Common application problems

The following information details common problems encountered by applicants, such as providing insufficient information and poor quality plans, and how you can avoid these issues. You can limit delays when submitting your development application to Brisbane City Council for approval. 

Insufficient information

Many planning applications are lodged with insufficient information to assess the planning proposal. Issues can include:

  • not meeting the 'properly made' requirements detailed on each of the Development Application forms
  • inadequate plans, such as illegible A3 size plans and missing details
  • not completing the Development Services online lodgement form correctly to provide all details requested  
  • little or no supporting information, including failing to address the applicable codes
  • conflicting reports and plans.

A planning application may be refused if information required as part of an information request is inadequate or insufficient.

Poor quality plans

Plans submitted as part of an application should be prepared by a qualified design consultant in the relevant development field and are required to be fully legible at A3 size.

Plans are to be fully dimensioned and show heights and setbacks from boundaries. You should include all details, such as:

  • site plans showing all boundaries, natural features and proposed development (including the location and use of buildings on both the proposed land and the adjoining land, the location of car parks and areas to be landscaped)
  • all elevations (north, south, east and west) with natural ground levels (on Australian Height Datum (AHD) where the property is affected by flooding) and relative finished levels
  • floor plans for each level of the development, showing both the existing and proposed development along with existing and proposed gross floor area (GFA) calculations
  • for subdivision, a proposed plan of subdivision showing all:
    • existing and proposed allotments, including the intended use of all proposed lots
    • existing and new roads, easements, parks, waterway corridors
    • other environmental considerations.

Unacceptable impacts

You need to ensure that your proposed development does not result in unacceptable impacts on the surrounding area. Your application needs to show evidence of minimising, as far as practicable, hazards and impacts created by the development.

Unsatisfactory impacts can include:

  • loss of protected vegetation
  • inability to adequately handle discharge of stormwater
  • poor quality designs leading to excessive impacts, such as noise, overshadowing or reduced access to sunlight.


Impact assessable developments need to undergo public notification. Delays can occur when public submissions are received raising concerns about your development.

Prior to lodging your application, you may wish to discuss your proposed development with your neighbours and other potentially impacted parties. By doing this, you:

  • let people know of your intentions
  • may consider any concerns your neighbours may have.

It will benefit your proposal if you are able to seek letters of support from your immediate neighbours prior to lodgement.

External referrals

All State Government referrals are assessed by the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA). If your application needs referral to SARA, you may wish to contact the agency to find out requirements prior to lodgement.

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