Are Shipping Container Homes Legal in Australia?

Shipping Container Laws Australia

Shipping container homes have emerged as a more popular home design option in recent years. Although there are some people using them as full-time residences around the globe and the concept is still gaining momentum. Consequently, not too many people know if shipping container homes are even legal in Australia.

In Australia, shipping container homes are legal. However, you will need to get a permit from the local state government before building one. Each territory has different construction laws.

The process of building a shipping container home is fairly straightforward. One can complete it in a few days. However, there are some legal considerations you will need to address when constructing one on your property. So, let’s discuss shipping container building and environmental laws in the different parts of Australia.

Shipping Container Homes Law in Australia:

Shipping container homes are legal in Australia, but there are some rules and regulations you’ll need to follow before you can start building one.

The first thing you’ll need to do is contact your local state government for more information on getting a permit; each territory has different guidelines, so make sure you know your area’s specific rules.

Let’s discuss different states’ building and constructions laws.

Shipping Container Building Law in New South Wales:

In New South Wales, you’ll need to as Wollondilly Council. your containers have been approved by theIn order to get the approval, you will need to apply through a proper channel to the council, and once you get a permit, you can proceed further with the building.

You have to submit an application that includes:

  • A site plan of your property
  • A floor plan of your proposed structure
  • An exterior elevation drawing of the structure

Council will then either approve or deny your application.

Shipping Container Building Law in Victoria:

The law of Victoria, Australia, does not have specific regulations regarding the construction of buildings using shipping containers. However, there are general laws that apply to all buildings. City of Melbourne Act 2001 and the Planning and Environment Act 1987. governs the law.

So, in order to have a building constructed with prefabricated or modular containers, the owner must obtain permission from the local council.  You need this permission even if you are building a container structure at the same time as a house. In some cases, this permission may also be required if the containers are just temporary residences.

Shipping Container Building Law in Queensland:

In Queensland, you will need to apply for a permit before you can begin building your shipping container home. The main reason that this is the case is that you need to ensure your structure complies with all of the building codes and regulations.

If your structure complies with the state’s building regulatory requirements, you can happily construct a shipping container home on your property.

Shipping Container Building Law in South Australia:

In South Australia, it is legal to build a shipping container home. So long as the builder follows the Building Code of Australia and the South Australian Development Regulations 2008.

However, there are a few things to consider before you start building:

  • Get in touch with your local council if you plan to make any major modifications to the container.
  • You can use shipping containers for residential use only if they meet the requirements of a Class 1a Building in the National Construction Code (NCC).

Since most containers do not meet this requirement, one can use them in “ancillary” settings such as a shed or storage facility.

Shipping Container Building Law in Western Australia:

The Western Australian Building Commission has recently issued a new law regarding the use of shipping containers as dwellings or building components. Shipping containers are now classified as temporary buildings and can be used to construct a permanent dwelling provided they meet the following conditions:

  • The container must be at least 10 meters away from any other permanent building.
  • The container must not be more than 9 meters in height or contain more than 3 modules.
  • If the container is mounted on piers, the height of these piers must not exceed 1.5 meters. You have to place piers so that they do not interfere with any existing infrastructure, such as water lines or sewage pipes.
  • The container cannot be more than 60 square meters in size and must not contain more than 2 bedrooms.

Shipping Container Building Law in Tasmania:

You can legally build a shipping container home in Tasmania. There is no need for planning approval as shipping container homes fall under ancillary buildings.

An ancillary building is a building that is associated with the main residence like a garden shed or sleeps out. The law stipulates that such buildings should not exceed 15 square meters, but you can get around this by having a larger building and getting a permit.

While there are no restrictions on the size of the building, you can only use it for residential purposes, so you cannot use it as a workshop or a studio, for example. This also means that you can live in one, which is probably the best part about having one.

Shipping Container Building Law in Northern Territory:

In the Northern Territory of Australia, you can build a home out of shipping containers. With the right permits, you can design and build a home that meets your unique needs.

You will have to contact your local council to get brief requirements to get a permit because all the local councils have different requirements.

Shipping Container Building Law in Australian Capital Territory:

In the Australian Capital Territory, you can be build container buildings in certain areas without council approval. You’ll need to apply for a building permit if you plan to build a shipping container building on zoned residential or rural land.

If the area is not in a residential or rural zone, you need to apply for a permit if you are planning to build a shipping container home. It might be zoned for other uses, like business and commercial use, mining and industrial use, or public use.

Final Words

As long as you follow the rules of your local government and meet the standards they set out for the building with shipping containers, you can go ahead and build your very own container home. We advise that you always get the necessary building permits in order to avoid any legal hassles down the line.

Find shipping container home builders in Australia here!

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