Pergola, vergola and shade sails – approval requirements

The Residential Design Codes define a pergola as:

‘An open framed structure covered in a water permeable material or unroofed, which may or may not be attached to a dwelling’.

Construction requirements

  • a pergola is permitted to be built to the boundary, and it must not touch or be fixed to the dividing fences or neighbours parapet wall. All footings and construction must be kept within the lot boundaries
  • a pergola must be constructed of good quality metal or timber framing which may be free standing or attached to an existing structure. The roof may consist of lattice, timber, shade cloth or other water permeable material
  • a pergola may be supported by posts, columns or piers and must not be enclosed by wall sheeting, cladding, panelling or the like. Second-hand materials shall not be used without approval from the City.

Planning requirements

For the purposes of planning requirements, a pergola includes:

  • a vergola, which is an adjustable ‘pergola’ that may be water permeable
  • a shade sail, which is a fabric ‘pergola’ fixed to posts or other structures (excluding a dividing fence).

For a single house or grouped dwelling, a pergola does not require a development (planning) approval.

Pergolas to multiple dwellings or other commercial properties will require Development (planning) approval.

Fees are in accordance with the Planning services fees and charges.

Building permit requirements

Pergola
A building permit is not required when the pergola complies with all of the following:

  • the structure is no more than 20m²; and
  • the structure is no more than 2.4m in height.

Shade sail
A building permit is not required when the shade sail complies with all of the following:

  • the structure is freestanding; and
  • the structure is no more than 10m²; and
  • the structure is no more than 2.4m in height.

Vergola
A vergola will require an application for a building permit.

Building permit application forms (certified or uncertified) are available from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website. Certified building permit applications must be accompanied with a Certificate of Design Compliance.

Please refer to the City’s Uncertified Building Application Checklist – Pergolas/Vergolas/Shadesails (Class 10a) for information required to be provided with the Building Permit Application (BA2 form).

Fees are in accordance with the Building services fees and charges.