Approvals and standards

Most in-ground tanks and tanks above a certain dimension require building approval. In some instances, a building certifier must verify that the installation is structurally sound or Brisbane City Council may need to approve the tank location.

All pipes and fittings connecting the rainwater tank to your roof, household fixtures and the stormwater system should be done in accordance with plumbing and building standards. A plumbing inspection will be required if the tank is connected for internal uses.

Tank overflow should be properly managed to prevent uncontrolled stormwater discharge that could result in flooding and damage downstream.

Tank with internal connections approvals

Council plumbing approval

Plumbing approval is required for any internal connection, including but not limited to:

  • connecting the rainwater into your home for:
    • toilet flushing
    • cold water washing machine taps
  • if you are supplying the tank with town water supply back-up

Please be aware that the only two internal uses for rainwater supported by Council are toilet flushing and cold water washing machine taps.

Plumbing forms 1, 2 and 7 will need to be submitted with your application.

Building and relaxation approval

It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure, that if required, building and siting approvals are lodged.

Building certifier approval

A building application will need to be lodged with a building certifier if:

  • the tank is located within 450 millimetres of any property boundary (from 1 May 2007 this does not apply to non-combustible tanks*)
  • the tank is more than 2.4 metres high, including stand
  • the side of the tank is more than five metres in length
  • submerged or semi-submerged tank extends greater than one metre below ground
  • the tank is attached to a building (for example, a house or shed) is closer than 900 millimetres from a second building on the property (from 1 May 2007 this does not apply to non-combustible tanks*).

* To determine whether your tank is non-combustible, you will need to contact the manufacturer and ask them to provide a certificate showing the tank is non-combustible.

Council relaxation approval

Council requires relaxation approval if:

  • the tank is more than one metre high and is located within six metres of the front boundary (that is the boundary with road frontage, on corner blocks there may be two front boundaries)
  • the tank is more than 2.4 metres high up to 4.5 metres high (including stand) and is located within 1.5 metres clearance of side or rear boundaries
  • the tank is more than 4.5 metres high up to 7.5 metres high (including stand) and is located within 2 metres clearance of side or rear boundaries.

General information

Tanks must be separated from underground stormwater and sewerage pipes by at least two metres (unless a development permit authorises an alternative separation distance). If you are unsure, you can check by visiting Council.

Reduced rear and side boundary clearances will apply for narrow blocks and height restrictions for corner blocks.

Last updated:30 April 2019