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Building a tree house in Australia

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It's not as easy as "Tree Houses Masters"

The idea of building a tree house is a sweet little dream for many Australian's, and with the advent of shows like "Tree House Masters" it leaves Aussies asking "Why don't we see or hear more about tree houses in Australia"? Well, it all comes down to building regulations.

"Tree House Masters" is set in America and America has very different development and compliance rules to Australia.

If you choose to build a tree house in Australia you'll need the following before you can start construction:

1. Development consent

Development consent & a construction certificate will be required if your tree house is more than 20m² in area.

2. Arborist report

An arborist report will be required stating the maximum loads the trees can take and the longevity of the trees to be used.

3. Geotechnical report

A geotechnical report will most likely be required stating that the ground around the trees is stable enough to take the load of the proposed tree house.

Council will then assess your application like any other proposed residential development.

Things you need to consider:

  • Height - There will be a height restriction for your tree house (around 8.5m high). Check with your local council.
  • Bushfire Attack Level - Timber building materials may not meet your Bush Fire Attack level.
  • Balustrade compliance - The height, infill details and materials of balustrades will need to comply with standard building requirements.
  • Stairs - Stair and railings will need to comply with building codes. Read our stair design article for more details.

Australian tree houses

There are pseudo tree houses built in Australia all the time but they are not fixed to living trees.  They are supported by traditional timber posts or similar.

Building a tree house in Australia is possible but it will be necessary to engage the services of not only a builder but also an arborist, geotech engineer, structural engineer and possibly a building designer. As a result your tree house budget can be eaten up by fees.