How to Build a Carport in Australia
9 August 2022
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Are you looking for how to build a Carport in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or Perth? Carports are one of the most commonly built small structure projects in Australia. Protecting your cars from the elements without investing in a new Garage makes Carports the perfect building project.
We receive a lot of questions about “do I need council planning approval permits for my Carport project?”, “Can I simply follow a step by step guide on building a carport?” or “Do I require engineering to build a carport”, and uDrew is here to answer them to the best of our abilities. Please note that rules and regulations do vary per state and region and change every month-to-year, so check your property in our uDrew system!
uDrew saves you time and money with our automated building app. Check your address, choose your structure and check your planning and/or engineering within minutes, and protect your car from the elements with your new carport!
A Quick Carport Summary
Carports are simple structures and extremely common in Australia. Like most small-structure projects, building a carport require preliminary checks to ensure that your project is safe and meetings council approval requirements, so you have a permit to build.
We are going to breakdown a step by step process to building a carport on your property.
Your Carport Preliminary Checks
Before you start building your carport, you need to understand your property, the rules and regulations, the design, the materials and how you are going to build.
Using the uDrew Site Inspector application, you can type in your address to get a view of the boundaries, your house, trees, pre-existing structures and/or infrastructure. With this, you will be able to place and design your carport quick and easily online. You can also generate a Site Report to print out which has all the details of your property including soil types.
Do You Need Council Approval?
Carports are classed as a “structure”, so to make sure that you don’t receive fines or have council tear down the structure (it happens), the uDrew Site Inspector will list out your local council requirements as well as the building codes you will have to adhere to. The council regulations vary per council, but if your council is supported in the uDrew system, you can design a carport that meets all the council approval requirements in minutes.
An example of Australian council regulations for carports is the distance a carport is from your boundary, proximity to pre-existing infrastructure and the maximum height of the carport.
Another large regulatory requirement is the terrain type and wind speed for your area. The wind speed at a structure is influenced by the terrain it flows over as it approaches the structure.
Building and Engineering
Like most small-structure projects, you will require engineering for your carports. To ensure your carport is structurally sound and has engineering approval, you will need a Land Surveying Report, Structure Draft Design Plans and Engineering Detail Plans. Traditionally builders will refer you to their preferred engineering company to complete this. This will take weeks to months and cost between a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.
uDrew Site Inspector generates a Site Report which automates this process to save you time and money. You can use the uDrew Interactive Planner to design your structure and the engineering certified plans will be generated for you within minutes, not months. This lets you focus more on building and less on paperwork.
Designing a simple steel carport is easy, but engineering a steel carport to withstand the elements and last for years is critical. Not only does this provide you with council approval, but it will also ensure that if you sell your property, you have all the right ticks and approvals for any small-structures built on your property.
Building Your Carport – Step By Step
Australian Carports are generally built with timber, metal steel, aluminium or brick. Once you have the design plans, engineering plans and council approval for your Carport, you can get started with the building.
Whether you are building your carport yourself or using a professional builder, here are the basic steps involved:
Here is a quick summary of the 11 step guide to building a carport in Australia:
- Set out the perimeters for building the carport
- Attach string lines to create a rectangle outline of the carport.
- Measure the outline diagonally to ensure they align
- Dig holes to place the posts inside
- Mix and pour the cement into the holes
- Start putting up the carport posts
- Check the level of your carport’s roof with a datum line
- Attach and secure the beams
- Attach and secure the rafters
- Install the gutter and downpipe for rainwater
- Install the carport roof
1. The Carport Perimeter
Clearing the area where your carport is going to be built and setting up a clear perimeter for the building site.
For Free Stranding Carports (not attached to any other building/structure), then taking the measurements from the design plans and placing pegs in the ground to mark each of the four corners of the carport. Ensuring the distance between each peg reflects the measurements of the carport in the design plans.
For Carports Attached To Existing Buildings, start by taking the measurements from the design plans and measure against the wall of the house. Place pegs in the ground to mark each of the four corners. Ensuring the distance between each peg matches the measurements within the plans.
Once the pegs are in the ground, insert the hurdles in the ground near the pegs. The measurement and placement of these should match the building plans. This creates a buffer between the pegs (actual measurements) and the hurdles (defining the construction area). Then you will stretch string lines from each peg to the other with the result being a rectangle size of the carport.
