Pergolas or shade sails

A pergola or shade sail are structures used to create outdoor shade. A pergola is an opened sided structure and has an open weave permeable roof. i.e. shade cloth, lattice.

A shade sail also has an open weave permeable roof that is only tensioned between several suitable anchor points.

What can I build?

Pergolas or shade sails can be freestanding or attached to a dwelling or another structure. A pergola or shade sail 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.

Care should be taken to ensure that the cover to a pergola or shade sail is designed and located to avoid water runoff into neighbouring properties.

Do I need a building permit?

The Building  Regulations  2012  states that construction, erection, assembly or placement of a pergola or shade sail with a floor area of 20m2 or less and an overall height of no more than 2.4m do not require a Building Permit.

How long does it take to get a building permit for a pergola or shade sail?

The Building Act 2011 sets time frames in which the City has to assess and determine an application for a Building Permit. The applicable timeframe depends on whether the building application is Uncertified or Certified.

It is important that you are aware of allowed time frames prior to lodging your application and that your application documentation is complete.

Should further information be required by the City in order to assess the building application, the applicant may be given up to 21 calendar days in which to provide the outstanding information. If the information is not received within the 21 days, the application may be refused unless a mutual consent has been granted for a further 21 days.

Uncertified Building Applications (BA2)

An Uncertified Building Application can be submitted for Class 10 structures such as a pergola or shade sail.

The City has up to 25 business days from the date of lodgement to assess the application and issue a Building Permit. The required Certificate of Design Compliance will be issued by the City as part of the application process.

Certified Building Applications (BA1)

A Certified Building Application can be submitted for all Class of structures.

Prior to lodging a Certified Building Application to the City, a private Building Surveying Practitioner would need to be engaged to issue a Certificate of Design Compliance.

The City has up to 10 business days from the date of lodgement to assess the application and issue a Building Permit.

How long until my permit expires?

A Building Permit is valid for two years from the date on which it was granted.

If more time is required to complete the building works, you can apply for an extension of time of up to a further six months by making a formal application and paying the prescribed fee.

What happens when I have completed my building works?

The nominated builder on the Building Permit must submit a Notice of Completion BA7 form to the City within seven days of completing the prescribed building works.


If you would like to submit an application to build a carport, you will need to include the following information in your application:

A complete BA1 (certified) or BA2 (uncertified) application form

  • Including all owner's details, all applicant details, construction materials and costings and a builder's signature.
  • BA1 and BA2 application forms are available from the City's website, Building and Energy or from the front counter of the City's Administration Centre

A Certificate of Design Compliance (for certified applications only).

This must be issued by a registered Building Surveying Practitioner and include all documentation as referenced on the Certificate of Design Compliance

Payment of fees

Refer to the City's Fees and Charges for full fee details (here).

Building Construction Industry Training Fund (BCITF) levy payment form (for building works greater than $20,000)

Refer to the City's Fees and Charges for details click (here) .

Site plan drawn to scale (1:200)

Your site plan must show:

  • Location and dimensions of the proposed pergola or shade sail
  • Location of the supporting posts and piers
  • Location of all existing structures on the property
  • Measurement from the boundaries to the proposed pergola or shade sail
  • Location of any septic tanks and leach drains (if applicable)

Construction details drawn to scale (1:100)

Construction drawings must show:

  • Detailed floor plan and elevations
  • Cross-section details

Structural Engineer's certification

  • Footing and fixing details
  • Post and pier sizes

This information is intended as a guide only. The City disclaims any liability for damages sustained by a person acting on the basis of this information.

For more information please contact the City's building services team on 9273 6000 or email