Getting Shed Approval in Canberra and the ACT

Do I need approval for my garage? Do I need a license to build my shed? What regulations do I need to follow in the ACT? If I am exempt from Development approval, do I still need Builder’s approval? Why does any of this even matter?

Knowing whether your shed, carport or garage needs approval can be quite tricky. As matter of fact, it changes in every situation. There are many regulations about what can and can’t be exempt from Development. This short guide should give you a rough gauge about what you can and cannot do. To see regulations click here. This document shows that “Small structures – such as some garages, pergolas, decks and new homes in new estates – are exempt from either development and/or building approval, provided they meet certain criteria”.

Why does any of this even matter?
If your structure isn’t approved, it can mean the contents, structure and your own personal liability may not be covered by your insurance. Furthermore you may face hefty fines and be asked to pull the structure down. The main reasons for this could include neighbours complaining, or the government needing to gain access to your backyard but not be able to.

If I am exempt from Development Approval, do I still need Builder’s Approval?
In short, it is completely up to the customer and the structure. There are a few requirements to be exempt from both DA and BA.

Whichever route you take, the proposed structure must not adversely affect the structural integrity of any other building, affect any fire protection, handle no asbestos, be on easements, and must maintain (normally 2.5m) access to easements if you have them, as well as a few other general rules.
These guidelines can get you started to see where you sit:

Building is enclosed by roof and walls
4m maximum height overall, and 3m at the eaves (maximum 30 degree roof pitch).
if the block size is not more than 500m2, a max plan area of 10m2 applies
if the block size is 500m2 to 600m2, a max plan area of 25m2 applies
if the block size is 600m2 or more, a max plan area of 50m2 applies
Behind in the building line, and 15m from the front boundary.

EXEMPT FROM Development Approval and Builder’s Approval in ACT.
3m maximum height overall
Plan area no more than 25m2 (can sometimes be pushed up to 36m2)
Frame does not have any unsupported span of more than 4m (can be pushed to 6m).

Ok – I’ve decided I need Builder’s Approval, how do I go about this?
You can either do this yourself, or get a professional to do this for you.
Expect some companies to charge up to $700. The First Sheds management fee for this process is $550. You will need a site plan drafted with the proposed structure on it. You will also need to engage a certifier for the Builders Approval services. You will need to arrange them multiple times throughout the process to come and inspect the build. Provided you get the approval, you will need to pay BAC fees, which go directly to the Government. This fee changes every time depending on the structure and block the house is on.

Approvals in NSW are completely different, and if you have any questions feel free to give us a call.

Hopefully this has given a little insight to you about what is possible.
For more information you can do either of the following:
Call ACTPLA on (02) 6207 1923
Call First Sheds on (02) 6242 5927
Research the regulations some more by checking out the government website, Schedule 1, and the Single Residential Dwelling Code here.


Week Days 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Weekends By Appointment

  6242 5927