Before you get too excited about Backyard Pods in Melbourne or other areas of eastern Australia, you need to address the relevant regulations.

According to Nam Huynh, the qualified architect who has successfully helped organise MANY building permits for backyard pod developments in Melbourne (and ACT, NSW, QLD), the first two decisions for 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 the building is to be within 1m of the boundary title, a re-establishment survey is required (for works along existing boundaries). It is advisable to keep 1m off the fence for ease of erection, and fire-rating requirements. Also, if the proposed work is near an EASEMENT, the stormwater depth and offset plan for stormwater pipe is required to seek approval from the relevant authority.

Confused about regulations and needing to find out ASAP if your project would likely get approval? Get a quick pre-approval project appraisal and advice on your site from a qualified architect.