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Doing Business

Shipping Containers

If a shipping container will not be fixed to the ground and will be on the site for a limited period of time only, the shipping container is not considered to be a fixed structure and therefore will not require building approval.  The shipping container can be used for storage only, and must not be used for residential purposes.

If it is intended that the shipping container is to be retained on the site for a period of more than six months, or the shipping container will be fixed to the land, building approval must be obtained for the shipping container.  This will require a building application for a Class 10a building being lodged with Southern Downs Regional Council or a private building certifier.  The shipping container can only be placed on the site after a building approval is issued.

Any application for building approval will include referral to Council as a concurrence agency for assessment of the amenity and aesthetics of the shipping container.  Council may require the building application to be refused, or may require conditions to be imposed on the building approval.  Such conditions may include:

  • Painting of the shipping container; 
  • Locating the shipping container on a concrete slab;
  • Constructing a pitched roof over the shipping container; 
  • Relocating the shipping container on the site; 
  • Replacing rusty panels;  and 
  • Inclusion of doors, windows or other architectural treatments.

It is an offence under the Planning Act 2016 to undertake building work without a building approval.  This means that it is an offence to place a shipping container on land without building approval, if the container is to be fixed to the ground or to be retained on the site for an extended period of time.

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