New schools are built with 3 flagpoles in accordance with the , and established schools with fewer than 3 flagpoles are encouraged to procure additional poles. Having 3 flagpoles enables schools to fly the Victorian State Flag and the Aboriginal Flag or Torres Strait Islander Flag, in addition to the Australian National Flag.
Six metres is the recommended height for most school situations. This is the equivalent of a 2-storey building. Occasionally, 7.5-metre poles may be warranted. If in doubt, contact the VSBA for assistance via email or phone .
Flagpoles that are affixed to buildings should not exceed a height of 3 metres above the highest point of attachment to that building.
Flagpoles under 8 metres do not require local council approval or a building permit.
Flagpoles can be installed differently to suit a variety of needs and situations:
- Free-standing fixed-base spigot – a concrete base is poured around the flagpole (or the tubular sleeve into which the pole is then inserted). A base plate can also be used for free-standing poles – in this instance, the plate is bolted down onto a concrete footing.
- Hinged base – the concrete base supports a metal hinge which allows the flagpole to be lowered for maintenance, and so on. Hinged options should only be considered in consultation with experienced manufacturers/installers.
- Building-attached – some schools (especially those on tight inner-urban sites) may find it more practicable to affix flagpoles to the exterior of their buildings, for example, the school entrance/administrative facilities.
Most flagpoles are manufactured in aluminium. This can be provided with an anodised or powder-coated finish, depending on preference, colour and local conditions.
Heritage schools or facilities may require a timber flagpole.
Flagpoles can have a standard diameter their entire length (typically 80 mm) or be tapered, with a top diameter narrower than the base. Tapered poles can be more expensive.
For tapered flagpoles, the base diameter should be approximately 90 mm for a 6-metre pole and approximately 100 mm for a 7.5-metre pole.
Procuring a new or replacement flagpole
Where possible, schools are encouraged to use Victorian Building Authroity registered builders to complete these works and to ensure that they are certified structurally sound by a structural engineer. Schools must obtain at least one supplier quote for contracts valued at $50,000 (including GST) or less. However, schools are encouraged to seek multiple quotes wherever possible.
If a contract is estimated to exceed $50,000 (which is unlikely to apply to flagpole projects unless multiple poles are being installed across several campuses of the one school entity), schools must not obtain tenders or quotations, commence any works or enter into contracts, until they have sought VSBA approval to proceed.
Suitable flagpole installers
To ensure equal access to business opportunities and avoid conflicts of interest, the VSBA is unable to recommend specific companies or building professionals to undertake these works. However, these are readily searchable on the internet.
The building professional must have a current Australian Business Number (ABN) and a minimum of $10 million public liability insurance.
Schools are encouraged to speak to building professionals in their local area who have experience in installing flagpoles.
Costs can vary depending on flagpole size, base construction, finish, and installation. Additional costs may accrue if the supplier is not local to the project and has to travel, for example, from outside the region and incur fuel and accommodation expenses.
Proposed project costs may also vary depending on soil and ground conditions, especially where contamination may have occurred, or services are present.
Flags are not typically included in the cost of flagpole installation. Unless an arrangement has been reached with a school's particular flagpole supplier and installer, schools will need to purchase flags separately.
Funding for flagpoles
Schools will need to use their existing funds, whether locally raised or drawn from the minor works component of their Student Resource Package (SRP), to install flagpoles.
Flagpoles are recommended to be located at the entrance to the school campus, where possible.
Other locations might include areas where the school community assembles, such as quadrangles or outdoor courtyard spaces.
Consider whether there are any known issues, for example, contaminated soil (including asbestos) has been found at the proposed location, or there are existing underground services that may be impacted. Footings can disturb underground water or electricity assets, and consent may need to be obtained if a flagpole is to be constructed near or over an easement.
Under the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019, there are minimum distances to aerial lines that need to be complied with. It is recommended that school's relevant electricity supplier be consulted if a flagpole is to be built near overhead power lines.
Schools are recommended to provide as much information as is known so that the building professional can proceed with due diligence, including preliminary ground investigations. Under the Minor Works Contract, the building professional will assume responsibility for the remediation of any damage to services.
Other specifications and policy requirements
The building professional or installer engaged by a school is responsible for ensuring that the flagpole meets all technical specifications and safety requirements.
The ﬂag-raising halyard must be internal to the pole (6-metre poles have a typical diameter of 80 mm), and that a lockable hatch be provided to reduce both vandalism and ensure safety.
The requirements are outlined in the:
Victoria’s Building Act 1993, the Building Regulations 2018, and the Building Code of Australia (also referred to as the National Construction Code and incorporated by reference into the Regulations) govern the delivery of building works in this state.
In accordance with the Code, a Class 10 structure (that is, flagpole) must:
- perform adequately under all reasonably expected design actions
- withstand extreme or frequently repeated design actions
- be designed to sustain local damage
- avoid causing damage to other properties.
While flagpole installation works are procured and led by schools, the VSBA is available to provide advice and support to schools that require it.
For further information or assistance:
Reviewed 14 September 2023