Building & Plumbing

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Building and Plumbing       Building Works Approval       Building Certification       Shipping Containers
Reclassification       Neighbourhood Fencing       Swimming Pools and Swimming Pool Fencing
Plumbing and Drainage Work Approval       Backflow       Wastewater Treatment       Stormwater
Lawful Point of Discharge       Pollution       Rainwater Tanks


Building and Plumbing

Our Building and Plumbing team is here to ensure your Building, Plumbing and Drainage Work is safe, functional and abides by State and National legislative requirements, including the Building Act 1975 and the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.

It is important to ensure that you have obtained the necessary planning approvals before you obtain your Building, Plumbing or Drainage Works approval. Find out more about more about Strategic Planning and Development Assessment or see the options below for all things related to Building, Plumbing and Drainage Works approvals.

Building Works Approval

If you are undertaking Building Work, such as additions to a building, demolitions, repair work, construction of a new building, tenancy fit-outs, underpinning etc., you may need to apply for Building Works approval. However, some Building Work does not require an approval. Contact Council or a Private Building Certifier to find out if the Building Work you propose requires approval.

An application for Building Works can be assessed by a private certifier, who must then lodge the approved plan with Council for our records. Alternatively, anyone can submit a Building application to Council for assessment.

A Building Application submitted to Council must be accompanied by the appropriate application forms, plans of the Building Work and the relevant application fee. See our Fees and Charges or Contact Council to find out the required application fee. Design and pre-lodgement advice is also available upon request.

Building Certification

After you obtain approval, the Building Work must be inspected during stages of construction and certified upon completion. Council provides a full building certification service for the inspection and certification of all types and classes of buildings, including:

  • commercial
  • industrial
  • residential units
  • dwellings
  • alterations and additions
  • sheds
  • swimming pools

Shipping Containers

People commonly purchase or hire a container to use on their land for storage purposes on either a temporary or permanent basis. If you intend to place a shipping container on your property for more than 30 days, you will need to obtain Building Approval through a Building Certifier (Council or Private). For more information, see the Shipping Containers Factsheet.


A building or structure is ‘classified’ in accordance with the purpose for which it is designed, constructed or adapted to be used. As such, to use a building for a purpose other than what it is currently classified for, it is necessary to have the building reclassified.

A common example of this is to change a shed (which is classed as a 10a Building) to a house (which is classed as a Class 1a Building).

To reclassify a building, regardless of whether there is Building Work required or not, it is necessary to apply for a Building Approval for a Change of Classification. Again, this application can be assessed by Council or a Private Building Certifier.

Neighbourhood Fencing

In general, a fence requires Building Approval if it is over 2m in height or associated with a swimming pool. However, requirements may vary depending on the individual situation. Contact Council or a Private Building Certifier to find out if your fence requires approval and see our information below on Swimming Pools and Swimming Pool Fencing. Retaining walls often require Operational Works approval. See our information on Development Engineering to find out more.

Swimming Pools and Swimming Pool Fencing

A Building Approval is required for Swimming Pools and associated Swimming Pool fencing.

All Swimming Pools in Queensland are required to meet State Government standards for swimming pool barriers, gates and access. It is the responsibility of all pool owners to ensure their pools comply with these standards and to obtain a Swimming Pool Safety Certificate. Council provides an inspection service for the issue of Swimming Pool Safety Certificates.

Find out more on the Queensland Building and Construction Commission website or Contact Us today.

Plumbing and Drainage Work Approval

Development projects that incorporate water supply work, sanitary plumbing and drainage work may require approval through Council, to ensure protection is provided to public health and Council’s infrastructure.

Plumbing Work is to be carried out by a licensed plumber and/or drainer and in most cases they will apply for the required approvals. Contact our Plumbing department today to find out if the work you propose requires Plumbing approval.


Backflow occurs when a condition in a water supply system causes back-siphonage or back-pressure. Back-siphonage is events such as a pipeline breakage, undersized pipework or high withdrawal rates. Back-pressure is when high pressure is generated downstream by pumps, thermal expansion or elevation.

