Heritage and character buildings

Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan) has been developed by Brisbane City Council in consultation with the community to support a simple, fast and clear development assessment process. The plan guides how land in Brisbane can be used and developed to support economic growth, while protecting the city’s character and natural assets. 

From churches and worker’s cottages, Queenslanders and traditional corner stores, to Californian bungalows and pre-federation houses, Brisbane’s heritage and character buildings reflect the best of Australian architecture and our city’s local history. 

In order to protect Brisbane’s past and maintain the architectural heritage and character of our city and suburbs, City Plan outlines requirements for appropriate development in Brisbane’s older suburbs, and for renovating, demolishing or removing some buildings. 

The information on this page outlines the different types of heritage and character buildings included in City Plan and the development requirements that may apply to them. 

What is a heritage or character building? 

City Plan identifies four different types of heritage or character properties. Each has a corresponding overlay map and overlay codes that help you to identify the development requirements applicable to your property.

How do I know if I have a heritage or character property?

City Plan online mapping allows you to view your property on a map to see if you have a site in a character or heritage overlay.

For instructions on how to use City Plan online mapping read Using City Plan.

Overlay maps

 OverlayWhat is the intent?What are the rules?

Traditional building character overlay 

Maintain traditional character in  streets where there are houses built in or before 1946. Examples are traditional timber and tin Queenslanders (including those built before 1911) and 1920’s masonry art deco buildings.

Houses built in or before 1946 are to be retained and any extensions or alterations are to complement the traditional building style. 

Houses built before 1911 are to be retained and any extensions should not alter the original parts of the house.

New houses are to be designed to fit in with the character of the street.


Commercial character building overlay 

Allow a range of compatible uses to take place in traditional corner shops. 

Commercial character buildings are to be retained and any extensions or alterations are to complement the traditional building style.

Compatible uses such as small shops, offices and services may be located in Commercial character buildings even when in zones where these uses would not otherwise be allowed, such as residential zones.

Pre-1911 building overlay
Retain houses built before 1911. In some cases, they may be relocated to another suitable location.

Houses built before 1911 are to be retained and any extensions should not alter the original parts of the house.

Where a pre-1911 house is located in a zone that is not intended for houses, for example an Industrial zone or the High-density residential zone, the house may be relocated to another house lot that is in the Traditional building character overlay.


Heritage overlay 

Protect specific buildings and places of heritage significance. Heritage places can be of local, state, national or world heritage significance.

Heritage places are to be retained and restored to preserve their heritage value. Development on sites next to heritage places should not impact the values of the heritage place.

More information

For more information:

Disclaimer: The content on this page is a summary and has been prepared to assist the reader to understand City Plan. Please refer to the full City Plan document, entitled Brisbane City Plan 2014, via City Plan online for further detail.

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Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.