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Most people seem surprised when they find out that they may well need to get council approval or building permit to erect a shade sail or similar structure, but there are easy ways to cut through the red tape.

Council approval differs between from local government areas but is almost always handled by the planning department so you should always contact them first for your local laws.

From our experience, shade sails are typically exempt if:

  • the shade sail consists of permeable material
  • the area of the sail does not exceed 20 sqm
  • no part of the sail will be more than 3 m above ground or floor level (depending on where it is to be situated)
  • no part of the sail will be in front of any part of the building line of the building to which it is ancillary and that faces the primary street

If the structure is in breach of any of the preceding points then it will most likely require development approval.  These of course are not the rules for all councils and other factors such as heritage overlays sometimes apply, particularly in areas with sensitive historic character. Good choice of shade sails can blend in with their environment and make it easier to get through the planning process. Waterproof sails almost always require council approval.

To cope with an increasing number of applications, some councils are now adopting fairly transparent processes with regard to shade sail structures. Here is an example checklist from the Whyalla City Council in South Australia. Some councils are very strict, for instance Cambridge in Western Australia requires a building permit for all Shade Sails regardless. Whereas others, particularly in fringe suburban areas have fairly lax rules.

1800 Shade U is experienced in the process of council approval and we design plans and provide all the information you need to make the process as smooth as possible.

Contact us today for more information.