Rainwater tank approvals | Brisbane City Council

Rainwater tank approvals

Most rainwater tanks installed at residential properties, for outdoor use only, do not require any approvals. However, in-ground tanks and tanks above a certain dimension will require building approval. This is to verify 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 must be in accordance with plumbing and building standards. A plumbing inspection is required if you connect the tank for internal uses.

The tank overflow must be connected to an appropriate stormwater discharge point or into the kerb and channel. This prevents uncontrolled stormwater discharge that could result in flooding and damage downstream.

Potential required approvals

Council plumbing approval

You will require plumbing approval 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.

Council only supports two internal uses for rainwater:

  • toilet flushing and
  • cold water washing machine taps.

You must submit plumbing forms 1, 2 and 7 with your application.

Building and relaxation approval

The property owner is responsible for lodging building and siting approvals, if required.

Building certifier approval

You must lodge a building application with a building certifier if:

  • the tank is within 450 millimetres of any property boundary (not including 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
  • a submerged or semi-submerged tank extends greater than one metre below ground
  • the tank attached to a building (e.g. house or shed) closer than 900 millimetres to a second building on the property (does not apply to non-combustible tanks*).

* Contact the manufacturer to find out if your rainwater tank is non-combustible. If it is, request a certificate showing your tank is non-combustible.

Council relaxation approval

Council requires relaxation approval for the following.

  • The tank is more than one metre high and located within six metres of the front boundary. This is the boundary with road frontage. Corner blocks may have two front boundaries.
  • The tank is more than 2.4 metres high up to 4.5 meters high (including stand). It is 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). It is within two metres clearance of side or rear boundaries.

General information

Tanks must be separated from underground stormwater and sewerage pipes by at least two metres. This is 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 apply for narrow blocks. Different height restrictions may apply for corner blocks.

15 April 2019