If you’re keen on adding extra storage space for your business – be that a commercial area, a farm, or a conventional area, then you’ll likely need to seek development permission before you begin. Even if you own the land, you’ll still need to go through the process of filling out forms and getting approval first.
Typically, it’s your local council that will be the assessment manager of your application, though in some cases your state’s relevant assessment and referral agency will handle it instead.
How do I make the development application?
There are a few steps you’ll need to walk through when making a development application. These will vary slightly from state to state in Australia, because all of the below is a state – rather than federal – concern, so be sure to check into any particular nuances for your local state (the below information is based on Queensland’s law and process).
That being said, the states are fairly consistent in laws when it comes to private building certification.
Is an application required in the first place?
Before you go through the effort of preparing and submitting an application, check to see whether you need to do one first. There are circumstances where applications are not necessary. To determine if you need to submit one, work out if your plans for your building come under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. As a rule of thumb the following kinds of buildings require applications:
- Any free-standing permanent structure
- Extending or raising an existing structure
- Building a retaining wall of over one metre high, or a fence higher than two metres high
- Erecting signs.
The other time you’ll need to lodge an application is if your building will impact the environment in certain ways. For example:
- Clearing native vegetation
- Demolishing an existing building in part or in full
- Changing the use of the land (converting a home into a retail shop, or one type of farm into another)
- Altering the exterior of a heritage-listed place
- Making significant structural changes to an existing building.
As you can see from the above, if you’re planning on adding storage space to your property or business through the construction of a shed, that will likely come in under the above conditions, and you’ll need to submit a development application.
Preparing the application
If you do need to make a development application, the next step will be to jump on to your state’s website, and either download the forms that you’ll need to fill out or navigate through to the relevant page on their website where you can complete the application online. For example, here’s the website you need for Queensland applications – the web portal for making applications is MyDAS.
As you start to fill out the application it’s likely that you’ll be asked to supply additional supporting information, so make sure you have all of that to hand. Not submitting it at the time of application could slow the approvals process. Once you’ve got all of that together, you’ll also need to pay the relevant application fee.
If you’re working with builders or other professional development companies to construct and install your storage garage, then in most cases you’ll be able to ask them to submit the application on your behalf. While it’s not an overly complex process (as far as government red tape goes), having a professional take this process off your hands can be a great relief in ensuring that the application is done properly. After all, builders have extensive experience in this area and will know these forms inside out.
The four-stage process
Once you’ve made the application, there’s a four-stage process before the application can be approved. These are, in order:
1. Information and referral stage
If there are referral agencies involved in the application, they each need a copy of the application and any other relevant material. In each case, once they’ve seen the application, they might require further information, which they will make to you via a formal request. Note: An application might lapse if you don’t provide that additional required information, or are unwilling to. From there the referral agency will give its assessment of the application back to the assessment manager.
2. Notification stage
In some instances there will need to be a public notification stage for the planned works, and the public will be able to make submissions about the development, or appeal it. If you’ve ever seen properties with a form stuck to the front gate, announcing the intention to do renovations or similar, that is an example of the notification stage in action. If you do need to make a notification (and it won’t always be the case), you can do it by publishing a notice in a newspaper circulating in your area, place a notice as described in the example above, or hand a notice to the owners of all adjoining land to yours.
A notification period will generally last 15 days – or 30 days if it’s a particularly complex process, and at a couple of points through the process (at five days after giving notice, and within 20 days after the notification period ends), you’ll need to give your assessment manager and update on the progress of the process.
3. Decision stage
From here, the assessment manager will decide to approve part, or all of the application, impose conditions on the approval of the application, or refuse the application. The process of doing these things is complex and based on the reports from referral agencies and the notification stage. The decision needs to be made within 20 days, though if necessary, the assessment manager can give themselves another 20 days to come to a decision without your permission. If they need even more time than that, then they’re obligated to gain permission from you.
4. Compliance stage
Finally, in some cases, there might be a compliance stage involved. This simply means that certain developments, documents and works will need to be further assessed by a specialist for compliance with regulation and government planning. The development will be issued with a compliance permit if it passes.
What happens if my application is rejected?
Depending on the circumstances in which the application was rejected, there are a couple of legal options available to you to challenge or appeal a rejected application. If you would like to make an appeal about the development application itself, or the compliance assessment, you can go to the Planning and Environment Court. To do this you lodge a notice of the appeal with the registrar of the Planning and Environment Court stating the grounds of the appeal. That notice should also be given to other relevant parties.
If you’ve got a dispute over whether the application was properly made, or the process of the application itself, then you can take it to the Building and Development Dispute Resolution Committee. Simply lodge your appeal with the registrar of the Building and Development Committee.
What happens if I build anyway?
It’s a criminal offence to do the following three things:
- Carry out development without first getting a compliance permit or development permit
- Fail to comply with the conditions set out in a development approval or compliance permit
- Build anyway, after having the application refused.
There are exemptions. If the development becomes an urgent necessity to prevent danger to life or ensure the structural adequacy of an existing building, then it can be carried out without going through the full process. This is unlikely to apply to the shed that you’re looking to build to increase your storage space, however.
If you are found to be in breach of these laws, you will be likely handed an enforcement notice, telling you to cease development or construction. If you fail to comply with that your fine could be up to $166,500.
The application process to get permission to add a storage shed to your property can be laborious and take a while, but it’s not overly difficult, especially when you’re able to call on the support of your builder or supplier to help fill it out. At Titan Garages & Sheds, we have a long history of helping people with their sheds and goals for their property, and we can certainly help you get the help you need with making these development applications. Feel free to contact us online or call 132736 for any enquiries that you might have.