can i build a shed without a permit

Can I Build A Shed Without A Permit? What Size Shed Can I Build Without A Permit?

Shed permits. Do you need them? If you are wondering – Can I build a shed without a permit?  – then this is the article for you.

Farm Shed Permits

One of the most popular topics about farm sheds is, without a doubt, council permits. What are they? How much do they cost? What setbacks do I need to know? Can we use a private surveyor? Are permits included in my shed price? The list of questions goes on.

But do you actually need permits for your farm shed?

Permits can certainly seem like an unnecessary cost and a lot of paperwork. So, we are commonly asked: Can I build a shed without permits? Or: What size shed can I build without permits?

We answer both questions in this article and drill a little deeper into farm shed permit requirements. Read on to find out if you can build a farm shed without a permit.

Can I Build A Farm Shed Without A Permit?

In Victoria, council permits are required for the majority of farm sheds built. These include building permits, and in some cases planning permits as well.

Failure to get the required permits for your farm shed project is an expensive predicament with significant fines in place, not just for you but also for the registered builder on the project.

BUT, there are some exceptions and exemptions!

Some local shire councils offer exemptions for farm shed projects under a certain size. Other shires where landholders have recently been affected by fire or flood, will waive the fee of required shed permits.

Some of the councils that offer an exemption for shed permits based on the size of the shed include the Horsham Rural City Council, Southern Grampians Shire Council and the Northern Grampians Shire Council. 

So, it is worth checking with your local council to find out if any exemptions or redcuced permit fees can be applied to your shed project – our building consultants are happy to investigate this for you. 

(If you aren’t sure what shire council your shed will be built in, use this handy map to find out)

can i build a shed without a permit

What Size Farm Shed Can I Build Without A Permit?

Assuming your farm shed project qualifies for an exemption, (our projects team will clarify this and receive a formal written notification from the council if this is the case) what size shed can you build?

Most shires that provide permit exemptions, like the shires mentioned earlier – Horsham Rural City Council, Southern Grampians Council and the Northern Grampians Council – offer building permit exemptions for farm shed builds under 500m² – providing certain conditions are met. 

That means popular shed hay shed and machinery shed sizes such as 24m (l) x 15m (w), 24m (l) x 18m (w) or 32m (l) x 15m (w) could potentially be built in these shires without requiring council permits. 

So, what else do you need to know? What about planning permits? 


Planning Permits

What is a planning permit?

 In Victoria, a planning permit is issued by the local council to allow the development of a rural shed on your property.

The planning permit application and approval process can be quite time-consuming, and, on some occasions, they can take up to three months to be processed. Thankfully, in most cases in Victoria, a planning permit is not required to construct a shed on farmland.

You can learn about what will trigger a planning permit, here.

Does a planning permit exemption mean that my shed build doesn’t need permits?

The short answer to this question is; no. While your shed may not require a planning permit, it will most likely still require a building permit. 

The difference between the two types of permits, is: a building permit relates to the actual shed build, whereas a planning permit relates to the land that the shed will be built on.

Planning permits are not required for all shed projects, while building permits are generally required (unless exemptions apply).


We hope this article helps you understand council permits what size shed you can build without permits. If you have more questions about council permits for farm sheds, please don’t hesitate to call us on 1800 68 78 88 – or browse the resources below for more information on permits.


How Much Do Council Permits Cost?

If you are planning or budgeting for a farm shed project, you are probably aware that council permits are required for nearly all new farm shed builds and will be an additional cost. The average cost of permits for farm sheds is $2,600.00*.

*Based on farm sheds built in 2021 by Action Steel 

Watch the video below to learn more. 


Understanding The Council Permit Process

In this video, Jason outlines the different types of permits and how the permit process works.

What Are Fire Design Requirements For Farm Sheds?

In the past, fire design requirements for farm sheds was a vague and confusing topic, however, over the last year or two, the Victorian Building Authority made several changes to the building code that have made fire regulations a lot clearer.

Under the revised building code there are two classifications for structures built on ‘Farming Zone’ land; a “Farm Shed” and a “Farm Building”.

Watch the video below to learn more about fire design requirements.

View more helpful articles, videos and brochures in our Learning Hub

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