Building provisions in planning schemes

Planning schemes set out whether development can occur in an area; building assessment provisions (BAPs) detail how to build.

Generally, it's not appropriate to include BAPs in a planning scheme.

The Building Act 1975 (sections 32 and 33) and Building Regulation 2021 (Part 3 sections 5-8) outline the matters a planning scheme may include.

Local governments can include BAPs in a planning scheme in several ways: tables of assessment for building work, an overlay or codes.

Building matters that are designated or defined in a local planning instrument are automatically captured as part of the BAPs. Local governments may also be prescribed as a referral agency for matters under Schedule 9, Part 3, of the Planning Regulation 2017.

Under section 57 of the Planning Act 2016 (PA), a local government may give a referral agency response before a development application is made. Consider the response when making the building application. A local government can consider giving a referral agency response as part of an earlier development application.

If matters relating to building works that are not BAPs need to be assessed against a planning scheme (e.g. demolition of housing identified in a character heritage overlay), a certifier must wait for local government to give a separate development permit (assessed under the planning scheme) before issuing a building works approval.

Matters a planning scheme can include

  • Alternative boundary clearances and site cover provisions for Class 1 and 10 buildings and structures (e.g. front, side and rear boundary setbacks and the maximum area covered by all buildings and structures)
  • Variations to certain matters for Class 1 and 10 buildings and structures that are provided for in the Queensland Development Code (QDC) parts MP 1.1, MP 1.2 and MP 1.3, including:
    • heights of buildings related to obstruction and overshadowing
    • siting and design of buildings to provide visual privacy and adequate sight lines (for corner blocks)
    • on-site car-parking requirements
    • outdoor living spaces
  • Designation of bushfire-prone areas for the National Construction Code
  • Designation of a natural hazard management area (flood) and declaration of a defined flood level, maximum flow velocity of water, inactive flow or backwater area, freeboard that is more than 300mL or finished floor level of Class 1 buildings built in all or part of the designated flood area
  • Designation of transport noise corridors for QDC MP 4.4
  • Additional end-of-trip facilities to those imposed by QDC MP 4.1 (e.g. bicycle parking and storage facilities, locker facilities, change rooms, showers, sanitary compartments, wash basins and mirrors).

Provisions to consider

Be aware of the following sections when including matters in a planning scheme. These sections prevent duplication in BAPs.

Section 8(5) of the Planning Act 2016

This section states that a local planning instrument must not include provisions about building work that is regulated under the BAPs unless permitted under the Building Act.

Read this section with sections 32 and 33 of the Building Act.

Section 30 of the Building Act 1975

This section states what the BAPs are.

Section 31(4) of the Building Act 1975

This section states that a local planning instrument must not include provisions about building work that is regulated under a BAP.

Matters a planning scheme can't include

Provisions in the current parts of the Queensland Development Code

  • Part 1.4 Building over or near relevant infrastructure (sewers, water mains, stormwater drains and combined sanitary drains)
  • Part 2.0 Fire safety
  • Part 3.0 Special buildings
  • Part 4.0 Building sustainability
  • Part 5.0 General health, safety and amenity
  • Part 6.0 Maintenance of buildings

Provisions in the National Construction Code

Generally, these matters in the National Construction Code are BAPs. This list is not exhaustive.

You can't include these in a planning scheme unless the Building Act permits it:

  • a building's structural stability (e.g. footings), including the structural resistance that materials and forms of construction (e.g. slab on ground) must achieve to withstand floods, cyclones, landslip, earthquakes, etc.
  • building fire safety and fire resistance, including the separation distances between buildings, fire protection to external walls (including any openings such as windows) and the splitting up of the internal spaces into separated fire compartments
  • fire safety standards for buildings constructed in bushfire-prone areas. Matters about the construction of buildings, including building orientation, boundary clearance requirements and distances of buildings or structures from vegetation to address a bushfire hazard
  • fire safety equipment that must be installed in a building, including fire-fighting equipment (e.g. fire hydrants, hose reels, portable fire extinguishers), smoke hazard management (e.g. smoke detectors and alarms) and emergency lighting and signs
  • lift installations for emergency egress, disability access, etc.
  • the provision of access and facilities for people with disabilities from a site's point of entry up to and within a building, including the number and design of accessible parking spaces on a site
  • damp and weatherproofing, sanitary facilities, room sizes, light and ventilation, sound insulation and the ability to resist the effects of termites
  • structures ancillary to the main use of the building, including minor structures (swimming pools, vaults, cool rooms), heating appliances (fireplaces, flues and chimneys) and atrium construction
  • energy efficiency standards that apply to a building's construction (e.g. standards that specify a building's or material's thermal resistance (star rating), ventilation requirements, building orientation, the provision of shading devices (not for privacy))
  • telecommunications facilities within a building
  • maintenance of equipment in buildings.