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Do I Need Council Approval for Decking?

Last Updated Oct 25, 2013 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

A deck is the perfect place for entertaining and relaxing and it really spices up the look of your entire home.  But how do you know if you need to get approval for your new deck or not?  We’ve put together some general info for you here.  Your local decking professional , local council or state regulatory body can also help to answer any questions you have and confirm the rules that apply to your area.

When is Council Approval Required?

As a general guideline, it really does depend where you live. In some states, Victoria for example, all decks irrespective of size and cost require a building permit - so it's best to check before you get started on your decking project.

To make the approvals process easier, you should have detailed plans showing the height, location, and design of the decking for your council to work from.  If you do require approvals, you’ll need to get building approval, planning approval or both. Building approval shows that the deck is structurally sound and planning approvals shows that the deck will fit in with the area and not negatively affect neighbours.

When is Council Approval Not Required?

In many juridstictions approval is generally not required for decks that are less than 600mm high (that is, less than 60cm off the ground).  In some local council areas, your deck can be up to 1000mm (one metre) high without needing approval.  Approval is also not required for decks that are of a certain size, usually 10m2 or less.  Basically speaking, if it’s a small, low deck, you may not need to get approval to build your deck.  Although, if you have kids in the home or even just visiting, you may want to consider railing it off anyway, as small kids can still fall off the edge of a low deck and hurt themselves

Always Check With Your Local Council First!

If you are thinking about building a new deck on your property, it doesn’t matter how large or how small it is, you should always give your local council or building authority a quick ring first.  This is because different rules apply - what is acceptable in one local council area may not be acceptable in another, and you don’t want to go through all the expense and hassle of building a deck just to be told to tear it down again because it hasn’t got the necessary approvals! 

While some councils will allow small, low decks without approval, there are some councils and authorities in Australia that do require approval for decks of any size or height.
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