Multiple dwellings

Multiple dwellings are premises that contain three or more dwellings for separate households. Prior to the adoption of Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan), the superseded Brisbane City Plan 2000 referred to these as multi-unit dwellings. 

Before you undertake a multiple dwelling project, find out the key facts about the property. These facts include the zone, overlays and if located in a neighbourhood plan area. The information will identify planning approval requirements.

Definition

City Plan defines a multiple dwelling as use of a premises where it contains three or more dwellings.

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

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

A multiple dwelling may be contained on:

Examples of forms of multiple dwellings included in the City Plan definition are:

  • apartments
  • flats
  • units
  • townhouses
  • row housing.

For the purposes of City Plan, a multiple dwelling is not:

  • rooming accommodation
  • dual occupancy
  • duplex
  • granny flat
  • residential care facility
  • retirement facility.

Planning approval

Proposals for multiple dwellings require a planning application.

Council requires technical reports for this type of application. It recommends you seek professional consultant help from a town planning consultant, to prepare an application. 

Preferred locations

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

Residential zones

High density residential zone

In the High density residential zone, a multiple dwelling is code assessable if no higher than:

  • eight storeys in the Up to 8 storeys zone precinct
  • 15 storeys in the Up to 15 storeys zone precinct
  • the number of storeys and building height specified in the relevant neighbourhood plan.

The proposal should comply with the benchmarks outlined in the:

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

Medium density residential zone

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

The proposal should comply with the benchmarks outlined in the:

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

Low-medium density residential zone

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

  • three storeys and 11.5 metres in building height in the Up to 3 storeys zone precinct
  • three storeys and 11.5 metres 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 15.5m or more, and
    • any part of the site is within 400m walking distance of a railway or busway station
  • two storeys and 9.5 metres in building height where:
    • adjoining a lot containing a dwelling house where no approval for development other than a dwelling house exists, and
    • within 10 metres of the common boundary.

​The proposal should comply with the benchmarks outlined in the:

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

Centre zones

In the Principal centre zone, Major centre zone, District centre zone and Neighbourhood centre zone a multiple dwelling is identified explicitly in the categories of assessment table. 

In the Principal centre zone a multiple dwelling is code assessable against the:

In the Major centre zone a multiple dwelling is code assessable where no greater than:

  • 10 storeys
  • the number of storeys and building height specified in the relevant neighbourhood plan, and
  • complying with the assessment benchmarks in the:
    • Centre or mixed use code
    • Major centre zone code, and
    • any Prescribed secondary codes of City Plan.

In the District centre zone a multiple dwelling is code assessable where no greater than:

  • four storeys in the District zone precinct
  • five storeys in the Corridor zone precinct
  • the number of storeys and building height specified in the relevant neighbourhood plan, and
  • complying with the assessment benchmarks in the:
    • Centre or mixed use code
    • District centre zone code, and
    • any Prescribed secondary codes of City Plan.

In the Neighbourhood centre zone a multiple dwelling is code assessable where no greater than:

  • three storeys
  • the number of storeys, building height, gross floor area, plot ratio and site cover specified in the relevant neighbourhood plan, and
  • complying with the assessment benchmarks in the:
    • Centre or mixed use code
    • Neighbourhood centre zone code, and
    • any Prescribed secondary codes of City Plan.

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

Mixed use zone

In the Mixed use zone, a multiple dwelling is code assessable if no higher than:

  • five storeys in the Inner city zone precinct
  • five storeys in the Centre frame zone precinct
  • four storeys in the Corridor zone precinct
  • the number of storeys, building height and gross floor area specified in the relevant neighbourhood plan.

The proposal should comply with the assessment benchmarks outlined in the:

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

Overlays and neighbourhood plans

Overlays on your site and a neighbourhood plan may add design requirements or considerations. These may include significant vegetation, waterways and traditional building design elements, because of your site's unique features or location.

You can find these requirements in the associated overlay and neighbourhood plan codes. Some overlays (such as the Heritage overlay and the Wetlands overlay) will require you to apply for Council approval regardless of whether you meet the acceptable outcomes.

Building approval

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

You can arrange for building approval through a licensed private building certifier. You must give the certifier scaled and detailed plans prepared by an architectural draftsperson, building designer or architect.

RiskSMART

If a planning application is required, this type of development may be suitable for fast-tracked assessment using the RiskSMART process.

More information

If you are located 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