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Shipping Containers

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As defined under the Environmental Planning and Assessment (EP&A) Act 1979 a Shipping Container is considered to be a building as follows.

“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.

The placement of shipping containers on properties has become more prevalent in recent years. They are being used on land in a manner that is unsightly and that is detracting significantly from the amenity of the locality.

Historically the most common use was as temporary storage however these containers are now being used for permanent storage in place of actual constructed sheds or in some cases as habitable buildings.


Do all containers need Development Approval?

There are several factors which determine if a shipping container can be placed on the property. This includes the “zoning” of the property, the proposed use, size, colour and condition of the container.

In the majority of cases Development Consent will be required for the installation of a Shipping Container.


Exemptions from obtaining Consent under the EP&A Act 1979

The current Exemptions from obtaining a Development Consent for installing a shipping container on your property are.

Temporary use only:

  • Following a bush fire as declared by State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989.

Permanent or Temporary Use

  • Installing a shipping container on a rural zoned property; RU1, RU3 or RU4.

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 is a restriction to the number of shipping containers that applies.


Can I use a Shipping Container to store material if approved development is occurring?

When submitting your Development Application for your development you will be required to nominate the use of the shipping container for storage (not habitable purposes).  This will be included in your development consent.

The container must be removed from the property at the completion of the relevant development works or prior to the Occupation Certificate being issued (unless Development Consent has been granted for the container to remain).

If development is being undertaken as a Complying Development, you are required to submit a Development Application prior to the shipping container being placed on the site.

Temporary use is considered six months.


Existing Shipping Container on your property that does not have Development Approval – What am I required to do?

If you have existing Shipping Containers on your property you should contact Council to discuss the permissibility of the shipping containers on the land.

If Development Approval is required, a Development Application will be required to be lodged with Council.  Council Planning staff will then undertake an assessment and provide consent where appropriate.

It is important to note that in some instances where it may not be appropriate to have a shipping container on the property (zoning, affect on amenity, use etc.) a Development Application may not be able to be lodged.  In this case the shipping container will need to be removed.

If Development Approval is not obtained for a shipping container where development consent would have been required, the shipping container will be deemed as illegal development which could result in Council undertaking regulatory action against the landowner or person placing the shipping container on site.

If you have any questions regarding the installation of a shipping container or an existing shipping container, Council strongly suggests that you contact them on 1300 445 586.

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