Can you live in a shed in Australia?

When it comes to the question of whether you can live in a shed in Australia, it all comes down to definitions. One common definition of a shed is a class 10a building. By this definition, you can’t live there since it’s not designed for habitation. However, it is possible to convert such a shed into legally habitable accommodation. 

Residential sheds like the shed options at fair dinkum can be used for extra storage, garages, workshops, home offices, and with the right knowhow you could even convert it into a habitable space.  Here’s some information about how you might be able to live in something that you might call a shed!

Can you live in a shed in Australia
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The type of shed you can’t live in…

If you want to just live in a shed where you store your garden tools, then this isn’t possible in Australia according to the rules. It’s not considered safe or able to provide for a human living there. Anyone who just lives in a shed that was used only for storing items without any kind of water hookup, room for sanitary services, and so on is not doing so in compliance with the law.

Introduction to living in a shed in Australia, legally

In order to legally live in a shed, it has to have a class 1a engineering designation. This means that it’s classified as something you can inhabit.

Another thing that you’re going to need in order to live in a shed is permission from the local council wherever you live or from someone who can privately certify the above.

The exact certification and process you will have to go through will change from state to state and depending on your exact jurisdiction.

Can you live in a shed in Australia

Convert or create?

In other words, you have to have a class 1a building in order to be allowed to live in it. You can always convert a shed that was previously classified as a 10a building if you so choose in order to make it a Class 1a.

Class 1a buildings are single abodes and they are similar to what you might call a townhouse.

The exact regulations vary of course, but in general, to make a Class 1a rating you have to have:

  • An area for a washing machine.
  • A kitchen sink and other cooking amenities.
  • Full compliance with flood and bushfire prevention regulations.
  • The ability to connect to town water, well water, tank water, or something in that category.
  • Full sanitary facilities such as toilets, basins, showers, and so on. They must also have a sewerage connection of some variety.

Other general requirements to make it legally a dwelling are likely to include that it has a foundation design that fits under the current Building Code in Australia, as well as a suitable frame.

You’ll need to consider the robustness of the shed with regards to weather protection, insulation, termite prevention and so on.

You’re also going to need a smoke alarm of some kind as well in order to meet the standards and keep the building safe, as well as suitable ventilation and electrics.

The first step should be to get the local requirements from your council to know exactly what you need to do to upgrade your shed to a legal livable building.

Can you live in a shed in Australia

Final thoughts

In the end, there are many different ways to convert or create a new shed that you can live in. Once you know the exact rules in your area, you should be able to design or have plans designed for you according to your exact wishes.  There are many shed companies that can help you with this with experience in converting sheds into habitable spaces or even designing one with you from scratch.   It’s a good idea to take your time when doing this because you won’t have a lot of room to make changes when the construction is started.

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