New house | Brisbane City Council

New house

A-model-of-a-house-being-built-on-building-plansWhen building a new house in Brisbane, you will first need to find out the key facts about the property (zoning, overlays, lot size and if the property is included in a neighbourhood plan) and then use the following information to find out if your new house project needs planning approval.


Under Brisbane City Plan 2014, a house is defined as a 'dwelling house' and is 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, all of which are defined separately in the City Plan.

Preferred locations

A 'house' can be accepted development if your property is in one of the following zones and is compliant with identified requirements within the Brisbane City Plan 2014:

Accepted development, if complying with the identified requirements, does not require Council approval. Assessment is still 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 make sure you comply with the acceptable outcomes of the Dwelling house code.

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.

Other locations

If your proposed house is not in one of the preferred locations listed, contact Council on 07 3403 8888 for advice specific to your situation.

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 a development approval from Council regardless of whether you meet the acceptable outcomes.

Traditional building character overlay

If your project is in the Traditional building character overlay you will need to submit a Code assessable development application to Council and comply with the Traditional building character (design) overlay code.

If you intend to demolish or remove part of an existing pre-1946 structure in the Traditional building character overlay you may need a separate planning approval.

Planning approval

A PD Online property enquiry can help you determine if the proposal requires Council approval. You can also phone 07 3403 8888 to speak to a town planner. 

Building approval

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. 

You can arrange for building approval of your new house through a building certifier. You must give the certifier scaled and detailed plans prepared by a draftsperson or architect.

Your certifier can seek a 'relaxation' of some building requirements (for example, minimum distances from side boundaries) by making an application to Council. This is called a siting variation.

To save the cost of a separate building application at a later date, you should think about including details of any sheds, garages, carports, or other structures you have in mind with your application. 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.

More information

If you wish to find out more, Council's fact sheet Houses can provide additional information.

06 March 2019