Is It This Hard to Build a Carport? I Must Be Doing Something Wrong

Hi all,
I am seeking input from people more experienced and/or working in construction.
I am looking at adding a carport to my property. The carport will be located in the front left side of the block. This is next to the front and west side boundaries. No changes are needed to driveway.
The land will need retaining (over 1m high).
The idea is to have a concrete / landscaper to do the earthworks and slab, and buy a carport kit.
I have engaged an architect to do the drawings so I can get it approved. (About $1200)
Now I am talking to the certifiers (talked to two) and the prices to get the whole thing approved is close to $3000 (there are disclaimes and possibly more costs in the certifier quotes). This is without engineering (I assume another $1000 ish) for the retaining wall. The carport will come with its own engineering.
So even before starting any works I am up for $5000.
I estimate the carport to be sub $10,000, the retaining wall and slab about $30,000.
Is it really this difficult and costly to get the approval for such a basic project?
Are there alternative pathways that will save some money?
This is in Brisbane City council area.
Thank you in advance for any insights


  • +3

    if the carport is greater than 19m2 you'll need a building permit and council approval.

    If its a basic carport stratco or somewhere similar can generally provide the engineering as part of the service. had a 25m2 patio come to something like $17k installed from memory this year.

    If you have to plumb the gutters into a soakwell that'll be more don't forget.

    • Thanks @Drakesy
      Did it cost you this much before starting construction?
      Yes I added the plumbing in the ~10k as pretty straight forward as there is existing rain water pipes there

      • +3

        Retain to 0.9M and let the rest be ‘slope/fall’
        Use stones or pavers instead of a slab.
        Build two carports that butt together and have opposing fall for drainage.
        Now the cost is $15k

  • +9

    I find it's cheaper to just do, then ask for forgiveness rather than permission :P

    • +1

      Plenty of similar projects to mine around. I know of at least one that does not have council approval. But I am worried about the possibility of council asking me to remove (the retaining wall is the real issue) and /or potential insurance issues if something goes wrong…

  • +23

    Now you see why Australia has the housing problem it does. More immigration combined with ever decreasing numbers of properties built because of the obstructions and costs placed in the way of building even as something as trivial as a carport.

    • +1

      I was thinking the same thing. 5k on a 40k project is 12.5% just on approvals. May be it gets relatively cheaper for a more expensive project but I think is a lot…

    • +1

      those obstructions are meant to stop dodgy builders building dodgy dwellings like we have so many of already in sydney and melbourne
      corruption is another thing tho

      • +8

        So it's not really working then is it?

        I had to pay some sum to council to extend a patio because it came with ~6m of the boundary… never mind that another portion of the building is within ~2m of the boundary (and had previously had it's bribe fee paid for it…) :/

      • +2

        Builders build dodgy dwellings, because of corruption in building surveyor and builders being easily able to phoenix their unprofitable business into a new one with a clean slate.
        If they had to fix their mistakes to keep their license, we would have very few poorly built, leaky structures.
        Permits are there to protect neighbours from too much unwanted development adjacent to their property, and make sure builders are insured.
        There are plenty of code requirements to cover every other aspect of the industry without needing a permit process, if that was possible to remove that red tape.

  • +1

    Those costs sound correct.

  • +15

    $45k for a carport? World's gone mad

    • +8

      Big blue tarpaulin and a few lengths of 4x2 - $70

      • +4

        Shell out for the uv rated blue one at least*

        • +8

          Ok. New price $73

          • +8

            @Muzeeb: Gotta get sausage sizzle while we at Bunnings

            Oh no now I’m thirsty, ok, two cans of solo too

            Oh need to pick up that 4 pack ozito battery packs

            And the new washers for the taps
            Ah better get a new tap spanner kit , I ain’t making two trips

            Oh ozito chainsaw on sale too I can cut down that tree

            Ah better get a gorilla cart to cart out the logs to front yard

            • 2 hours later *

            Total bill $69,420???

            • +3

              @Jimothy Wongingtons: Sounds like my weekly visit to bunnings. Are you stalking me?

              • +1

                @Muzeeb: I am at a point where I think that the only way to leave Bunnings is to buy $100+ worth of shit… I freak out now if I go to Bunnings and get less than $100 worth… it’s like “wtf have I forgotten?.”