To prevent backflow, the following types of development are typically required to install a backflow prevention device:

  • motels and unit complexes
  • hotels
  • vehicle repair workshops
  • shops
  • restaurants
  • caravan parks
  • medical and dental surgeries
  • car and plant washing facilities
  • dry cleaners and laundries
  • hospitals and funeral parlours
  • club houses for sports
  • schools
  • day care centres and kindergartens
  • pest control and water carrying vehicles
  • botanic gardens

A backflow prevention device will eliminate any risk of contamination of the drinking water supply. These come in the form of testable or non-testable devices, dependent on the level of risk associated with the potential contamination. Under State Government legislation, testable backflow prevention devices are required to be registered with Council.

Wastewater Treatment

For properties that are not connected to Council’s reticulated sewerage system, the treatment and disposal of wastewater must be provided by an on-site sewerage facility.

If not properly sited and maintained, on-site sewerage facilities pose a significant risk to public health, amenity and the environment. For this reason, anyone installing or replacing an on-site sewerage facility must report to Council all servicing and maintenance activities.

There are a number of different types of on-site sewerage facilities available, including:

  • conventional domestic sewage treatment plants (secondary treatment or better);
  • septic tanks (primary treatment);
  • composting systems (dry vault & wet systems);
  • holding tanks (off the premises for collection & greywater treatment/ diversion facility);
  • aerated wastewater sewage treatment plants

It is recommended that a Qualified Wastewater Designer is engaged to assess the type of on-site sewerage facility that best suits your property. It is also important to check that the on-site facility has been given approval by the Queensland State Government. If the facility does not have approval, it cannot be installed in Queensland.


Stormwater is rainwater that runs off surfaces such as lawns, roads, roofs, car parks and natural ground surfaces. Water that is unable to enter the underground drainage system will find its natural way to the nearest watercourse via stormwater overland flow paths. These stormwater overland flow paths are usually roadways, public reserves, pathways and often flow through private property.

Where a property has a stormwater instillation such as roof gutters, downpipes, subsoil drains and stormwater drainage for the premises, Council may direct the property owner to connect to Council’s stormwater drainage system, if available and practical to do so.

All land owners must ensure that the approved stormwater system on the property is suitably maintained and complies with Council’s requirements. It is also the responsibility of property owners to ensure that any easement for stormwater on the land is kept clear of debris to allow for the natural flow of stormwater, and to accept natural stormwater overland flow from neighbouring properties or public land.

To learn more about stormwater management, view the factsheet here.

Lawful Point of Discharge

For the discharge of stormwater from a property or to a development to be lawful, it must comply with all laws (federal, state, local and common law) current at the time and should not cause any actionable nuisance to others.

The lawful point of discharge is a term used to describe a location where stormwater can be released that is under the lawful control of Council or another statutory authority (for example, the Department of Transport and Main Roads).

The regulatory authority will determine the lawful point of discharge in accordance with the criteria described in the Queensland Urban Drainage Manual current at the time (QUDM). In some instances, a drainage easement or a written discharge approval from down stream property owners will be required to allow the proposed method to discharge stormwater from a property.


It is illegal to discharge pollutants such as concrete, paint, oils and pesticides into the sewerage and stormwater drainage system. Any person who is proven to have carried out such activities can be issued with an on-the-spot fine or other legal action.

Rainwater Tanks

Rainwater tanks require building approval where one or more of the following apply:

  • the diameter of the rainwater tank exceeds 3.5m;
  • the overall height of the tank exceeds 2.4m;
  • the base is greater than 5m in length;
  • a supporting structure, such as a tank stand, is required and the overall height exceeds 2.4m;
  • the tank is associated with a new building (e.g. construction of a new house);
  • the tank is over/ near Council infrastructure and on a base with continuing footings (i.e. concrete tank).

Any water overflow from a rainwater tank must be discharged to the lawful point of discharge as described above.