Multiple dwellings | Brisbane City Council

Multiple dwellings

Unit-complex-under-constructuionMultiple dwellings are premises that contain three or more dwellings for separate households, for example, apartments, flats, units, townhouses or row housing. Prior to the adoption of Brisbane City Plan 2014, the superseded Brisbane City Plan 2000 referred to these as multi-unit dwellings. 

If you are planning to undertake a multiple dwelling project, you will first need to find out the key facts about the property, including the zone, overlays and if it is located in a neighbourhood plan area, and then use the following information to identify planning approval requirements.

Definition

The 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 being used as a self-contained residence that 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 one lot or each dwelling unit may be contained on its own lot subject to a Community Title Scheme.

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

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

For the purposes of the 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.

Technical reports are required for this type of application and it is recommended you seek professional consultant help, such as a town planning consultant, for assistance in preparing an application. A proposed multiple dwelling development with 10 units or less may be suitable for fast-tracked assessment using the RiskSMART process.

Preferred locations

Residential zones

High density residential zone

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

  • 8 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 multiple dwelling code, High density residential zone code and any Prescribed secondary codes in City Plan. If the project does not comply with the codes, an impact assessable development application may be required.

Please note that where the site is located within a neighbourhood plan, or is affected by an overlay, the development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply.

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 multiple dwelling code, Medium density residential zone code and any Prescribed secondary codes of City Plan. If the project does not comply with the codes then an impact assessable development application may be required.

Please note that where the site is located within a neighbourhood plan, or is affected by an overlay, the development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply.

Low-medium density residential zone

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

  • 3 storeys and 11.5 metres in building height in the Up to 3 storeys zone precinct
  • 3 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
  • 2 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 multiple dwelling code, Low-medium density residential zone code and any Prescribed secondary codes of City Plan. If the project does not comply with the codes, then an impact assessable development application may be required.

Please note that where the site is located within a neighbourhood plan, or is affected by an overlay, the development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply.  

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. As per Part 5.3.2 (7) of the City Plan, the highest category of assessment applies.

In the Principal centre zone a multiple dwelling is code assessable against the Centre or mixed use code, Principal centre zone code and any Prescribed secondary code where no greater than the number of storeys and building height specified in the relevant neighbourhood plan.

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:

  • 4 storeys in the District zone precinct
  • 5 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:

  • 3 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.

If the project does not comply with the applicable assessment benchmarks in the relevant codes, then an impact assessable development application may be required.

Please note that where the site is located within a neighbourhood plan, or is affected by an overlay, the development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply.

Mixed use zone

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

  • 5 storeys in the Inner city zone precinct
  • 5 storeys in the Centre frame zone precinct
  • 4 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 multiple dwelling code, Mixed use zone code and any Prescribed secondary codes. If the project does not comply with the applicable assessment benchmarks in the relevant codes, then an impact assessable development application may be required.

Please note, where the site is located within a neighbourhood plan, or is affected by an overlay, the development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply.

Other locations

A multiple dwelling may also be appropriate in the following areas:

Low density residential zone

In the Low density residential zone, a multiple dwelling requires an impact assessable development application.

The maximum height and minimum site requirements for a multiple dwelling in a low density residential area include:

  • a maximum building height of 2 storeys and 9.5 metres
  • a site area of 3000m²
  • a street frontage width of 40 metres.

The Low density residential zone is intended to accommodate houses supported by community uses and small-scale services and facilities which cater for local residents. Multiple dwellings of one or two storeys in height may be appropriate on sites over 3000m² where complying with the relevant assessment benchmarks in City Plan.

Please note, where the site is located within a neighbourhood plan, or is affected by an overlay, the development may be subject to an alternative category of assessment and additional assessment benchmarks may apply.

Character Residential Area

The Character residential zone is intended to accommodate predominantly existing houses built in or before 1946, supported by community uses and small-scale services and facilities that cater for local residents. Low rise multiple dwellings such as row houses at a house scale may be appropriate to provide housing diversity in the Infill housing zone precinct.

In the Character residential zone (Infill housing zone precinct) a multiple dwelling requires an impact assessable development application. Development provides that a new multiple dwelling is located between or behind dwelling houses built in or before 1946, on an appropriately sized and configured vacant lot, and requires it to be compatible in scale and design with the existing dwellings built in or before 1946.

Land in the Character residential zone is also included in the Traditional building character overlay and the provisions of the Traditional building character (design) overlay also apply to any new multiple dwelling. Building height and bulk must complement the predominant ‘traditional scale’ of dwelling houses constructed in 1946 or earlier nearby in the street. 

The maximum height and minimum site requirements for a multiple dwelling in a Character residential area (Infill housing zone precinct) include:

The Character residential zone (Infill housing zone precinct) code provides that development achieves a maximum dwelling yield of one dwelling per 300m2 of site area.

Overlays and neighbourhood plans

Overlays on your site and a neighbourhood plan may add design requirements or considerations, e.g. 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 would like to find out how this will impact on your proposal you can contact Council.

03 July 2017