What is required when building a commercial shed?
If you’re considering building a commercial shed in Victoria, there are a number of things you need to consider. Along with building approval, you will need to research and obtain guidance on how the shed will impact the surrounding area.
This is part of many Council approval processes and helps to ensure that the structure is safe, accessible and doesn’t have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.
Considerations such as vehicle access, parking, drainage and neighbouring services and Council-owned assets may have an impact on the design and positioning of your shed. We’ve put together a rundown of the most common requirements to investigate when you build a new commercial structure.
It’s important to note that most projects travel through Council much more smoothly when a qualified architect prepares the planning drawings. If the below requirements seem overwhelming, we can help, or your architect may be able to offer advice and guidance. You’re welcome to give our friendly team a call any time – we’re here to assist you with every part of the planning and design process.
Often, large properties can feature ‘overlays’ that encroach on only part of the site, which can have a bearing on where you position your shed.
A property overlay is a map that indicates different types of structures, facilities and potential hazards, along with protected zones in the area surrounding your building site. These can include bushfire areas, heritage or environmental protection areas, rail corridors, flood zones, public parking and more.
VicPlan is a fantastic interactive online tool that will show you exactly which overlays apply to your site. For example, the Steelcorp head office in Wangaratta is in a designated industrial zone that also features a bushfire prone area overlay. Behind our site is a vegetation protection zone.
Our team can help you work within these constraints to get a good result for your build.
When planning a commercial shed project, your initial drawings should feature the setback distance which is determined by a number of factors.
Setback is the distance between the boundary and the start of the structure itself. When determining the position of your structure, a few different aspects have a bearing on how far back from the property boundaries your shed should sit.
This primarily hinges on the distance specified in your commercial zoning regulations. However, other aspects such as the character and function of neighbouring buildings can also come into play. If your property is on a corner, you will most likely need to take both street frontages into consideration.
If your property is on a classified road (for example a highway, main road or freeway), the setback will likely be greater than if you adjoin local roads and other similar commercial properties.
Another aspect that affects setback requirements is the size of the build itself. A 1000m2 shed will have different setback requirements than a 10,000m2 structure. These can vary according to different Council regulations, but typically your setback for a commercial property will be around 3m for the side boundary to around 6m for the street frontage.
Minimum street setback regulations state that if there is an existing building on either side of the site being built on, and the site is not on a corner, the average distance of the setbacks should be the same as that of the front walls of the existing buildings, or 9 metres, whichever is the lesser.
If there is no existing building on either of the abutting allotments, and the site is not on a corner, the setback distance should be 6 metres for streets in a Road Zone Category 1, and 4 metres for other streets.
To put it simply: Generally, the street setback is the average between the two neighbouring buildings of the site. If there are no neighbouring buildings, it is 6 metres, unless stated otherwise.
Vehicle access requirements & car parking
Staff and visitor parking and loading areas for deliveries need to be taken into consideration when planning your shed. Your plans need to show the location and dimensions of all outdoor spaces, including all car parking spaces, driveways and loading areas.
The main thing that your Council will look for is adequate on site car parking for the type of business you will be running. This is to ensure that your customers, staff and visitors don’t put undue pressure on public street parking, or encroach on the parking allocations of your neighbours.
Likewise, appropriately sized driveways and space for cars and trucks to manoeuvre easily within your site is another factor to consider.
Disabled access is a requirement for commercial properties too, with ample space to access via vehicles and on foot.
Controlling stormwater runoff with adequate guttering, downpipes and appropriate in-ground drainage controls will ensure your property is minimally impacted during heavy rainfall events. Below ground, easements and other assets such as the local stormwater network may impact the position of your commercial shed.
Generally, most Councils require a drainage system design that has been prepared by a qualified drainage engineer. This would typically include an appropriately sized system that can handle a serious flood event.
If there was a 1 in 100 year flood, the potential water levels of this flooding need to be taken into consideration. The drainage design needs to prove that the water can be retained on-site without flooding your facility, damaging your neighbour’s buildings, or having a negative impact on the stormwater system.
Solutions such as water retention tanks and underground retention systems will be considered by a drainage engineer, with the best option provided as a solution for your site.
Above ground, your roof design should incorporate good sized guttering systems to help water drain efficiently. Your guttering and rain runoff requirements are mainly dictated by the surface area of your roof.
Many Councils prohibit commercial buildings from being built within a few metres of a stormwater drainage asset, so knowing what’s under the surface is an important part of your planning process.
Landscaping and Soil Reports
The setback specifications mentioned above also have a bearing on landscaping requirements.
Most Councils require around 3m setback for garden beds (although this may vary between different councils), which allows the property owner to provide adequate landscaping. Landscaping requirements ensure that street frontages for commercial structures sit comfortably within the surrounding environment.
In some environmentally sensitive areas such as rail corridors or adjoining parks or reserves, mandatory landscaping is required, and it’s often a stipulation that it must be well maintained into the future.
Soil reports are another important consideration to ensure that your shed is built in the most structurally sound manner. A soil report is conducted by a geotechnical engineer, who looks at the site and assesses the best methods of excavation, how to shore the excavation, how to manage vibration during construction so as not to damage neighbouring structures, potential water seepage issues and the specific type of footings and retaining walls that will suit the local conditions.
Section J Reports
Also known as a Part J report, a section J report is a review of the energy efficiency of a commercial building.
A Section J report will make recommendations on the type of heating and cooling requirements that your building needs, which are based on Australia’s different climate zones. The purpose of this report is to design a more efficient structure, thereby reducing unnecessary CO2 emissions and energy consumption from processes like heating, ventilation, lighting and other services. The thermal efficiency of the building materials is also taken into account, for example, potential heat loss through large glass windows.
These reports are required for all buildings that are categorised between Class 2-9 (meaning all commercial buildings) and are necessary for all states of Australia.
A qualified energy efficiency consultant can help you with this report.
Get in touch for advice on your commercial shed project
If you need help and guidance in designing your new commercial structure, Steelcorp can help.
Our expert team have a great deal of experience in commercial sheds, commercial warehouses, manufacturing facilities, commercial equipment storage structures, loading dock canopies and high bay storage areas, along with a huge range of other commercial steel building structures.
Our design consultants can work with you through the process to ensure you get a commercial shed that perfectly suits your needs.