Before you get too excited about Backyard Pods in Melbourne and regional Victoria, you need to understand building requirements in Victoria.

According to Nam Huynh, the Melbourne architect who has helped organise many building permits for backyard pod developments in Melbourne (and ACT, NSW, QLD), the first two major decisions for Victorian home-owners:

  1. Will it be a non-habitable room or habitable room?

    These differ widely in the requirements you need to meet, see below…


  2. Where to locate it on your land?

Building Code Definition:

Habitable room means a room used for normal domestic activities, and —

  • includes a bedroom, living room, lounge room, music room, TV room, kitchen, dining room, sewing room, study, playroom, family room, home theatre, and sunroom; but
  • excludes a bathroom, laundry, water closet, pantry, walk-in wardrobe, corridor, hallway, lobby, photographic darkroom, clothes-drying room, and other spaces of a specialised nature occupied neither frequently nor for extended periods.

Use our free online self-assessment tool:

Simply answer the questions and you’ll receive an email to indicate what you’ll need to do next in preparation for the building permit approval process. If you need help, someone helpful can get in touch.

Conditions to Note:

If building to be within 1m of the boundary title. A re-establishment survey (for works along existing boundaries). It is advisable to keep 1m off the fence for ease of erection, and Fire rating requirements. If the proposed work is near an EASEMENT, Stormwater depth and offset plan for stormwater pipe required. Seek approval of relevant authority.