Steffan Harries

Residential Projects

Steffan Harries has worked on over 3000 residential projects including multiple dwellings, dwelling houses, dual occupancies, and more!

Looking at undertaking a residential development? There is a myriad of reasons why you might need input from a town planning consultant. Our decades of experience in anything from a carport extension through to a high-rise apartment building will ensure you get the best advice to achieve your goals.

Residential Projects

Engaging a town planning consultant like Steffan Harries for a residential development in offers numerous benefits. We possess in-depth knowledge of local regulations, zoning requirements, and development policies specific to the area in which you’re proposing your project.

We navigate the complex planning process, streamline approvals, and maximise the potential of your project. Our town planners ensure compliance with relevant guidelines, enhances project efficiency, and assists in overcoming potential challenges. Their expertise minimises risks, optimizes land use, and ultimately increases the chances of a successful and well-executed residential development.

Learn more about the kinds of residential projects we can assist with below.

Skip to your relevant section using the below buttons.

Dwelling house

There is a range of Dwelling house projects that can trigger for a development application. We have covered off on a few below, but if you’re unsure, why not get in touch with one of our planners today!

New Dwelling House

In certain instances, a new Dwelling house could trigger for assessment. For example, it might be within a Flooding overlay, is affected by Heritage, or in a Biodiversity Area. If you have a property that you think is within one of these overlays, you may require a development permit for a new house. 

The main cause for a new Dwelling house to trigger for assessment is the Traditional Building Character overlay. Any new dwelling within the TBC overlay will trigger for approval in the Brisbane City Council Local Government Area. Learn more 

Extensions to a Dwelling House

Depending on your Council region, if you’re property is not in any significant overlays (e.g. the Traditional Building Character overlay), so long as you can comply with the relevant Requirements for Accepted Development (e.g. Dwelling house code, Dwelling house (Small lot) Code, no Development approval should be required. 

Some common reasons for requiring a planning application include exceeding a building height of 9.5 meters or extending a house on a small lot with front, rear, or side boundary setbacks.

Small Lot Code

In Brisbane, small lot houses* are required to adhere to the Dwelling House (Small Lot) Code. This code sets out specific requirements, which include the following:

  1. New development must be contained within a defined building envelope. This envelope specifies:

    • Height requirements
    • Setbacks of the dwelling
    • Outcomes for built-to-boundary walls
  2. The site coverage of buildings and structures on the lot is regulated.

  3. Car parking requirements need to be met.

In addition to the Dwelling House (Small Lot) Code, there might be additional outcomes to address based on a neighbourhood plan or applicable overlay. By conducting a review of the key facts about the property, any relevant neighbourhood plans or overlays that apply to the site can be identified. 

For example, in additional to your small lot dwelling house extension, the additions may also trigger for assessment under the Traditional Building Character overlay.

What are the general requirements for a small lot?

  • new development is contained with a defined building envelope, which specifies requirements for the height, setbacks of the dwelling, and outcomes for built to boundary walls. For example:

    • 1m side boundary setback;

    • 6m rear boundary setback;

    • 6m front boundary setback unless the adjoining is less…etc.

  • the site coverage of buildings and structures on the lot. For example:

    • 50% where the site is 400sqm or greater;

    • 60% where the site is between 200-399sqm in size;

    • 70% where the site is between 200-299sqm in size…etc.

  • car parking requirements.

  • Building length cannot exceed 25m total.

  • Windows and balconies will need to be screened in accordance with the code.

  • The driveway access/crossover will need to be 4m (maximum).

Auxiliary Units, Secondary Dwellings, and Grannyflats

The Queensland Government made an announcement on September 23, 2022, stating that property owners are now permitted to lease secondary dwellings, including granny flats, to individuals who are not part of the household. This change has largely made Auxiliary Units redundant but we always recommend checking with one of our town planners.

In order to facilitate this modification, the government has revised the Planning Regulation 2017 and plans to assess the legislative amendments after a period of three years.

What constitutes a secondary dwelling?

A secondary dwelling typically refers to a granny flat, which is the most prevalent form. It is an extra dwelling that is situated within, connected to, or independent from the primary dwelling on the same property lot. Usually, it occupies a smaller area compared to the main dwelling. A secondary dwelling can either be self-contained or share certain amenities, such as a kitchen, with the primary dwelling.

