Verandah’s, Pergolas, Shade Structures/Sails & Gazebos


A verandah is a roofed structure that is typically attached to a home or another building/structure such as a shed. It is the roofing/cladding that separates a verandah from a pergola.

All verandahs require a building permit.

A pergola is an open structure that is unroofed. It may have a covering of open-weave, permeable material. (A shade structure such as a shade sail would fit in this category).

A pergola (or shade structure/sail) does not require a building permit, as long as it meets the following criteria:

  • Is not more than 3.6m in height, and
  • Is not more than 20m2 in floor area, and
  • Satisfies the siting requirements (placement on the allotment), which are set out in the Building Regulations (Schedule 3).

Note: Many shade sails have a portion/corner that are higher than 3.6m which would trigger the need for a building permit. Many are also greater than 20m2 which would also trigger the need for a building permit so it is important to be careful about the size of any shade sails.

A gazebo (or cabana) is usually a free-standing structure that has a roof. A building permit IS required when constructing a gazebo. (There are some exemptions for very small non-habitable structures/buildings less than 10m2 in size).

Distinguishing the differences between the above-mentioned structures (especially siting matters) can be tricky and if you are unsure, then please contact Council’s Building Services Team.

For further information, please see the attached PDF document provided by the VBA.

When is a Building Permit Required?(PDF, 254KB)