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swimming pool with shade cover

Exempt Development

Shade structures

Shade structure construction may be carried out as exempt development if the proposal meets the relevant development standards.

Shade structures are often made from materials like canvas, fabric and mesh for the purpose of providing shade, protection and shelter from UV radiation.  

A shade structure must:

  • not be higher than 3 metres from the existing ground level
  • be located at a distance from each lot boundary of at least:
    • 5 metres if development is carried out in Zone RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU6 or R5
    • 900 millimetres in all other cases
  • be located behind the building line of any road frontage
  • not be constructed or installed on land in a foreshore area as exempt development
  • be structurally adequate
  • installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
  • comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

If you propose to remove or prune any existing trees or vegetation, you need to contact your council first to ensure you don’t need approval.

Please refer to these provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 for a list of development standards that shade structures must meet to be exempt development, including maximum area requirements.

Exempt development exclusions

Exempt development cannot take place within a wilderness area or critical habitat of an endangered species, population or ecological community. 

Exempt development cannot occur on land that is, or on which there is, an item that is listed on the State Heritage Register or that is subject to an interim heritage order.

Structures located on public land or over a public road (even temporary structures) must have approval from the relevant council or Roads and Maritime Services.  


Last updated: 18/05/2023