Do I need council approval to build a shade sail?
If you’re planning on getting a shade sail, it is important to consider what sort of council approval and planning permissions you’ll need. Your local council will have rules surrounding development approvals in your area. The kind of approval you need is dependent on a range of factors including the design, size and placement of your potential shade sail at the discretion of your local council. If you don’t gain the appropriate permissions it may cause more trouble for you later on, including your council demanding it be removed.
In Queensland, your local council asses development and building requests in line with the Queensland Development Code and local council city plans or other building and planning schemes. In the Sunshine Coast Council area, shade sails are considered landscaping infrastructure. They are regulated locally under the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014. The council has strict requirements relating to landscaping work in their area to preserve existing vegetation and habitats as well as maintaining the character of an area. Generally, you will be required to complete a Code Assessment Application for your shade sail, however, depending on your planned shade sail you may only need building approval.
If your sail is not affected by the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme then you may only need building approval. This is uncommon, and it’s best to check with your council as the scheme is in effect in many areas with conditions including the zoning of the property, the size and height of the shade sail and the location in relation to existing buildings and the property boundaries.
A private building certifier will ensure the design of your proposed sail meets the Building Act 1975 and other standards and can submit the approval to the council for you.
Code Assessment Application
There are a lot of requirements and recommendations outlined in the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme and it can be difficult to know what you need. The council offers development advice services that can help walk you through the process step by step. A Code Assessment means the council needs to assess the plans for your shade sail against the benchmarks outlined in the planning scheme. There are two kinds of benchmarks in the scheme: Performance and Acceptable Outcomes.
You must meet performance outcomes to be approved, these requirements are straight forward, including things like the sail must be fit for purpose and comply with building and engineering standards. Acceptable Outcomes are more in-depth, but if you comply with all of them then your shade sail is guaranteed to be approved. These include stipulations for the quality of fabric and fixtures used, as well as the height, wind rating and other features of your planned sail.
It is not a statutory requirement, but the Sunshine Coast Council does accept community comments and submissions on Code Assessment Applications but the decision is still ultimately at the council’s discretion. People who submit a comment on the application have no appeal rights against the council’s decision.
How We Can Help
Our local team can help you ensure that your new shade sail design will fit within your council’s guidelines and help you through the approval and certification process. Sunshine Coast Shade Sails has extensive experience designing and installing a variety of custom shade sails throughout the Sunshine Coast region. Call us today to start planning your new shade sail with a local expert.