Before you build a new house in Brisbane, find out the key facts about the property. These facts include zoning, overlays, lot size and if the property is in a neighbourhood plan. Use this information to find out if your new house project needs planning approval.
Under Brisbane City Plan 2014, a house is a dwelling house used by one household. A dwelling house includes outbuildings or works normally associated with a house (such as a carport) and may also include a secondary dwelling.
A house is not:
- caretaker's accommodation
- dual occupancy
- rooming accommodation
- short-term accommodation
- student accommodation, or
- a multiple dwelling.
The City Plan defines these separately.
A house is accepted development, if your property is in one of the following zones. It must also be compliant with identified requirements within the Brisbane City Plan 2014:
- Emerging community zone
- Low density residential zone
- Low-medium density residential zone
- Medium density residential zone
- Character residential zone
- Environmental management zone
- Rural zone
- Rural residential zone
- Township zone.
Accepted development, if complying with the identified requirements, does not require Council approval. Assessment is required to ensure the development meets the identified criteria specified in the relevant codes. You will not need anything in writing from Council to commence your house project, provided you:
- carry out a self-assessment to ensure you comply with the acceptable outcomes of the Dwelling house code, or
- if your property is a small lot, your house will need to comply with the Dwelling house (small lot) code, and
- any other applicable codes.
Overlays and neighbourhood plans
Overlays on your site and a neighbourhood plan may add design requirements or matters to be considered. These include significant vegetation, waterways and traditional building design elements, because of your site's unique features or location.
Traditional building character overlay
If your project is in the Traditional building character overlay you need to submit a Code assessable development application to Council and comply with the Traditional building character (design) overlay code.
A PD Online property enquiry can help determine if the proposal requires Council approval. You can also phone Council on 07 3403 8888 to speak to a town planner.
Building approval is separate to planning approval. All houses, including houses on small lots, are Class 1a buildings under the Building Code of Australia. All Class 1a buildings need building approval.
Your certifier can seek a relaxation of some building requirements (e.g. minimum distances from side boundaries). This is a request to Council for a Building Work Referral Agency Response for consideration of the design and siting provisions of the Queensland Development Code (QDC).
You can save the cost of a separate building application at a later date, by including details of other structures you have in mind. These can include sheds, garages, carports, or other structures. These are often subject to building approval if constructed separately.
If a planning application is required, this type of development may be suitable for fast-tracked assessment using the RiskSMART process.
For more information, read Council's Houses fact sheet.