Guide to subdividing land

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 our city’s character and natural assets.

The City Plan allows for a variety of different property and lot sizes to cater for the needs of our growing city. This includes catering for the increasing number of single and couple households, new affordable housing types and changes in the way people are living, while protecting our enviable way of life.

This fact sheet outlines how Brisbane City Plan 2014 applies to subdividing land, also known as ‘reconfiguration of a lot’, and how to work out the type of development application you will need.


Do I need approval to subdivide my land?

Yes, you will need to lodge a development application with Council to subdivide your land. In many instances, your application may be subject to a straight-forward assessment process (code assessment) or impact assessment, where public notification (opportunity for public comment) is also part of the process.

Code assessableYes, you will need to lodge a development application with Council to subdivide your land. In many instances, your application may be subject to a straight-forward assessment process (code assessment) or impact assessment, where public notification (opportunity for public comment) is also part of the process.
Impact assessableYou will need to apply to Council to assess your application against the relevant codes in Brisbane City Plan 2014. Depending on the type of development, the assessment can range across all provisions of the City Plan. This application will need public notification (signage on site, notice in paper and letters to neighbours).

If your subdivision meets certain criteria, it may qualify for RiskSMART, which is a fast and simple way for your application to be approved within five working days. Applications must be prepared, lodged and certified by a Council-accredited RiskSMART consultant.

How do I find out what type of approval I need for subdividing my land? 

PD Online property enquiry can help you determine if the proposal requires Council approval. You can also phone Council on (07) 3403 8888 during business hours and ask to speak to a town planner. 

While Council aims to assist you through the process, you may wish to engage a consultant, town planner, surveyor or other appropriately qualified professional for help with your building or development project.

What do I need to know before submitting my development application for subdividing land? 

The City Plan interactive mapping tool allows you to view your property on a map to see the zones, overlays and neighbourhood plans that apply to your site. These will need to be considered in your development application. 

The maps are colour and number coded to help you clearly identify the relevant zones and zone precincts within an area. 

Is my land big enough to subdivide?

Once you have used the interactive mapping tool to work out which zone your property is in, you will need to check the minimum lot sizes and frontages of that zone.

A selection of the most common minimum lot sizes for standard zones are listed in the following table however, these are also subject to meeting requirements for minimum frontage, average width and development rectangle. There are also some circumstances where the requirements vary. The minimum lot sizes in the below table are only one aspect to consider when subdividing your land. You can find further information in the Subdivision code in the ePlan (electronic version of City Plan). To better understand the options available to you contact an appropriately qualified professional.

Selected zones and minimum lot sizes

ZoneZone precinctFront lot (m2)Rear lot (m2)
Low density residential-450600
-400 (small lot)600
Low density residential around centres*-300 (small lot)600
Character residentialCharacter 450600
Infill housing300450
Low-medium density residential2 storey mix260350
2 or 3 storey mix260350
Up to 3 storeys180350
Rural residential10,000

*Subject to walking distance

In some cases it may not be appropriate to subdivide due to characteristics of the land, such as excessive slope, protected vegetation, location of infrastructure, flooding or the location of heritage or character buildings. For more information view the Subdivision code outlining the subdivision criteria.

What is a small lot?

A small lot is either: 

  • a lot with an area less than 450 square metres 
  • a rear lot with an area less than 600 square metres, excluding the access way.

Small lots have been provided for in Brisbane since the early 1990’s and were allowed under Brisbane City Plan 2000Brisbane City Plan 2014 is more specific about where small lots can be located, their sizes and how they should fit into their surrounding area.

Subdividing around Centre zones

In response to community feedback, the City Plan permits smaller lots in the Low density residential zone to potentially occur within 200 metres walking distance of a Centre zone that is greater than 2000 square metres. Such lots are also subject to meeting specific requirements such as slope, frontage and shape. This gives residents more opportunities to live close to local services and facilities in some areas of the city. 

You can check the location and size of Centre zones and the distance from your property using the online interactive mapping tool.

Is there anything else I should consider when subdividing my land?

Most development approvals will require you to ensure that the land is appropriately serviced which will be at a cost to you. Infrastructure-related charges may also be applicable.

What happens once my subdivision is complete?

Once your subdivision is complete and all charges paid, Council will then seal the plan of survey.

To fast-track this plan sealing, you can use Council’s SealSMART service where an accredited consultant certifies that your application meets requirements. Council will generally approve the survey plans within five working days.

You then register the sealed survey plan with the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines and they issue a new title for your subdivision.

What is walking distance?

Walking distance is defined as the distance between two places, measured from reasonable pedestrian access points and along roads with verges, off-road pathways or other reasonable pedestrian connections. It cannot cross obstacles such as waterways, railway lines or private land.

More information

You can lodge your application by emailing You may wish to engage a consultant town planner, surveyor or other appropriately qualified professional to prepare the application for you.

For more information about City Plan, access the interactive mapping tool or phone Council on (07) 3403 8888.

You can also attend one of the Talk to a Planner sessions that Council holds throughout the year to speak to a Council officer in person. 

To stay informed about the City Plan, including proposed amendments and to receive other Council planning and development updates, you can register your interest.

Disclaimer: The content of this information sheet is a summary and has been prepared to assist the reader to understand the City Plan. Please refer to the full City Plan document, entitled Brisbane City Plan 2014, on Council’s website for further detail.

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