                • +3


                  the only way to leave Bunnings is to buy $100+ worth of shit…

                  Damn, how big is your garden?

                  You know they sell tools and other items too right?

                  • @El cheepo:

                    Damn, how big is your garden?

                    Let's just say that I have a pretty major Gazania addiction… Like… really bad… like bordering on "family intervention to let me know I have a problem" large…

                    To give you an idea… There are only two man made things visible from space…. The Great Wall of China (and even that is debateable)… and my Gazania garden… Which is confirmed by the International Space Station…

    • +1

      It's the retaining wall and the engineering/red tape that comes with this. As soon as you need retaining walls or excavations then the cost of a build skyrockets exponentially.

      • "excavations then the cost of a build skyrockets exponentially"
        pick and spade still relatively cheap…..

  • -1

    Sounds about right. Carport will add value to the property so nothing to worry about really.

  • +1

    I got a quote recently or just over $10k for a large carport, no earthworks or concreting though.

    Do you need full council approval? Some works like regular sized carports may not need a council submission.

    • Yes, I was looking and only small sheds don't need approval…
      On top the retaining wall is over a meter too

      • +2

        "retaining wall is over a meter too"
        Water meter?

        • A meter in height which makes it assessable

  • +3

    We just went through a Stratco authoised installer and they handled the whole thing. Massive entertainment area and carport was $22k (all flat roof). I would be getting a quote before engaging crazy professionals for what is a basic job.

    • The biggest cost in my job is earthworks and retaining wallwhuch Stratco and the like do not quote… But worth asking.
      Will drive by Stratco and ask

  • +1

    I recently did similar, but went shade sails as no council permit or permission needed for shade sails in my area. Engineering on posts that a roof can be placed if i change my mind latter.

  • +4

    Don't ask, Don't tell, also applies to council approvals.

    • +3

      Unless like mine, your neighbours are a bunch of dibber dobbers

      • +2

        Always a concern…

  • +1

    Have you selected a contractor yet? They'll be all over this stuff. PM me and I can recommend a landscape service that specialises in structural landscaping

  • You can pay for it with the saving on registration and power Giggles Miles is giving you to keep his job at the next election.

  • +13

    at my old house I had a single car garage in the back yard. an all metal thing. 1.5 cars in length.

    I wanted to move it backwards to the back corner (same side fence clearance as it had had for the last 40 years, but with correct clearance at the back fence, and reduce it's length by a third). I rang the council to get some guidance as to whether I needed a permit to move an existing structure (would need a new slab). because they had offloaded building permits to private planners they said I would have to talk to a planner.

    they couldn't answer the simplest question.

    I rang a planner and they said it would cost $700 for them to even consider what I was asking.

    I just went a head and did it.

    had a mate who did concreting so he got his apprentices to do it cheap.I ran the power and ethernet cable myself . picked up one end of the garage with a pallet jacket and put metal pipes under the wall, and just rolled the shed back 8 metres to get it on to the new slab..

    useless council.

    • +4

      It is all nonsensical isn't. They push away to do the "wrong" thing…

  • The retaining wall and excavations are what's killing you here. If there was any way to avoid this then I would seriously consider exploring the options to not have to get excavate and get the retaining wall construction certified.

    • The issue is that the block slopes down. So the easiest way is to add a retaining wall and cut the other side of the block to fill. If I could get the retaining wall under a meter then it wouldn't require council

      • +1

        We had issues with boundary line with a carport. So we installed a shade sail. Works well and 1/3rd the cost. The supports can be different lengths so if ground is uneven it may not need earthworks. Sometimes things outside the box work better.

        Sail protects against sun and even recent hail. Might not work for you but then again it might.

  • It’s a big reason why I’m a firm believer that councils and approvals can eat a fat one. Ask for forgiveness, pray you get beyond the time they can ask you to take it down. Easy.

  • +2

    Check your setbacks first, we wanted one in front of the garage but it would be too close to the street so they said no.

    • Yet a lot of houses have even garages built in the same way…
      What did you end up doing?
      Did you have to pay for full set of drawings before you've been told that was not possible?

  • Get the largest gazbo?

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