Steffan Harries

Traditional Building Character Approvals

Pre-1947 buildings can attract a specialist skillset to navigate. Our planners have extensive experience in guiding design, and obtaining approvals.

The Traditional Building Character Overlay (formally called the ‘Demolition Control Precinct’) is mapped over particular properties or residential pockets mostly within inner Brisbane suburbs where there are houses built in or before 1946 commonly referred to as ‘pre-war’ homes. Most building work (new houses and extensions) in these will generally require approval.

Traditional Building Character

The Brisbane City Plan 2014 incorporates a set of guidelines aimed at directing development in areas characterised by traditional and distinctive housing. These development regulations have been implemented to preserve Brisbane’s heritage when undertaking renovation, demolition, or removal of certain structures. Within the Brisbane planning scheme, there exist different categories of character and heritage housing, each accompanied by an overlay and corresponding codes for development assessment. 

pre-war house renovation in brisbane

Frequently Asked Questions

A ‘character’ house is any Dwelling built in 1946 or earlier (pre-1947) in Queensland.

A ‘character’ house is only protected from demolition if fulfils the following criteria:

  1. The house is built in 1946 or earlier; AND

  2. The property as the Traditional Building Character, Commercial Character, Heritage or Pre-1911 overlay.

From churches to worker’s cottages, Queenslanders and traditional corner stores, to Californian bungalows and pre-federation houses, Brisbane’s heritage and character buildings reflect the best of Australian architecture and the city’s local history. In order to protect Brisbane’s past and maintain the architectural heritage and character of the city and suburbs, their planning scheme outlines requirements for appropriate development in Brisbane’s older suburbs, and for renovating, demolishing or removing some buildings. The object of the planning scheme is to achieve the following:

  • Development protects residential buildings constructed in 1946 or earlier that individually or collectively contribute to giving the areas in the Traditional building character overlay their traditional character and traditional building character.

  • Development protects a residential building or a part of a building constructed in 1946 or earlier where it forms a part of a character streetscape comprising residential dwellings constructed in 1946 or earlier nearby in the street within the Traditional building character overlay.

  • Development retains a residential building constructed in 1946 or earlier that reflects the traditional building character other than ‘timber and tin’ architecture.

 

Under the Brisbane City Plan 2000, an overlay was created called the Demolition Control Precinct. This overlay aimed at protected pre-1947 dwelling houses. Later, under the City Plan 2014, this overlay became the ‘Traditional Building Character overlay’.

Prescribed Accepted Development means works that do not require approval. For example, it is ‘exempt’ from assessment.

The Traditional Building Character overlay places a higher level of protection of pre-1911 houses despite not being in the ‘Pre-1911 overlay’ so it is important to find the age of your house before planning an extension.

Any house built pre-1947 in Queensland.

Traditional Building Character

The Traditional Building Character overlay is  divided into two sub-categories: the Neighbourhood Character sub-category, which applies to the majority of properties within the overlay, and the Local Character Significance sub-category, which offers additional development guidance and is limited to properties in Hawthorne, Balmoral, and Bulimba suburbs.

The main objective of this overlay is to preserve pre-1947 houses and provide direction for the construction of extensions and new homes that harmonise with the surrounding area’s character and traditional architectural style. There are two distinct sets of codes that form part of the Assessment Benchmarks governing demolition, building work, and material change of use within this overlay:

  1. Traditional Building Character (Demolition) Overlay Code
  2. Traditional Building Character (Design) Overlay Code

New building work in the Traditional Building Character overlay

Any new building work that isn’t Prescribed Accepted (e.g. a new house) will require approval in the Traditional Building Character overlay.

Demolition

Demolition of any of the following will generally require approval in the Traditional Building Character overlay:

  1. any component of a building constructed in 1946 or earlier if on a corner lot; or
  2. the components of a building constructed in 1946 or earlier forward of a point which is the highest and rearmost part of the roof; or
  3. any component of a building constructed prior to 1911;
  4. where not in the Local heritage place sub-category or the State heritage place sub-category of the Heritage overlay
We note that demolition that is Prescribed Accepted Development will not require approval. 

Pre-1911 overlay

Before renovating a Character house, it’s important to check if it falls under the Pre-1911 Overlay. Houses built before or during 1911 are protected under this overlay, which aims to preserve federation era dwellings. Note that dwellings identified under the pre-1911 overlay in City Plan 2014 must be maintained, and any proposed extensions should not alter the original parts of the house.

Find out the history of your character home with our simple service!

Understanding the age of your character home is crucial when renovating or buying. Our service is designed to uncover the age, architectural style, and historical features of any residential property within the Brisbane LGA. Here’s what you’ll get:

*does not include pre-1911 investigations, and will only confirm if built pre-1947. We cannot always guarantee we will have a conclusive answer.