Remove the pegs. Each corner on the rectangle created by the string and hurdles are where the concrete post footings will be built. Easy!
2. Checking Measurements
Measure each side to ensure it matches the building plans. Then measure each corner diagonally from one corner to the other to ensure its square. Make adjustments if necessary to ensure that everything matches up to the measurements specified within the plans.
3. Digging Holes For Carport Posts
Now that you have the perfect four corners laid out, you can start digging. Focus on one corner at a time and dig a hole to house your posts. The depth and dimensions of your carport post holes will be outlined within your building plans.
Depending on the material of the posts, such as steel, there may be extra steps to secure these via mounting plates. Review the building plans for further information.
4. Pouring Cement
Prepare the cement and start mixing. Its best practice to focus on one carport post at a time, so mix enough cement for one post then pour it into the hole.
To prevent the post from rotting, push the post saddle down into the centre of the hole. Measure the saddle part to ensure it remains 25mm clear of wet cement. Use a simple level instrument such as a spirit level, to make sure the surface is level.
Repeat these steps for the remaining posts.
Typically, the cement will set over a week or so. Wetter and Dryer regions may affect the speed that the cement will set over.
5. Putting Up The Carport Posts
Once the cement is ready, you can put the posts up. This will require 2 or more people. Have one person hold the post in the saddle. Then the other person will take the level instrument to measure the post ensuring its vertical.
Get out the drill and coach bolts and nuts. Then with a steady hand drill through the saddle hole into the post to the other side. Then get the coach bolt and nut and tighten until it has the strength and support to hold the post upright in a vertical position.
Repeat the process for the remaining posts.
6. Carport Datum Line
To ensure the roof of your carport is level, we are going to make a datum line. A datum line is a point of reference used for standard comparison of measurements for depths and heights.
To make the datum line, you will mark the posts with a pencil at the height where the roof will be. Refer to your building plans to see the height at which the roof will be placed.
Double-check the measurements by using a spirit level to mark the same height on each post.
You will then unscrew the bolts on each post, remove the carport posts from their upright positions and safely cut each post where they have been marked.
Make the appropriate housing (notches) for the beams with your saw for the placement of the carport beams.
7. Attaching Carport Beams
Once the carport posts have been cut, place these posts back in the ground and securely screw them into an upright position.
Safely place the beams horizontally in the housing cuts that you made with the saw earlier. Drill two holes and secure the beams with your coach screws.
8. Attaching Carport Rafters
To set the fall of the roof for the rain, you will hammer a nail at the front end of each side of the beams and then run a string line down to the other end. You can cut these later with professional cutting scissors. Attach a nail 40mm lower than the other nail.
Repeat this for the other side of the beams, the nail a batten down on inside of each beam along the string lines. Cut your battens to the width between the side beams and fit one every 900mm or so by securing them with nails.
9. Carport Gutter and Downpipe
The gutter will go along the lower end of the back of the carport. Simply attach it to the back beam using gutter clips. Make sure it has a slight run-off to ensure that rainwater can run down the downpipe.
The downpipe will connect to your nearest stormwater drain.
10. The Carport Roof
Lay your steel roof sheeting across the rafters. Ensure that it stays inside the side beams. Secure the roof with fasteners as directed within the building plans.
Waterproof the edges by applying cap flashing over where the roof meets the edge of the beam.
Carport Safety and Maintenance
Whether you are building it yourself, or have a professional building your Carport, here are so things to keep in mind when maintaining and using your Carport over the coming years in Australia.
- The Timber used in constructing your carport needs to be cleaned and coated at least once a year. Ensuring the timber is clean and coating with a product like Sikkens Cetol BL Deck is the best approach when maintaining your Carport.
Be sure to trim or cut trees around your Carport. One of the most ways to damage your carport is branches or the entire tree falling due to strong winds.
- Make sure that the carports are built to withstand extra pressure on the roof from pressure winds coming into the structure. This means that Carports that are over capacity and have a half block pipe as the main source of air/wind coming in will have more pressure on the roof.
- Insulate your Carport. Depending on the structure and your region, where temperatures keep fluctuating, it’s important to insulate your Carport. Insulating your Carport reduces internal condensation and avoids corrosion and rust damage to the structure.
