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There are 148 shade sail companies in the Melbourne Yellow Pages Online and only a handful are Registered Builders.

This is very important as in most shade sail installations, it is illegal for the work to be performed by an unregistered operator.  Registration must be with the Building Commission only.  Master Builders, HIA and other groups are available for people to join and do not mean the person is a registered builder.

In our experience, customers are never told about requiring a building permit by most shade companies and if they ask are told that it’s not required because the sail is removable or any number of other excuses.  If a permit is required and you don’t have one and an un-registered person doing the work, you are also acting illegally and the responsibility for any mishap lies with you.  You can also be prosecuted.

Shade Sails are a tension structure and are very dangerous if not properly installed and designed.

A building permit is required for a residential sail if:

  • The fabric area is 20m2 or more for shade cloth and 10m2 or more for non-permeable materials.
  • Any post is 3.6m high or more.
  • It is 2.5m in front of your house or more (or simply in front of any commercial building).

You will require a Registered Building Practitioner (Shade Structures or Unlimited) to provide you with the permit and do the work.

A council permit is required if:

  • You are casting a shadow over your neighbour’s habitable windows or private open space.
  • The sail is within the front set-back.
  • You are in a heritage or environmental overlay area.

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