A building development approval (or building permit) is needed before construction can start on most types of domestic building work. Engage a private certifier, licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, for applications for building approval (certification). The building approval sets out the mandatory inspections required at various stages in the construction process.
Building certifiers manage the building approval and inspection process with all relevant practitioners. This helps ensure that all aspects of the building work comply with the Building Act 1975. They can also advise whether a building approval is needed, as some minor building work may not require an approval (i.e. accepted development). Some aspects of domestic building work — such as maximum height, setback or character of a building — may be controlled under our Planning Scheme. In that case, a planning permit is required from the local government.
Building certifiers must not design the building or carry out any of the work. All building certifiers must be licensed with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
The owner is responsible for ensuring building approval has been issued and any mandatory inspections have been completed.
The contractor and owner share the responsibility for ensuring building work meets an acceptable standard of quality and finish. Some owners may engage an architect or designer to supervise these aspects of the work.
The building contractor has statutory and contractual obligations for the approval and inspection process. Some builders offer a complete design, approval and construction package. If the builder is to arrange the building approval and inspections, those details should be in a contract.
The builder must comply with any legal requirement relating to the building work on behalf of the owner. Under the building contract, the builder must rectify any building work that doesn’t comply with the building legislation.
The party responsible for the cost of rectifying the work depends on the reason for the mistake. More than one party may be responsible for costs.
You will need approval from TRC to build a shed or carport or locate a shipping container on your property. There are also specific rules for sheds, carports, patios, verandas, decks, shade sails and shipping containers.
This information relates to properties in residential areas (low density, low–medium density, medium and rural-residential zones). Contact us if your property is in a different zone.
- TRC services — clear of underground services like sewerage, water, stormwater and easements.
- Front setback — 6m from road frontage
- Low- and medium-density — 8.5m
- Rural residential — 8.5m
- Rural — 12m
- Side and rear setbacks
- Low- and medium-density up to 4.5m high — 1.5m
- Low- and medium-density 4.5m+ high — 2.0m
- Rural residential — varies 1.5–10m. Contact us for details.
- Rural — 10m
- Site cover — a maximum of 50% of the property can be covered by buildings.
In some cases, a shed, carport or shipping container may be inside these boundary clearances if the height and length meet Queensland Development Code MP1.2.
Sheds On Vacant Land
Sheds are permitted on vacant land provided they are certified by a private certifier, licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
Other things to consider:
- The general siting, setback and height requirements.
- The shed is located to the back of the site so that any future house can be located in front of the shed.
- The size of the shed leaves enough space to allow a future house to be established.
- The shed does not include plumbing fixtures that would allow it to be used as a home or habitable building.
Living In A Shed
A shed on vacant land may only be used as a home if:
- you have a temporary occupancy permit, which you can get once you have approval for building the house on the same site.
- the shed meets a number of design and material criteria before it can be reclassified and approved as a house (or a Class 1a building).
It can be very expensive and time-consuming to design or modify a shed to make it legal to live in. Talk to a builder before considering the purchase of a property with only a shed, or choosing to build a shed to live in.
Shipping Containers & Railway Carriages
Shipping containers and railway carriages have the same requirements as sheds and carport for setbacks, height and design features (above). A shipping container, railway carriage or relocatable storage structure may be on a house block if you obtain building approval from a private certifier, licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
A shade sail is a structure made of fabric material. The structure can have any number of posts or be affixed to a structure and is usually used to create shade. Impervious shade sails require building approval and are subject to the same requirements as carports, sheds and shipping containers. Permeable shade sails do not require approval.
The Tablelands are located within a Cyclonic Wind Region, which means there are certain structural standards and tie-down requirements when constructing buildings and structures. Structures that are relocated into the region, or relocated from within the region, also need to meet certain tests. Check the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Guide or with a private certifier, licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
If your structure does not comply with all of the requirements, you will need to apply to us before commencing construction.
Tiny houses are small and compact dwellings that are usually fully self-contained and often relocatable e.g. on a trailer or wheels. They can range in size but by their very nature are significantly smaller than a standard dwelling. Tiny houses can be designed and built using green principles and provide affordable housing while minimising the urban footprint.
A tiny house that is:
- on wheels
- registered as a caravan or trailer
- only used for accommodation while travelling away from home
- not used as permanent or short-term accommodation
does not require approvals from TRC.
A tiny house that is:
- on wheels or not on wheels and is used to provide a temporary home only while an approved house is being constructed on the same property
requires Local Laws approval. A building approval may also be necessary and we will advise you if this is the case. Building approval must be provided by a private certifier, licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
A tiny house that is:
- on wheels or not on wheels and is used for permanent or short-term accommodation (or for another other permanent purpose e.g. office) on a property (whether vacant or otherwise)
requires building and plumbing approvals. Planning approval may also be necessary and we will advise you if this is the case. Building approval must be provided by a private certifier, licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
- Building records search
- Building forms
- Queensland building legislation and codes including the Queensland Development Code.
- Building access standards certifiers, designers and construction companies must adhere to in providing non-discriminatory access to public buildings for people with disabilities.
- Standards for pool fences and safety barriers in Queensland. If you are building a new pool (including spas), check the safety laws of pools. Find out your responsibilities, including how to get a pool safety certificate.
- Read safety tips for building or maintaining a deck or balcony in Queensland.
- Sustainable housing laws to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by making your home more comfortable and energy-efficient.
- Building Industry and Policy
- Plumbing and building resources
- Queensland Development Code
- Dealing with a building dispute or appeal
- Request to change an existing approval
- Landowners consent for copy of building plans