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Living in Sheds

Every year Hinchinbrook Shire Council Officers field numerous enquiries from residents about the construction of ‘liveable sheds’ or a temporary home. In theory building a shed might seem like a cheaper option or an alternative to occupy land while property owners plan and/or construct a dwelling; however, it can often result in being more expensive in the long term to establish.


What is a Class 10a Structure?

The Queensland Building Act 1975 and Building Code of Australia stipulate the minimum requirements for the construction of all buildings. As per these legislative documents, a Class 10 Structure is “A non-habitable building or structure”, such as a “A private garage, carport, shed or the like.”


What is a Class 1a Structure?

A Class 1a Structure is “A single dwelling being a detached house, or one or more attached dwellings, each being a building, separated by a fire-resisting wall, including a row house, terrace house, town house or villa unit.”


Can I Convert a Shed into a Dwelling?

Yes. However, converting a shed into a dwelling is never a simple process as ordinarily sheds are not constructed with habitancy in mind or with the same residential standards as dwellings. Often it is not practical or economical to retrofit a shed into a dwelling.

If a property owner is intent on converting a shed into a dwelling a reclassification building application would be required. This application and supporting technical documentation would be lodged with Hinchinbrook Shire Council, to convert the shed from a class 10a structure to a class 1a structure.

Some key issues to keep in mind when considering converting a shed to a dwelling include:

  • Storm surge or flood levels of structure to meet Q100 minimums;
  • Site setback distances to comply with the Queensland Development Code;
  • Vermin/pest/termite designs to comply with Australian standards;
  • Engineering certification;
  • Energy efficiency reporting; and
  • Waterproofing of both wet areas and external walls/roof.

What if I Choose to Live in a Shed Illegally?

Should Hinchinbrook Shire residents be found living in Class 10a structures illegally, the Hinchinbrook Shire Council will investigate the matter and conduct relevant enforcement actions.

For further information regarding Living in Sheds, please contact Council’s Regulatory Services - Built Environment Team on 4776 4600.


Unlawful Habitation of Class 10a Structures - Inspection Program

Council will be conducting an Inspection Program focusing on the unlawful habitation of Class 10a (Shed) structures in Forrest Beach. 

The program will entail Authorised Officers inspecting numerous properties within the Forrest Beach locality, as the program will be reviewing all allotments solely improved with Class 10a (Shed) structures, but no associated Dwelling on site and are able to be, or suspected of being inhabited.

At the Hinchinbrook Shire Council's March General Meeting, Council resolved to Approve the Selective Inspection Program under the Local Government Act 2009.  Council’s Authorised Officers will be making contact with relevant property owner/s to arrange a suitable time to enter the property.  In the event that contact is not able to be made with the relevant property owner/s, or a mutual time for inspection cannot be arranged, the Authorised Officers will be entering the land (not the building) in accordance with the Selective Inspection Program, to inspect the Class 10a structures onsite.

Council is committed to keeping the community safe and this program is designed to ensure that residents are living in safe and approved dwellings that meet building safety standards.

The Inspection Program will commence Monday 11 January 2021, between the hours of 8.00am and 5.00pm weekdays.

For further information regarding the Inspection Program please contact Council on 4776 4600. 


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