Plumbing and drainage applications

Depending on the nature of the proposed works you may need to confirm the following items before lodging an application with Brisbane City Council:

Does the property have a sewer connection?

To find out if your property has a sewer connection, or to apply for a new connection contact Urban Utilities on 13 26 57.

Is the property on a combined sanitary drain?

A combined sanitary drain is a private sanitary drain which connects two or more properties to one common Urban Utilities sewer connection point. The first property on the combined sanitary drain will usually have the Urban Utilities sewer connection with a private drain running through this and neighbouring connected properties. To find out if you have a combined sanitary drain on your property, phone Council on 07 3403 8888 and ask to speak with the Plumbing Services Group. Copies of the sanitary drainage plan for the property and/or adjoining properties may be available for purchase from Council. 

Combined sanitary drains and plumbing assessment

Being on a combined sanitary drain has implications for proposed plumbing and drainage work. 

Find out more about combined drains and plumbing assessment.

New single class 1a or 10a building or alteration to an existing class 1a or 10a building

The maximum fixture unit load for the combined sanitary drain will be apportioned equally across each individual lot served by the drain. Plumbing applications lodged for a lot served by the drain will be assessed against that lot's portion of the maximum fixture unit load. Applicants will be advised of their options during assessment by Council.

Apportioning the fixture unit load equally ensures future development is accessible for all lots on the combined sanitary drain.

Find out more about combined drains and plumbing assessment.

Buildings other than single class 1a or 10a

Unless Urban Utilities have given approval to remain on the combined sanitary drain, a new sewer connection will be required for the development and potentially for any affected upstream properties that also share the combined sanitary drain.

Application structure

Council categorises all permit work into the following application structure:

  • fast-track application (replaced PlumbSMART from 1 July 2019)
  • new dwelling or ancillary building
  • alterations to existing building (including works limited to an on-site sewage or greywater use facility)
  • installation other than dwelling
  • drainage and other works
  • new pre-fabricated units/pods
  • referral agency advice wastewater management.


Read the following definitions carefully to ensure the correct application type is submitted.

New dwelling or ancillary building

This category includes the following application types:

  • new class 1a dwelling house
  • new secondary dwelling (class 1a)
  • new class 10a building (associated with a dwelling house or secondary dwelling).

Applications for the assessment of permit work involving a single class 1a dwelling that meets the definition of a dwelling house or secondary dwelling in the Brisbane City Council City Plan 2014 (Schedule 1 Definitions, Table SC1.1.1.B).

For plumbing assessment, Council deems a dwelling to be a secondary dwelling if it is not under the same roof as the primary dwelling.  Connecting structures such as awnings, covered walk-ways, patios roofs and similar structures are not considered to be the same roof as the primary dwelling.

This category also applies when new plumbing and drainage is being installed in an existing class 10a building that does not currently contain any plumbing and drainage.

Applications for class 10a buildings that are not associated with a dwelling house or secondary dwelling (e.g. shed on school grounds, temporary site amenities) cannot be lodged under this application category.

Read more about new dwelling or ancillary building application and assessment.

PlumbSMART (not available from 1 July 2019)

Applications for the assessment of the plumbing and drainage work for the construction of a new dwelling house that:

  • is detached, i.e. no common walls with adjoining dwellings
  • will have its own direct connection to Urban Utilities water and sewer network, i.e. not be connected to a combined sanitary drain, common drainage or an on-site sewerage facility
  • won’t require trade waste assessment.

No assessment is carried out by Council prior to the first inspection.

PlumbSMART applications lodged prior to 1 July 2019 will progress through to completion under the PlumbSMART process.

Fast-track application

Applications for the assessment of permit work for the construction of one new class 1a dwelling and/or one new class 10a building that:

  • is in a service area for a retail water and sewerage service provider
  • will have its own separate and direct connection to Urban Utilities water and sewer network, i.e. not be connected to a combined drain or common drainage
  • does not involve an on-site sewage facility or greywater use facility
  • does not involve installing a fixture relating to trade waste.

When adding a secondary class 1a building or a class 10a building to a lot that already contains a building that is directly connected to the lot's water and sewer connections, the proposed building must have it's own separate water and sewer connection to meet the fast-track criteria. A standard application is required if the proposed building is connecting to the existing internal drainage.

Read more about Fast-track application and assessment.

Installation other than a dwelling

Applications for the assessment of plans for permit work involving all other structures not meeting the definition for a dwelling, e.g. units, offices, industrial building.

Read more about installation other than dwelling application and assessment.

Alterations to an existing building

Applications for the assessment of permit work involving alterations or additions to the existing plumbing and drainage of an existing building. This category includes alterations to:

  • class 1a dwelling house
  • secondary dwelling (class 1a)
  • class 10a building (associated with a dwelling house or secondary dwelling).

This category also includes the following applications for permit work for all building classes:

  • install wastewater treatment facility to existing - greywater or on-site sewage facility
  • replace on-site sewage facility plant or tank
  • install on-site sewage facility trenches to existing.

Read more about alterations to existing building applications and assessment.

Other permit work that has been declared as Fast-track permit work by Council

The following permit work has been declared as Fast-track permit work:

  • minor commercial installation (up to four fixtures, no in-ground drainage or trade waste)
  • new pre-fabricated units (pods) 
  • plumbed-in rainwater tank
  • drain seal-off
  • drain reconnection
  • drain works.

A permit will be issued in two business days to the email address provided by the applicant. Inspections may be booked following receipt of the permit.

Read more about other Fast-track permit work application and assessment.

Referral agency advice wastewater management

Required under schedule 9 table 11 of the Planning Regulation 2017 whenever one or more additional bedrooms are being added to a class 1 building that is connected to an on-site sewerage facility.

Read more about referral agency advice application and assessment.

Fees and charges

A list of Brisbane City Council's fees and charges for plumbing and drainage applications and approval processes is available.

The full list of development assessment and compliance fees is also available.

Last updated: 16 March 2022

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.