Steffan Harries

Prescribed Accepted Development: Simplifying Your Building Renovations in Brisbane

Renovating a character house in Brisbane presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The city’s rich architectural tapestry, particularly for homes built on or before 1946, is protected under various overlays and regulations to ensure that any modifications uphold the historical integrity of these properties. However, not all changes require navigating the complex web of development applications. The concept of Prescribed Accepted Development (PAD) offers a streamlined path for certain renovations, allowing homeowners to enhance their properties within set guidelines. This article explores how PAD simplifies building renovations in Brisbane, focusing on character homes.

Understanding Prescribed Accepted Development

Prescribed Accepted Development refers to specific types of building work that, due to their minor nature or low impact on the property’s character, do not require a formal development application (DA) with the Brisbane City Council. This framework is designed to facilitate easier, quicker renovations that align with the preservation goals of Brisbane’s heritage properties.

What Qualifies as PAD?

Common examples of work that might fall under PAD include minor internal modifications, repairs, or maintenance work that does not alter the external appearance of a character home. Other activities may include small additions or alterations that meet specific criteria outlined by the council, ensuring they do not compromise the property’s historical value. To give you an idea of what you can do without Council approval as PAD:

  • Extensions at the rear although must only take place where preceded by lawful demolition work by way of accepted development or previously approved in accordance with the TBC (demolition) Overlay Code.
  • Constructing rear decks, verandahs and shade structures on character house should not require a DA either.
Character house renovation without approval in Brisbane
  • Enclosing underneath the existing character house is a common renovation/extension as part of a raise or repositioning of the house. An enclosed extension underneath the house is limited to the existing ‘building core’ along the front and side boundaries. The ‘building core’ comprises of the area within the external walls of the existing character house (ie. not under the balcony or sunrooms). Extending underneath the front or side verandah and to the side of the house aren’t covered by these provisions. Note, this provision does not apply where a property is also in the ‘Local Character Significance sub-category’ of the TBC overlay (mainly in the Bulimba region).
  • Carports, garages, and sheds in the backyard are also accepted development where they are rear of the original house. Otherwise, acceptable locations are either between the house and side boundary alternatively between house and the front boundary where the carport structure width (excluding eaves) is 6m or 50% of the average width of the house whichever is the lesser. Unfortunately, this provision does not apply to properties within the Sherwood-Graceville Neighbourhood Plan area nor the Local Character Significance Sub-Category of the TBC overlay.
  • Other accepted building work includes internal renovations and building work, constructing external stairs, ramps lifts; and
  • An inground swimming pool with ancillary unenclosed shaded structure – where not at the rear of the house the shade structure must not exceed 10mof roofed area or constructed taller than 3m.
  • This isn’t the whole list, so you can refer to the full list in the Brisbane City Plan 2014 here: City Plan 2014: Table – Prescribed Accepted Development (if the link doesn’t work, just Google search the same thing).

Navigating Brisbane Building Regulations for PAD

To determine whether your renovation project qualifies as Prescribed Accepted Development, it’s essential to consult the Brisbane City Council’s planning scheme and use Brisbane interactive mapping tools. These resources provide detailed information on zoning, overlays, and specific criteria that define PAD activities.

Traditional streetscape approval in Brisbane

Steps for Undertaking PAD:

  • Review Specific Criteria: Check the Brisbane City Council planning scheme to understand the PAD criteria relevant to character homes (link above)
  • Consult Planning Resources: Utilise Brisbane interactive mapping to confirm your property’s zoning and any overlays that might affect your renovation plans.
  • Seek Professional Advice (THAT’S US!): While PAD simplifies the renovation process, obtaining advice from building approvals and advice services in Brisbane can help ensure your project complies with all necessary guidelines.

Benefits of PAD for Homeowners

  • Simplified Process: PAD eliminates the need for a DA, reducing paperwork and waiting times for project commencement.
  • Cost Efficiency: By avoiding the DA process, homeowners can save on application fees and associated costs.
  • Flexibility: PAD offers homeowners the flexibility to undertake minor renovations quickly, enhancing their property’s functionality and value while respecting its heritage.


For homeowners of character houses in Brisbane, understanding and utilising the Prescribed Accepted Development pathway can significantly simplify the renovation process. By adhering to the guidelines and criteria set forth by the Brisbane City Council, renovations can be undertaken efficiently, ensuring that the city’s cherished historical homes are preserved for future generations. Whether you’re renovating character homes in Brisbane or making minor modifications, leveraging PAD can help maintain the delicate balance between modernisation and preservation.

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