patios, pergolas and shade sails

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) classes patios, pergolas, shade sails and the like as Class 10a structures. 

Patios

A patio is an unenclosed structure with a roof that is impervious (i.e. impenetrable) to water. A patio may or may not be attached to a dwelling.

What Can I Build?

  • Can be attached to a dwelling or be freestanding;
  • Can be constructed from timber or metal;
  • Maximum height of posts is 2.4m;
  • Maximum roof height for flat roof patio is 2.7m, and for a gable roof is 4.2m;
  • Posts can be built up to the lot boundary with the roof and gutters no closer than 900mm from the boundary;
  • On a corner property, a patio must be setback a minimum of 1.5m from the secondary street boundary - may be reduced with a Development Approval application; and
  • Check if an easement exists on your property as generally, no permanent structures are to be built over an easement.

Important note: If you are looking to build a patio with a roofline less than 900mm from the boundary, you will be required to lodge a certified building permit application (BA1) with a Certificate of Design Compliance (CDC) and a Performance Solution. For more information, please consult a registered, independent building surveyor.

Do I Need A Building Permit?

Under the Building Regulations 2012, patios are exempt from requiring a building permit if they are:

  • Freestanding;
  • Less than 10m2; and
  • No greater than 2.4m in height.

A patio attached to another structure, for example a dwelling, will require a Building Permit even if the patio it is less than 10m2 and no higher than 2.4m.

Pergolas

Pergolas are open-framed structures covered in a water-permeable material or are unroofed. They may or may not be attached to a dwelling.

What Can I Build?

  • Can be freestanding or attached to a dwelling or another structure;
  • May be located up to a side or rear boundary but no part of the structure may be attached to a dividing fence or protrude over an adjoining property;
  • The permeable roof cover to the pergola is designed and located to avoid stormwater runoff into neighbouring properties. 

Do I Need A Building Permit?

Under the Building Regulations 2012, the construction, erection, assembly or placement of a pergola may be exempt from requiring a building permit if the structure has:

  • A floor area of 20m2 or less; and
  • An overall height of no more than 2.4m.

 Shade Sails

A shade sail is a piece of open weave permeable fabric tensioned between several suitable anchor points i.e. posts to provide shade to an outdoor area. It should comply with Australian Standard AS 4174:2018 Knitted and Woven Shade Fabrics.

Note: A shade sail made of impervious fabric will be assessed as a patio.

What Can I Build?

  • Can be freestanding or attached to a dwelling or another structure;
  • No part of the shade sail may be attached to a dividing fence or protrude over an adjoining property;
  • The shade sail is to be designed and located to avoid stormwater runoff into neighbouring properties.

Do I Need A Building Permit?

Under the Building Regulations 2012, the construction, erection, assembly or placement of a shade sail may be exempt from requiring a building permit if the structure has:

  • A floor area of 20m2 or less; and
  • An overall height of no more than 2.4m.

If more than one (1) shade sail is to be installed and each has a floor area of less than 20m2, a Building Permit is required if the accumulative overall floor area is more than 20m2.

Example:

Shade Sail A = 10m2

Shade Sail B = 15m2

Total floor area = 25m2

 Submitting A Building Permit Application

The following documents would need to be submitted for a building permit application:

  • Completed BA1 or BA2 application form with all owner details provided, and builder and applicant sections completed and signed.
  • Applicable fees (see fee schedule).
  • Certificate of Design Compliance (only if submitting a BA1 - Certified Building Application).
  • Location of easements and distance to the proposed structure (if applicable).
  • Site plan, minimum scale of 1:200 showing:
    • Location of the proposed structure(s);
    • All existing structures;
    • Setbacks from the lot boundaries and all other buildings / structures on the property;
    • Dimensions of the proposed(s).
  • Elevations, minimum scale of 1:100 showing:
    • Height of the proposed structure(s);
    • Finished ground levels.
  • Engineering details signed by a structural engineer (required for all steel-framed structures and shade sails) showing:
    • Footing details;
    • Constructions and connection details;
    • Span tables specific to the project;
    • NOTE: if part of the shade sail is to be attached to the roof or side of the dwelling, an inspection report is required from the structural engineer.
  • Proposed method of stormwater management such as soak wells or a rainwater tank.

Other Approvals Required?

It is important for you to speak to our Planning and Health teams about your project before finalising your plans and submitting your building application. This will help to lessen any unnecessary and lengthy delays in the building approval process.

For further information, please contact Building Services on (08) 9273 6000 or email mail@vincent.wa.gov.au.