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Permit for a pergola?

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  1. #1
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    Default Permit for a pergola?

    Howdy all. Im a carpenter who has just started building a pergola over my back deck. I recently finished renovating the house, all with council and building permits, but I didnít think far enough ahead to think a pergola would be a good idea and hence never got a permit for the pergola.

    I have extended the handrail posts at the front of the deck with a big half lap joint and 2 x m12 cup bolts and battens screws and heaps of glue bonding it all together, and then installed Roof Extenda Brackets on the top plate/into the rafters at the start of the eaves. The roof area in the end will be approx 12sqm, and at the lowest point at the front of the deck (fall towards the front of the deck) will be approx 3m high (hopefully less).

    Iím starting to get a bit concerned about what happens regarding the lack of permit. Iím on a corner block and the back yard can be seen quite easily from the street. Our only direct neighbour is in the process of selling their house soon-ish but they have said theyíve ok with me building the pergola.

    Can anyone advise of the process of what happens if I get caught out without a permit? Is it something that I can retrospectively get issued if need be, or when we sell the house in the future? Would it be worth me getting a roof plumber to do the roofing and gutter etc so I have a certificate in case I need it in the future (rather than doing the roofing etc myself)?

    Cheers in advance!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ForeverYoung's Avatar
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    Pergolas by (my and my council) definition don't have a roof and don't need a permit.
    What you have, if you put a roof on it, is called (by my council) a patio and needs a permit.

    ps: they define roof as non permeable, so you can have a roof frame but not sheeting.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverYoung View Post
    Pergolas by (my and my council) definition don't have a roof and don't need a permit.
    What you have, if you put a roof on it, is called (by my council) a patio and needs a permit.

    ps: they define roof as non permeable, so you can have a roof frame but not sheeting.
    Hey thanks ForeverYoung. I did think about putting just vines through the rafters Instead of an actual roof, but need some sort of protection from rain for under deck storage

  4. #4
    Slow but rough Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    I thought a pergola was OK if connected to a fixed structure like a house, and needed a DA for a freestanding pergola.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by livo View Post
    Hey thanks ForeverYoung. I did think about putting just vines through the rafters Instead of an actual roof, but need some sort of protection from rain for under deck storage
    You'd get better protection under the deck if the 'roof' was placed under the deck. Or make it a solid platform, eg tiled

  6. #6
    Senior Member ForeverYoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livo View Post
    Hey thanks ForeverYoung. I did think about putting just vines through the rafters Instead of an actual roof, but need some sort of protection from rain for under deck storage
    Whenever I have done pergolas I always plant a deciduous vine, eg wisteria, grapevine etc.
    Bit old school I know, but then you get summer shade and winter sun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    I thought a pergola was OK if connected to a fixed structure like a house, and needed a DA for a freestanding pergola.
    This might be one of those things that vary by council?
    Mine does have limits on pergolas over a certain height or bigger than a certain sqm.
    And I think mine is wrong calling a roofed pergola a patio? Because most people would think of a patio as no roof, and google thinks that too
    Think we have had this discussion before and someone suggested pavilion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by r3nov8or View Post
    You'd get better protection under the deck if the 'roof' was placed under the deck. Or make it a solid platform, eg tiled
    Yeah I have toyed with the idea of doing an under deck roofing system to carry the water away from the under deck area but it would also be good to have some shade over the deck and water protection off the decking boards so they last longer

  8. #8
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    Because most people would think of a patio as no roof, and google thinks that too
    Yep, a patio is an outdoor floor

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverYoung View Post
    if you put a roof on it, is called (by my council) a patio and needs a permit..
    Will vary from council to council. From memory here its anything attached to the house will require a permit. If it's freestanding and below a specific size/height, then no permit required.


    What will happen if you don't get a permit?

    - Nothing if its not discovered! and probably a $1,000 in your pocket with saved permit fees.
    - If its identified, then it's a process to get a permit, will cost more but is still achievable. Just make sure its built to or above minimum specs and you shouldn't have an issue including if it ticks all other BS council box's.

    Built several structures (sheds, roofed pergolas, whole of house veranda's) over the years all without permits and no issues came about because of point 1.
    This included when I sold down the track...zero issues but is definitely a risk.

    Having good neighbors is a bonus as my brother can't do anything without a permit....as soon as he starts digging, the council rocks up if it's an activity potentially requiring a permit due to the nut job neighbors with nothing better to do than ringing the council.

    Did a bit of research on the building requirements if I went down the permit track, took plenty of photo's (particularly the post holes with tape measures showing depth and width) purely to assist if it was ever challenged.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all of this info Bart1080.

    Yeah I do think Iíd be unlucky to get identified for it, but nonetheless I am making sure Iím going overboard with the specs on the timber members. Structurally I think it will all be above standard, itís more so the council requirements. Iím pretty sure from what I found in my area if the height is not more than 3m, and 10sqm or less, it doesnít need a permit. It might end up being just outside of this criteria, but hopefully itís not too much it an issue if I do have to get it all ticked off in the future/when we sell in 5+ years.

    That being said I just realised that I used slightly wrong size fixings in the extenda brackets, but may be a few hours on the weekend changing a the bolts over.

  11. #11
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    Below is the exempt development for NSW, Vic probably has a similar policy.

    https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au...cks-and-patios
    Mieux vaut prťvenir que guťrir

  12. #12
    Slow but rough Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    ^ Handy info, thanks Metrix.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ForeverYoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    Below is the exempt development for NSW, Vic probably has a similar policy.

    https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au...cks-and-patios
    My local council is similar but different (heights. sqm etc).
    I followed one of the links to see this:
    (j) if it is a roofed structure attached to a dwelling—not extend above the roof gutter line of the dwelling, and
    That would make illegal pretty much every newish pergola/patio/pavilion built near me since they all do pitched rooves now.

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