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Build a pergola

You may need a Planning Permit, a Building Permit or both to build a pergola on your property.

Is the structure a pergola?

To be a pergola, the structure you are building must have no roof.

A pergola may have a covering of open-weave permeable material which allows water to pass through, such as shade cloth.

How to use this guide

To help you work out which permits you need, begin at Step 1 and answer the questions one at a time.  You may be asked to measure the area or width of the pergola, or refer to the site plan to see the position of the pergola relative to the building.

Before you begin

Example of a pergola

Example of a pergola

If you need help with Planning Permits, contact our Statutory Planning team on 9278 4888 or email Statutory Planning.
 
If you need help with Building Permits, contact our Building Services team on 9278 4999 or email Building Services.

    Check if a Heritage Overlay affects your works

    1. Visit Planning Maps Online and search for the address of your property.
    2. Select Get Report. Follow the prompts to create and open a free Planning Property Report.
    3. On the Report, go to the Planning Overlay section to see whether a Heritage Overlay affects your property.
    4. In the Planning Overlay section, look at the map to see the area of your site covered by the Heritage Overlay. Refer to your plans to see whether you will be performing works in that area.

    Are you building a pergola in a Heritage Overlay?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Check if your property is on the Victorian Heritage Register

    1. Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online.
    2. Look for the Heritage Overlay Schedule link and take note of the schedule number.
    3. Click the Heritage Overlay Schedule link. The Schedule to the Heritage Overlay page appears.
    4. Find your schedule number. See whether the 'Included on the Victorian Heritage Register' column displays 'Yes' for your schedule number.

    If the property is on the Victorian Heritage Register:

    • You may need approval from Heritage Victoria for or any buildings and works including internal changes. Contact Heritage Victoria for advice on how to apply for their approval.
    • You may continue to apply for other permits while your Heritage Victoria application is being assessed. But you can only begin construction after all necessary approvals and permits are granted.

    Is your property listed on the Victorian Heritage Register?

     

     

     

    Check if other planning overlays affect the works

    Refer to the report from  Planning Maps Online to see whether the works fall in any of the following:

    • Environmental Significance Overlay
    • Special Building Overlay
    • Land Subject to Inundation Overlay
    • Public Acquisition Overlay.

    Note that additional overlays may appear. We may refer to the overlay listing at a later stage.

    Are you building a pergola in an Environmental Significance, Special Building, Land Subject to Inundation or Public Acquisition overlay?

     

     

     

     

    Check if the zone is non-residential

    Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online and see whether your zone is listed as either ‘Commercial’ or ‘Public Park’.

     

    Are you planning to construct a pergola in a non-residential zone?

     

    Check if the property is in a General Residential or Neighbourhood Residential Zone

    Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online and see whether your zone is listed as either ‘General Residential’ or ‘Neighbourhood Residential’.

     

    Are you planning to construct a pergola in a General Residential or Neighbourhood Residential Zone?

     

     

     

     

     

    Check the lot size in a Residential Zone

    Refer to the Certificate of Title (available from the Landata website) and calculate the area using the title boundary dimensions.

    Is your lot less than 500 square metres?

    Check the height and floor level for a lot under 500sqm

    Pergola measurements for a residential lot under 500sqm

    Pergola measurements for a lot under 500sqm

    Measure the distance between the highest point of the pergola structure and natural ground level. See whether the height is under 3m.

    Next, measure the distance from the finished floor of the pergola to natural ground level. See whether the distance is less than 800mm.

     

    Is the height less than 3m and the distance from floor to natural ground level under 800mm?

     

     

     

     

     

    Check the lot size in a Mixed Use or Residential Growth zone

    As the owner of a property in a Mixed Use or Residential Growth Zone, you need to check whether the lot is less than 300 square metres.

    Refer to the Certificate of Title (available from the Landata website) and calculate the area using the title boundary dimensions.

     

    Is the lot in a Mixed Use or Residential Growth Zone less than 300 square metres?

     

     

     

     

     

    Check if a Development Plan Overlay affects your works

    Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online and check whether a Development Plan Overlay affects the works.

    Are you building a pergola in a Development Plan Overlay?

     

     

     

     

    Check if a Significant Landscape Overlay affects the works

    Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online and check whether a Significant Landscape Overlay appears. 

    If a Significant Landscape Overlay appears on the report, assess whether the height of the pergola is more than 6m. To do this, measure the distance from the top of the structure to natural ground level.

    Are you planning to construct a pergola over 6m high in a Significant Landscape Overlay?

     

     

    Check if a Design and Development Overlay affects the works

    Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online and check whether you are planning to build a pergola in a Design and Development Overlay.

    Design and Development Overlay Schedule Number

    Planning action

    DDO4

    You don’t need a Planning Permit.

    All other DDO schedule numbers

    You do need a Planning Permit.

    Are your works affected by a Design and Development Overlay that requires a Planning Permit?

     

     

     

     

    Apply for a Planning Permit, if needed

    1. Obtain a clear copy of your Certificate of Title, including the lot plan. You can get this from the Landata website. The Certificate of Title must be no more than 28 days' old.
    2. Write a cover letter explaining your proposal.
    3. Write a neighbourhood and site description.
    4. Prepare a plan drawn to scale (1:100 or 1:200) with full dimensions. The plan must show the site, floor layout and elevations.
    5. See whether your application is eligible to be fast-tracked under VicSmart.
    6. Complete the Planning Permit application form and lodge the form, fee and supporting documents with Council. 
      To download the form and submit the application, see Apply for a Planning Permit.
      For fee information, email Statutory Planning.
    7. Now, check whether you need a Building Permit.

     

     

     

    Check the total area of pergola

    Measure the length and width of the pergola to calculate the total area.

    Is the area of the pergola more than 20 square metres?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Check if the height of the pergola exceeds 3.6m

    Measure the distance from the top of the structure to natural ground level.

    Is the height more than 3.6m?

     

     

     

     

     

    Check the position of the pergola in relation to the front wall of the building

    Pergola to the rear of the front wall of a building

    Refer to the site plan to see whether the pergola is located to the back of, in line with or in front of, the building’s front wall.

    Will the pergola be to the back of the building’s front wall?

    • If yes, you do not need a Building Permit. As long as there are no planning restrictions, you can proceed to construct the pergola. You can now exit this guide.

    • If no, go to the next step.

      Check how far the pergola is located ahead of the front wall

      Pergola in front of a building

      Measure the distance between the front of the pergola and the front wall of the building.

      Is the distance you measured 2.5m or less?

      • If yes, you do not need a Building Permit. As long as there are no planning restrictions, you can proceed to construct the pergola.
      • If noapply for a Building Permit.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Apply for a Building Permit, if needed

      If you have determined that you need a Building Permit for your project:

      1. Read the Building Permit application checklist to determine which supporting documents you need for your circumstances. If you are unsure what you need, contact the Building Services team on 9278 4999 or email Building Services.
      2. Complete the Application for a Building Permit.
      3. Lodge the Building Permit application form, fee and supporting documents with the City of Boroondara. For fee information, email Building Services.

      You can only begin your construction after the Building Permit is granted.

      You may exit the guide.

       

       

       

      Timeline

      Statutory Planning aims to respond to Planning Permit applications within 60 days, as governed by the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

      A Building Permit application is assessed within 10 business days. The response is usually a request for further information that is required before a Building Permit can be issued.