Building approval

Before starting work on most buildings and structures, a building permit, also known as a 'building approval', 'development approval' and 'building certification' may be required.

A building certifier will assess whether the proposed work complies with the Building Act 1975 and associated standards. If it does, they will issue a building permit. Accredited building certifiers must be registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

The building approval will note what inspections must take place while the work is underway. The building certifier who issued the permit is required to carry out these inspections and issue the final certificate.

Note: Council remains the sole regulator for approval /inspection of plumbing and drainage work.

What requires building approval

The current property owner is responsible for ensuring the necessary permits are obtained from a private building certifier prior to the commencement of any building work on a property. View the building approval requirements fact sheet(PDF, 647KB) and the information below.

Sheds, carports and pergolas

These structures require building approval from a private building certifier when any of the following occur:

  • the floor area is greater than 10 square metres
  • if the side is greater than five metres in length
  • the mean height is more than 2.1 metres or height exceeds 2.4 metres above the level of natural ground
  • it is attached to a dwelling.

Sheds (garden sheds)

All garden sheds are to be located a minimum of six metres from any road boundary i.e. front fence line. A roof water drainage system may need to be installed.


Carports whether attached to a house or free standing will need building approval from a private building certifier.


A pergola must remain unroofed or covered in shade cloth only.  If an existing pergola is proposed to be roofed or attached to any other structure, building approval from a private building certifier is required.

Retaining walls

The following types of retaining walls require building approval from a private building certifier:

  • retaining walls constructed more than 1 metre in height above natural ground level
  • retaining walls constructed closer than 1.5 metres to any other structure, regardless of height
  • retaining walls with surcharge loadings (i.e. have weight bearing load applied to the top of the retaining wall), regardless of height.

Shipping containers

A shipping container is permitted on private property if:

  • it is sited within the property boundary and does not remain longer than 30 days or
  • it is used in conjunction with the construction of a new dwelling on the property for no longer than 90 days.

The placement of shipping containers on a footpath requires additional approval. Complete the Temporary storage or depositing of goods/materials on Council controlled land application and pay the relevant fee.

When building approval is required

If the shipping container remains on the property for a longer period of time, a building approval will be required from a private building certifier. Part of the approval process will be a referral to Council as a Concurrence Agency.

It is unlikely that Council would support a referral in relation to a shipping container on land in the General residential zone (all precincts).


Generally, all structures that require a building permit to be built also require a building permit for demolition or removal from site. This includes the removal or filling of a swimming pool.

Consult a private building certifier for further information.

Plumbing applications / notifications associated with demolition of structures

  • Capping of sewer: sealing a sanitary drain upstream from the sewer connection point of Unitywater's sewerage infrastructure is to be completed by a licensed plumber/drainer.
  • Decommissioning an on-site sewerage facility: is completed by a licensed plumber/drainer.

Removal house

A removal dwelling is a single detached dwelling (Class 1a building) that will be removed from the site that it is currently located (either in part or entirety), then transported to the new proposed location. 

The Removal house application requirements fact sheet(PDF, 579KB) outlines the process and requirements for removal dwellings.