Dual occupancy

The Brisbane City Plan 2014, refers to duplexes as dual occupancy.

Before you undertake a dual occupancy development, find out the key facts about the property. These key facts include information about zoning, overlays, lot size and if the property is in a neighbourhood plan. This information will tell you if your dual occupancy project needs planning approval. 

Definition

The Brisbane City Plan 2014 defines dual occupancy as the use of a premises containing two dwellings on one lot (whether or not attached) for separate households.

A dwelling is a building or part of a building used or capable of use as a self-contained residence that must include the following:

  • food preparation facilities
  • a bath or shower
  • a toilet and wash basin
  • clothes washing facilities.

A dual occupancy may be:

  • contained on one lot or
  • each dwelling unit may be contained on its own lot subject to a Community Title Scheme.

A dual occupancy is not a dwelling house or a multiple dwelling. The City Plan defines these differently.

Development application required

Proposals for dual occupancy require a planning application.

You will require technical reports for this type of application. Council recommends you seek help from a town planning consultant to prepare an application. A proposed dual occupancy may be suitable for fast-tracked assessment using the RiskSMART process.

Preferred locations

A dual occupancy can be code assessable if your property is in one of the following zones.

Residential zones

Medium density residential zone

In the Medium density residential zone, a dual occupancy is code assessable if no higher than:

The proposal should comply with the criteria outlined in the:

You may require an impact assessable development application if the project does not comply with the codes.

The development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply where: 

Low-medium density residential zone

In the Low-medium density residential zone, a dual occupancy is code assessable if no higher than:

  • three storeys and 11.5m in building height in the Up to 3 storeys zone precinct
  • three storeys and 11.5m in building height in the 2 or 3 storey mix zone precinct:
    • where the site has frontage to a road with a reserve width of 15.5 m or more, and
    • any part of the site is within 400 m walking distance of a railway or busway station
  • two storeys and 9.5m in building height in the 2 storey mix precinct.

The proposal should comply with the criteria outlined in the:

You may require an impact assessable development application if the project does not comply with the codes.

The development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply where: 

Character residential zones

In the Character residential zone, a dual occupancy is code assessable if in the infill housing zone precinct, where:

  • any house constructed in 1946 or earlier is retained
  • no greater than two storeys and 9.5m in building height, and
  • complying with the criteria in the:

You may require an impact assessable development application if the project does not comply with the codes.

The development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply where: 

Building approval

Building approval is separate from planning approval. Once you have planning approval for a dual occupancy, you will need to obtain building approval.

You can arrange for building approval through a private building certifier. Use the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's find a local contractor search to find private building certifiers and building consultants. You must give the certifier scaled and detailed plans prepared by a draftsperson or architect.

More information

If you are in an overlay or neighbourhood plan area and want to find out how this will impact your proposal, phone Council on 07 3403 8888 to speak to a town planner.

Last updated:10 May 2019