- Any pipes, drains and gutters on your carport need to be cleaned and maintained. Most damage caused to Carports in Australia is due to minimal maintenance, leaves get stuck in the drain or gutter, water builds up and either causes corrosive damage or puts weight on certain parts of the structure that makes it then more vulnerable to strong weather. We recommend cleaning and maintaining your carport before and after the wet season.
Carport Kits Do It Yourself
Australian’s typically have a go at building small structures such as Carports instead of hiring a builder. With the uDrew Site Inspector and Interactive Planner you can design, plan and approve your Carport project, but you still need the physical components to build. That’s where Carport Kits come in.
- What is a Carport Kit? These kits are disassembled carports. All of the components required to build your Carport project are inside and it makes the building process quick and easy.
- Can I Choose My Carport Kit Design? These kits are preprepared but most suppliers cover various designs for the most popular carport styles.
- How Experienced Should I Be For This Project? We always recommend working with a professional builder to complete these Carport projects. Especially if you are not confident. As you want your carport to be stable and strong enough to handle the Australian elements.
- Are Carport Kits Cheaper? They tend to be cheaper as you are only paying for the materials you need. If you are building a custom carport then you typically have an additional 30% of materials spare at the end that is usually thrown out.
- What About Council Approval and Engineering? uDrew can check that your carport design and placement on your property meet council requirements and has tailored engineering to save you time and money.
- How Much Do Carport Kits Cost? It varies between each Australian city, so Perth may be cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne. Typical single-car carport kits cost between $800 to $4000 delivered in Australia.
- What Vehicles is The Carport Kits Made For? Cars are the first ones, but you will need to double-check for taller 4WD vehicles. Trucks and Buses, this focuses on longer and taller Carport Kits. Caravans and Motorhome Carport Kits are available and match the typical height and lengths of the vehicles. You can customise your Carport Kits to match multiple vehicles of almost any length.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Do you need a Permit to put up a carport? Depending on the size, design, and your property, you may need council approval and certified engineering plans for your carport project.
- How much does it cost to build a carport? For DIY Carport kits, a single-car flat roof carport can cost you between $800-2000+. For a more spacious Gable Carport fitting multiple vehicles, you can be looking at $4000+. uDrew saves you time and money allowing you to get building fast.
- Can you build your carport (DIY)? There are a lot of DIY Carport Kits in Australia, especially Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. You can have various Carport Kits designed and delivered to your house. Leave the complicated Council Planning and Engineering to uDrew and save on your project.
- Carport Council Approval and Planning Requirements Council approval is typically required for Carports and all small-structure projects (depending on size and location). Rather than filling out multiple forms and waiting for weeks-to-months, use the uDrew system to get approval faster and cheaper!
- How to build a carport attached to a house? The process to build a Carports that are free-standing or attached to a house or pre-existing building is relatively the same. When attached to a house, we recommend reviewing the historical site plans and engineering plans of the building while having new engineering plans drawn up for your carport project.
- Step by Step Building Carport Plans. The easy way to build your Carport project is to; 1. Choose a design and style (Flat Roof that fits 2 cars), 2. Use the uDrew System to receive Planning and Engineering plans, 3. Receive Council Approval, 4. Order the Materials, and 5. Start building!
- What are the most common carports in Australia? The most common Carports in Australia are the Flat Roof (Skillion) and Gable Carports. The Flat Roof is the simplest and cheapest design, and the Gable style Carports extend houses original design.
- How many cars can I fit in a carport? You can fit multiple cars, 4WDs, caravans or motorhomes in a carport that’s engineered and designed for it.
- How to Build a Carport? Building a carport requires some experience or the assistance of a professional. First, you measure the carport outlines, then you dig holes where the posts go in, then you prepare the foundation, connect the roof and you’re good to go. Refer to a professional for detailed information on how to build a carport in Australia.
- Timber, Steel and Aluminium Carports. Timber is the cheapest material for Carports but require more maintenance. The most common is a full steel carport that can withstand the elements in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
- How to build a carport in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. Check to see if your address and the local area is supported by the uDrew system. Then design, plan and engineer your Carport within minutes on the uDrew system. Once you have council approval, provide your builder with the materials and the plans. Get your Carport Project completed within weeks, not months by using the uDrew Site Inspector and Interactive Planner applications.