How to use Brisbane City Plan 2014 | Brisbane City Council

How to use Brisbane City Plan 2014

Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan) is a technical document used by Brisbane City Council to assess new development. City Plan can be overwhelming for those who haven’t used it before.

While the information below aims to help you through the process of using City Plan, preparing a development application can be a complex task. You can find out about the types of industry experts who may be able to help with your building or development project and get a brief description of their services and links to relevant industry associations.

To assist you in navigating City Plan, Council has provided the following information:

Where to start   

First, an understanding of your site details is required to help navigate City Plan. Knowing a property’s zone, or if the property is located in a neighbourhood plan or overlay is important information.

This information can be found either by undertaking a property enquiry search using Council’s PD Online - property development and application search tool and the interactive mapping or by referring to the individual maps in City Plan.

Alternatively, you may review City Plan directly to check these details. The following steps outline this how to search the City Plan to locate the information needed.

Step 1 - Zoning

To check the zone and/or zone precinct of the property, you can refer to the zone maps in Schedule 2 of City Plan or by doing a simple property enquiry search. Write this information down for your use later in determining your level of assessment.

Step 2 - Neighbourhood plan

Your property may also be within a neighbourhood plan. You can check if a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood plan precinct applies to your property by using the neighbourhood plan maps in Schedule 2 or by doing a simple property enquiry search. Write this information down for your use later in determining your level of assessment.

Step 3 - Overlays

Your property may also be within an overlay. You can check if overlays apply to the property by using the overlay maps in Schedule 2 or by doing a simple property enquiry search. Write this information down for your use later in determining your level of assessment.

Determining whether a development application is required

If you are considering developing your site you will need to determine whether a development application is required to be submitted to Council or if you need to undertake your own assessment against City Plan.

Step 1 - Defining your development

Determining how the development proposal is defined under City Plan is the first key step.

If you are unsure what category of land use your development comes under, consult the definitions in Schedule 1 of City Plan.

Step 2 - Type of development

Determining the type of development you are proposing is the next important step.

Types of development are terms identified under the Planning Act 2016. The key types are:

  • making a ‘material change of use’ (MCU)
  • carrying out ‘building work’
  • 'reconfiguring a lot' (RoL)
  • carrying out 'operational work'.

Definitions of these terms can be found in Schedule 2 (section 6) of the Planning Act 2016.

Understanding the type of development that is applicable to your proposal is critical in determining the need for a development application.

Step 3 - Category of development and Category of assessment

The category of development given to different types of development has a direct bearing on whether you need to lodge a development application and how your development application will be assessed by Council.

Your proposal will either:

  • be exempt from assessment against City Plan
  • be required to comply with identified requirements for accepted development in City Plan (that will not require you to submit a development application to Council)
  • be assessable development that will require you to submit a development application to Council or;
  • prohibited development (development for which a development application may not be made, as outline in Schedule 10 of the Planning Regulation).

Category of assessment - Assessable development

There are two categories of assessment for assessable development, namely code and impact assessment

If your development is for one of the following uses and you require the category of assessment advice, phone Council on 3403 8888 to speak to a town planner:

If your proposal is not one of the uses listed here, you can find a step by step description for determining the category of development and category of assessment in Part 5.3.2 of City Plan. Alternatively you can use the basic instructions provided here.

Step 3.1

To begin, check if the development is listed in Part 5.4 of City Plan (regulated category of development and assessment prescribed by the Regulation’), by reference to the tables within Part 5.4. If your development is not listed in this section, proceed to Step 3.2.

Step 3.2

If the development is not prescribed a category of assessment and you know the type of development, you can refer to the relevant section of Part 5 of City Plan:

  • section 5.5 for development that is a material change of use
  • section 5.6 for development that is reconfiguring a lot
  • section 5.7 for development that is building work
  • section 5.8 for development that is operational work.

With knowledge of the zone and zone precinct of the property and the definition of your development, find your proposed type of development in the left hand column of the table of assessment. If you are unsure what type of development your proposal is, refer to Step 1.

Step 3.3

If a Neighbourhood plan applies to the property, you will need to check if the relevant Neighbourhood plan table in section 5.9 Categories of assessment - Neighbourhood plans. Neighbourhood plans can change the categories of assessment for the zone.

Step 3.4

If an overlay applies to the property, refer to section 5.10 Categories of assessment - overlays to determine if the overlay further changes the category of assessment.

Once you have determined your level of assessment, you can find out more information about accepted development, code assessment and impact assessment and if you will be required to submit a development application to Council.

Step 4 - Assessment criteria (Assessment benchmarks)

Assessment benchmarks can be determined by referring to the assessment criteria column in the applicable category of assessment. These tables identify the assessment criteria, usually in the form of codes, applicable to your proposal.

Where the assessment criteria column refers to ‘Prescribed secondary code’, you can find what secondary codes will apply to the assessment of the proposal in section 5.3.5 of City Plan 2014.

Other codes that may apply to a development proposal include zones codesneighbourhood plan codes and overlay codes.


Each code has a standard format which tells you:

  • what types of development it applies to
  • the purpose of the code
  • the assessment benchmarks to be achieved.

Acceptable outcomes

There are established ways to demonstrate compliance with the code, by ensuring your development meets the acceptable outcomes. These are adjacent to each performance outcome, located in the right hand column. 

If your proposal does not exactly meet the acceptable outcome, or there is no acceptable outcome specified, you will need to demonstrate how the proposal meets the performance outcome.

There is no ‘relaxation’ of an acceptable outcome. 

If an acceptable outcome is not met, or there is no acceptable outcome specified, you must address the performance outcome.

If you require more information or assistance, please contact Council.

20 December 2018