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When is a deck not a deck?

By Col1234 - 24 August 2011 35

Our neighbour has recently built a huge deck in his backyard that is mounted to the top of the roof of the house.

It has a pitched roof and it is around 5 m high.

As we had no notification that it was being built I contacted ACTPLA to see if it had DA approval as it states on their site that 4m is the maximum height.

They wrote back saying it had building approval and was exempt from DA.

The project had been submitted as a building extension and not a deck and no notification was required. 

I was just wondering how common this is?

I have read another article about a sunroom that is a simillar case but the deck has no walls or windows and looks nothing like the house so I am not sure how it can be classified as an extension.

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
When is a deck not a deck?
ACTPLAComms 2:00 pm 24 Aug 11

We’d be happy to look into this further for you – please send through your contact details including the street address. Email us at ACTPLA_Communications@act.gov.au.

MissChief 1:59 pm 24 Aug 11

Bigger indoor/outdoor living areas and smaller blocks means privacy from neighbours is becoming more of a problem in Canberra. Our neighbours recently took the liberty of leaning over our fence to prune all the brushes we had along the fence line. We now have a clear view of their house, trampoline and tree house and their children have a clear view of our naked pool parties.

EvanJames 1:25 pm 24 Aug 11

I reckon a picture at this point is necessary. A huge deck with a roof surely would need a DA… where I live, a chook run needs a DA (which no one bothers with of course).

KB1971 1:16 pm 24 Aug 11

Google is your friend:

http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/topics/design_build/da_assessment/exempt_work

In particular:

http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/topics/design_build/da_assessment/exempt_work/process/roofed_unenclosed_or_partly_open

7 years ago when we sold out last property it was 25m2 but now that seems to be restricted to car ports so 50m2 it is for pergola’s. It looks like the regs were changed in 2008.

How good is your eye measuring tape? From a distance 4 & 5 metres will look similar.

thatsnotme 1:01 pm 24 Aug 11

KB1971 said :

To wanswer yout question, anything 25m2 & under does not need a DA.

That’s a pretty big over simplification of the rules relating to exemptions from DA’s. For most structures, size is only one of the conditions the structure needs to meet (and if the size limitation is that it be a Class A structure, it’s 30m2). When that structure is a deck, a roof on it immediately means that it requires a DA.

I have no idea how an extension would somehow be exempt from the DA process, when this deck wouldn’t be – I guess someone is very familiar with all of the loop holes available.

Col1234 12:37 pm 24 Aug 11

KB1971 said :

To wanswer yout question, anything 25m2 & under does not need a DA.

I think it is closer to 50m2.

Col1234 12:36 pm 24 Aug 11

shirty_bear said :

The people who build these things are very cunning in terms of naming/classifying structures so as to minimise gummint scrutiny/involvement. Call it the right thing on the form, and the paperwork just gets a tick.
Suspect this is by design; this gummint seems to want builders to do pretty much as they please.

You are right about that. I was told that the certifier had been very inventive putting it in as an extension and not a pergola.

colourful sydney rac 12:34 pm 24 Aug 11

Pictures please.

I seem to remember that last time a post like this appeared on RA all was not what the OP claimed.

Col1234 12:31 pm 24 Aug 11

Postalgeek said :

Any particular reason that your neighbour’s business is your business?

The height of the deck means that they can now look into the rooms at the back of the house and into our backyard. The 6ft colorbond fence we put up a few months ago no longer provides us with the privacy we had. We will just have to plant a hedge along the fencline that will screen it out in a few years time.

Chop71 12:26 pm 24 Aug 11

phil m said :

My neighbour over the back courtyard fence recently built a great big TV antenna on the top of his roof. This is annoying to me because their house is not on the same level as mine, it’s on lower ground and the top of his roof is eye level to me. They’re not big yards, it’s actually quite close to me. I used to have a nice view of clear sky, now there is this ugly lanky thing right there in the middle of it, poking out at me from behind the fence.

I’m pretty sure I can’t do anything about that either.

well you could always whinge about it on RIOT ACT

phil m 12:02 pm 24 Aug 11

My neighbour over the back courtyard fence recently built a great big TV antenna on the top of his roof. This is annoying to me because their house is not on the same level as mine, it’s on lower ground and the top of his roof is eye level to me. They’re not big yards, it’s actually quite close to me. I used to have a nice view of clear sky, now there is this ugly lanky thing right there in the middle of it, poking out at me from behind the fence.

I’m pretty sure I can’t do anything about that either.

shirty_bear 12:00 pm 24 Aug 11

The people who build these things are very cunning in terms of naming/classifying structures so as to minimise gummint scrutiny/involvement. Call it the right thing on the form, and the paperwork just gets a tick.
Suspect this is by design; this gummint seems to want builders to do pretty much as they please.

Postalgeek 11:36 am 24 Aug 11

Any particular reason that your neighbour’s business is your business?

KB1971 11:07 am 24 Aug 11

To wanswer yout question, anything 25m2 & under does not need a DA.

whoodzzz 10:08 am 24 Aug 11

ACTPLA are a bunch of jokers.

Its hugely common for ACTPLA to simply tick and flick approvals. Even when the original plans are significantly different from the end result, they do absolutely nothing.

A friend was forced to move from their house in Aranda due to the almost fully unapproved 55sqm house built next to them that overshadowed their house and took all the natural light due to the height of the house. When my friend complained to ACTPLA, they got a mouthful for doubting the government department.

sorry, what?

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