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How to Avoid Decking Red Tape

Last Updated Mar 12, 2012 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

If you’re thinking about building a gorgeous deck area out the back, don’t be put off by the thought of having to wrangle with your local council to get all the permits and approvals you need.  It can seem like a bureaucratic nightmare but following a few simple hints and tricks can help you avoid all of the associated red tape.  For more advice, have a chat with your local decking specialist.

Know When Council Approval is Required

It is a great idea to know when council approval is required for your deck. Of course, you should always give your council a call to double check their requirements but generally speaking, you’ll need approval if the deck is more than 600mm or one metre high (depending on your council) or if the deck is more than 10m2 regardless of height.

What Approvals Will You Need?

If you do need to apply for permits and approvals for your deck, you might be wondering which ones you actually need.  Usually you’ll need a planning permit and a building permit.  Planning permits ensure that you meet the required aesthetic components, boundary regulations, and don’t infringe upon your neighbours.  Building permits cover the actual construction of the deck, ensuring that it complies with safety regulations and is constructed to requirements.

Have All the Materials You Need

Another way to help avoid the red tape is to have all the materials you need before you even approach your council for approval.  You’ll need to have detailed plans drawn to scale (usually 1:200) and the plans should show the height, location and design of the deck.  Also make sure that you have the application forms fully filled out and that you have paid your council’s fee.  Doing everything up front will save you from delays in the approval process as your council won’t have to chase you up for missing information.

Have Your Builder Do It for You

Of course, the easiest way to avoid the decking red tape is to have your deck builder do all the work for you!  Most deck builders will build the cost of obtaining permits and approvals into the overall cost of building your deck so you don’t have to pay an additional fee. The deck builder will be well versed in gaining approvals and thus they’ll know all the steps to take to ensure that approval is gotten as soon as possible.
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