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Can I Live in a Shed in My Backyard?

Question: Am I allowed to live in a shed?
Answer: Maybe

There are a number of reasons why you might be considering the idea of living in a shed. These include:

  • You’ve bought a block of land and are waiting for your main house to be built.
  • You have a block of land and are looking for a cost-effective housing option.
  • You are looking to expand the living space of your current property to accommodate guests, teenagers or elderly parents.
  • You are looking to build an investment shed to accommodate holidaymakers and supplement your income.

Sadly, there are also people living in sheds who were left homeless after the Black Summer Bushfires.

Whatever the case may be, a livable shed is a smart solution to a myriad of housing problems. Here’s what you need to know about building and living in a shed home. 

Liveable Sheds: Fast Facts

Generally speaking, living in a shed is not allowed. This is because your standard shed is classed as a 10a building making it non-habitable. Sheds, carports, private garages and similar structures fall under this category.

If you want to live in a shed, it must meet the criteria of a Class 1a building. This applies whether you are building a new shed or converting an existing shed. Class 1a buildings are single dwellings like houses or groups of attached dwellings like townhouses.

Learn more about building classifications in this download from the Australian Building Codes Board.

For more information about turning your shed into a living space, read our blog post about livable sheds.

What is a Class 1a Livable Shed?

Each local council will have specific regulations, but generally speaking, these are some of the major construction standards that must be met:

  • The foundation design must meet the criteria of the Building Code of Australia
  • Sanitary facilities (shower, basin and toilet) connected to sewerage (or on-site waste management system) are required
  • Connection of town water or tank water
  • Installation of smoke alarm
  • Kitchen sink and cooking facilities
  • Space for a washing machine
  • Compliance with bushfire and flood regulations

You will need to contact your local council for a full list of applicable construction standards as contained in the Building Code of Australia (BCA), the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, 1979 and Council’s Development Control Plans (DCP’s).

Livable Shed Inspiration

Thinking about building a livable shed on your property? Check out the following pages for inspiration.

What Does It Cost To Build A Livable Shed?

It depends. Remember, most of the pricing you see online will be for the supply of the basic frame only, so you will need to factor in other costs like assembly, foundations, internal floors, insulation, plumbing, electrics, fittings and council costs. 

The best thing to do is to request a quote so you can get an accurate idea of what your costs will be.

Livable Sheds Nowra

If you are thinking of transforming a shed into a living space in Nowra or the surrounding Shoalhaven, get in touch with All About Sheds Nowra. We can provide professional advice on development approval, a choice of cabins and granny flats, and information specific to Shoalhaven Council.