You have finally taken the plunge and are ready to build that carport. No more stinking hot car in the middle of summer when you want to go for a drive, no more getting wet when it is raining, and no more bird do-do from the gum tree overshadowing your driveway. It is time to protect your car, and that means it is time to build a carport.
Pretty straightforward process, right? Wrong. Building a carport requires planning, and that means contacting your local council to determine what you need to build your new carport legally. Depending on specific guidelines, you may need a permit to build your carport. A planning permit allows you to build a structure on your land that meets the requirements set out by your council. These requirements will vary between councils, so it is important to find out the specific requirements of the municipality that you live in.
Building a carport may require not only a permit for the construction of that particular dwelling but for other works on your property that it may affect. Most councils have regulations in place regarding the removal of trees. Certain species of trees are protected and are not to be removed without a permit from your local council. In cases where a tree is protected but poses a danger, an arborist will be consulted to determine whether the threat is significant enough to warrant removal of the tree. Consultation by an arborist will be at your expense, so this would need to be factored into your carport budget. If there is a protected tree that is healthy, you are unlikely to have your permit approved if you propose the removal of the protected tree.
Councils will also need to determine whether the carport is near any easements on your property. If the proposed plans for the position of your carport obstructs easements, you will need to alter your plans as the likelihood of a permit being granted is very slim. Obstruction of an easement means that maintenance work is not possible, which means that the stormwater flow will eventually become blocked and pose a flooding threat.
Carports constructed in bushfire-prone areas are subject to more stringent guidelines concerning fire resistance. The building and materials required will differ to carports built in non-bushfire areas. Fire resistance measures are another factor to consider in your carport budget if you reside in a bushfire prone area.
Failing to check whether you need a permit from the council won't impact upon you immediately. Chances are you are most likely able to build a carport with your local council being none the wiser. However, if your easements were to flood as a result of maintenance not being able to be conducted, or if a check is run on the property when you have the house up for sale, you will need to prove the structure was built with a permit. If there is no permit, your local council has the right to request that you bring the structure up to standards. Worst case scenario, they can insist the structure be demolished.
Make sure you check with your local council to determine whether or not you need a permit for your proposed new carport. It is always best to assume that you do and work from there. It is not worth the risk of going building without a permit as the financial implications if you get caught, are significant.