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Shipping Containers – Do They Require Development Approval?

Hilltops Council is seeing a significant amount of shipping containers being placed on land throughout the Hilltops Council area.

They are being used on land in a manner that is unsightly and that is detracting significantly from the amenity of the locality in which the land is situated and is becoming a matter of concern for Hilltop’s residents and Council.

In the past, shipping containers were used as a temporary storage option for construction sites or industrial activities but more recently the trend of installing shipping containers on land for a more permanent storage solution instead of actual constructed sheds or in some cases for habitable purposes have risen.

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A 1979)
A shipping container is defined as a building

building includes part of a building, and also includes any structure or part of a structure (including any temporary structure or part of a temporary structure), but does not include a manufactured home, moveable dwelling or associated structure within the meaning of the Local Government Act 1993”.

In the majority of cases if the use of the Shipping Container is permissible in the zone a Development Consent will be required for the installation of Shipping Container.

The only exceptions to submitting a Development Application to install a shipping container is if you are a rural property (RU1, RU3 or RU4) and the shipping container is being used as a non-habitable “farm building”.  The “farm building” must be used ancillary to an agricultural use of the landholding on which it is situated.   There are restrictions to the number of shipping container that applies.

If you are considering placing a Shipping Container on your Land or if you have existing Shipping Containers on your land Council strongly recommends you contact Council to discuss the permissibility.

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 it is considered an offence to undertake Development without Consent where Development Consent is required.

Further information can be found on Council’s Shipping Containers Fact Sheet or on the following hyperlinks.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

Subdivision 16 Farm buildings 9other than stock holding yards, grain silos and grain bunkers

Subdivision 36B Shipping Containers  and portable offices (temporary installation and use for existing commercial and industrial purposes)

Council envisages improving the appearance of the land and to minimize and regulate the use of shipping containers within the Council area.