note that a Building Permit Application may be required if the proposed patio does not meet the above criteria. Planning approval may also be required. In such instances, please ensure that planning approval is obtained prior to submitting an application for a building permit.

Visit the Building Commission website for the following forms:

  • BA1 form - Application for Building Permit (Certified)
  • BA2 form - Application for Building Permit (Uncertified)

More information and contact

Please contact the City’s Building Services team for more information on swimming pools, spas and water tanks on 08 9411 3444 or at customer@cockburn.wa.gov.au.

Contact

Address

9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

Po Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

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