When you are buying a block one of the issues that controls what you can put on a block is the Setbacks of the main structure.

Setbacks vary from council to council and can also vary between neighbourhoods in a council area.

To give you an idea here are typical Setbacks:

Street Setbacks

  • From the front title boundary the minimum setback is typically 5.0m, which is enough to park a car on the driveway.
  • In low density suburbs larger front setbacks may be required.
  • For older inner city suburbs the allowable front setback may be much less.(to match existing properties).
  • Side setbacks for corner blocks are generally less than the front setback, with 2.0m being typical.
  • Some councils will also have maximum setbacks,such as 1/3rd the total block length.

The following structures are usually permitted to project into setbacks:

  • Porches, verandahs and pergolas, with a maximum height of 3.6m.
  • Eaves, fascia, gutters, sunblinds, shade sails, and screens.
  • Decks, steps, or landings less than 800mm in height.

Side and Rear Setbacks to Adjoining Properties

Typical setbacks are:

  • Side 2.0m, plus 0.6m for every metre of height over 3.6m.
  • Rear 3.0m, plus 0.6m for every metre of height over 3.6m.

In addition to the encroachments mentioned above encroachments are also usually allowed for;  masonry chimney backs,  flues, pipes, fuel tanks, water tanks, and heating & cooling equipment.


Don’t want any setback?….see Building on Boundaries



  1. carol

    Why would a Council want more than 5m Setbacks

    1. Brian Ashworth (Post author)

      I do know that in some “posher” areas like parts of some of the Melbourne bayside suburbs 8 or 9m setbacks are not unusual, to match the existing properties.


  2. ed

    My area in south west NSW, setbacks are average of neighbouring properties, around 7-8m…and am paying for it now that i’m building with a project home builder. Their standard site costs only allows for 6m runs (stormwater, sewers, electricity etc). Funny how the sales guy didn’t inform us even as he collected our information and drew up the initial siting of the new house

  3. Why should i do it

    Thanks for the great article..

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