Our character house approvals:

Extensions and Demolition to pre-1911 Dwelling house

Development Type:

Dwelling house (extension & demolition) in a Traditional Building Character overlay where the house was pre-1911

Location:

Hamilton, Brisbane, Queensland

Status:

Approved 2020 – Built 2024

Planning Summary:

Like any pre-1911 house, this one came with various post-war alterations and extensions that Steffan Harries carefully navigated to negotiate a modern, yet sympathetic extension to the existing pre-war house. The extensions really brought the house back to life and gave it a much needed renovation!

Prescribed Accepted Development (Traditional Building Character)

The Brisbane City Council offers a selection of building works categorised as ‘accepted/exempt,’ meaning they are deemed minor enough to be carried out without the need for planning approvals. We have provided a list of these works below for your reference:

If demolition, repositioning or raising of a building involving one or more of the following:

  1. repositioning of a building sideways, forwards or backwards within a lot, or sideways onto an adjoining lot, where:
    1. it does not involve the rotation of the building away from the primary street frontage to face another frontage or boundary;
    2. boundary setbacks of the relocated building comply with:
  1. the side boundary setbacks specified in acceptable outcomes AO2.3 of Table 9.3.8.3.Aof the Dwelling house (small lot) code if on a small lot;
  2. the rear setbacks in acceptable outcome AO2.4 of Table 9.3.8.3.Aof the Dwelling house (small lot) code if on a small lot;
  1. raising a dwelling house, where:
    1. not in the Latrobe and Given Terraces or Sherwood—Graceville district neighbourhood plan areas;
    2. the resultant building height does not exceed the building height requirements contained in any relevant neighbourhood plan, or 9.5m otherwise;
  2. demolition, where:
    1. of an internal wall or feature;
    2. external features including windows, doors, balustrades, window hoods and fretwork forming part of the building constructed in 1946 or before, where the demolition enables replacement of the feature with new features of the same style and appearance consistent with traditional building character;
    3. demolition of an internal or external stair, lift or ramp;
    4. demolition to facilitate internal building work;
    5. a free-standing outbuilding constructed in 1946 or before, where at the rear of the building;
    6. a post-1946 addition, extension or free-standing outbuilding;
    7. a post-1946 alteration to reveal the original design or reconstruction with the original form and materials, including roof material, wall cladding, windows, stumps, lower floor enclosures and verandah enclosures;

any other demolition required as a direct consequence of carrying out work necessary for renovations and extensions previously approved by the local government in accordance with or not subject to assessment against the Traditional building character (design) overlay code or the Pre-1911 building overlay code.

 

If for a dual occupancy, dwelling house or multiple dwelling, involving one or more of the following:

  1. an enclosed extension under an existing building to the extent of the core of the building along the front and side boundaries, other than a dwelling in the Local character significance sub-category;
  2. an enclosed extension at the rear where preceded by lawful demolition as either accepted development or approved in accordance with the Traditional building character (demolition) code;
  3. an external stair, ramp or lift;
  4. internal building work;
  5. a carport, garage, shed or other outbuilding at the rear of the building;
  6. a carport:
    1. if located:
  1. between the building and side boundary; or
  2. between the building and front boundary, where a maximum total width of 6m or 50% of the average width of the lot, excluding eaves, whichever is the lesser;
    1. if not in the Sherwood—Graceville district neighbourhood plan area or the Local character significance sub-category of the Traditional building character overlay;
    2. if associated with a dwelling house in the West End estate precinct of the West End—Woolloongabba district neighbourhood plan, where also complying with the requirements in AO13.2, AO13.3 and AO13.4 in that neighbourhood plan code;
    3. if associated with a multiple dwelling in the Hillside character precinct of the Ithaca district neighbourhood plan, where also complying with the requirements in AO23.3 in that neighbourhood plan code;
  1. decks, verandahs, balconies and other shade structures at the rear of the building;
  2. an in-ground swimming pool and/or spa (of any size) and unenclosed ancillary shade structures (where not at the rear, any shade structures are to have a maximum roofed area 10m2 and maximum height 3m)

Note—Where on a lot with more than one frontage, the rear of the building is that part of the site that is behind the building relative to the primary street frontage.

 

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Find the history of your character home with our simple service!

Understanding the age of your character home is crucial when renovating or buying. We can uncover the age, architectural style, and historical features of any residential property within the Brisbane LGA. Here’s what you’ll get:

*does not include pre-1911 investigations, and will only confirm if built pre-1947. We cannot always guarantee we will have a conclusive answer.

Have an enquiry?

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A member of our admin team will be happy to take down your details and send them to a planner for assessment. Call us on 33170042.

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