Before you even start building the deck or pergola of your dreams make sure you have secured Council approval. Obtaining this can be a tedious and complicated process, but compliance is absolutely necessary.
When building or renovating, a multitude of safety and structural issues become a concern. Your Council needs to evaluate your plans to ensure that what you plan to build is structurally sound and conforms to safety standards.
In South Australia alone there are some 60 Councils, and each one has its own specific set of rules and guidelines, as do the rest of the Councils and Shires across the country. These guidelines are comprehensive and encompass such details as fences, doors and windmills and even the cutting of certain regulated tree species, besides decks and pergolas.
But regardless of your location, most Councils normally require two approvals — a planning or development consent and a building consent. There may be cases when the design you submit meets all the criteria for development consent and so you only need to apply for building consent. But it is better if you enquire first to be sure.
There are also a few minor repairs and renovations that may not require Council approval (ie low level decks) Again, it is best to contact your council and determine whether submission is required, rather than be wrong and face stiff fines and penalties when an inspector comes around.
For SA homeowners, you can visit the Local Governments of Australia (LGA) website for links to the specific building regulations of each Council. There are likewise sites on the Web where you can find the corresponding guidelines for other Councils and Shires all across Australia.
But if all these seem just a bit too tedious, too complicated and too far outside your comfort zone, then your best option is to give us a call here at Softwoods and schedule a sit-down with one of our experts. Softwoods have had over 30 years experience dealing with Council and securing consent. We can take care of this detail for you and make the planning and building process smooth and trouble-free.