Learn more about renting your grannyflat via the Residential Tenancies Authority.

dwelling house development application

Frequently Asked Questions

Overlay maps inform land development by highlighting features like flooding, traditional building character, heritage, and landslide hazard. Some overlays may require planning approval for residential projects. Our website goes through the potential triggers for assessment via our “Do I Need Approval” page.

A small lot is either:

  • a lot with an area less than 450 square metres; or
  • a rear lot with an area less than 600 square metres, excluding the access way.

Dwelling house means a residential use of premises involving—

  1. one dwelling and any domestic outbuildings associated with the dwelling; or
  2. two dwellings, one of which is a secondary dwelling, and any domestic outbuildings associated with either dwelling.

Not to be confused with a ‘Dwelling house, a Dwelling unit means the use of premises containing a non-residential use for a single dwelling, other than a dwelling for a caretaker of the non-residential use.

town planning permit for medium rise dwelling

Frequently Asked Questions

Both a townhouse and apartment development falls under the definition of a ‘Multiple dwelling’ under the Planning Regulation 2017. Townhouses are generally a Multiple dwelling where each dwelling is next to each other (whether attached or not). An apartment is where the dwellings are stacked on top of one another.

A triplex is a residential development that contains 3x dwellings. In Queensland, it falls under the general definition of a Multiple dwelling.

Depending on the Council region, you will generally require a Low-Medium Density Residential zone or greater. For example, a Medium Density Residential zone, Centre Zone etc. 

Low-Medium Density Residential Zone. This zone is generally intended on townhouse and dual occupancy style residential developments. An example might be LMR2 in Brisbane.

In Queensland, it is rare that a Council will require a townhouse development to be ‘attached’. Meaning each unit is attached to the next. 

POS means ‘Private Open Space’ and will generally be a requirement for a multiple dwelling development. For example, in Brisbane City Council you might need 35m2 of area with a minimum dimension of 3m for your POS.

COS means ‘Communal Open Space’ which is an area within a Multiple dwelling development for enjoyment of all the residents. For example, a communal gym, garden, bbq area, or cinema.

Multiple Dwellings

A multiple dwelling refers to a residential use of premises that encompasses three or more dwellings, regardless of whether they are attached or detached from one another.

On the other hand, a dwelling is defined as a building or a portion of a building that is used or capable of being used as a self-contained residence. For a structure to be considered a dwelling, it must include the following features:

  1. Food preparation facilities
  2. A bath or shower
  3. A toilet and wash basin
  4. Clothes washing facilities

Various types of multiple dwellings fall within the definition outlined in the City Plan. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Row housing
  2. Apartments
  3. Flats
  4. Units
  5. Townhouses
  6. Attached units


A townhouse development is usually supported in Residential zones that are Low-Medium Density Residential and up (e.g. Medium, High Density etc). A townhouse falls under the definition of a Multiple dwelling and is a development that involves 3 or more dwellings next to each other on a single allotment. 

In some instances, townhouse developments can be subdivided onto freehold allotments which can become an advantage to dissolve body corporates. Feel free to reach out to one of our town planners to see if your townhouse project could be on a freehold title (wondering what a freehold title means? Check out our page on Plan Sealing and the different kinds of plans.


An apartment development is similar to that of a townhouse development but the Multiple dwellings are arranged so that they are stacked on top of one another. Generally, an Apartment complex will be spread over 3 or more storeys. 

Steffan Harries has a wealth of experience in obtaining approvals for Apartment buildings ranging in height from 3-12 storeys.

Want to get started on your project asap? Get in touch with one of our town planners right now!

Dual Occupancy

According to the Planning Regulation 2017, Dual occupancy is defined as the utilisation of premises that consists of two dwellings on a single lot, regardless of whether they are attached or not. It can also refer to two dwellings located on separate lots that share common property.

A dwelling, as defined by the same regulation, is a building or a portion of a building that is used or capable of being used as a self-contained residence. For a structure to be considered a dwelling, it must include the following facilities:

  1. Food preparation facilities
  2. A bath or shower
  3. A toilet and wash basin
  4. Clothes washing facilities

A dual occupancy can take two forms:

  1. Both dwellings are contained on one lot.
  2. Each dwelling unit is contained on its own lot, which is subject to a Community Title Scheme.

It’s important to note that a dual occupancy is distinct from a dwelling house (incl. a Secondary Dwelling), or a multiple dwelling, which are defined differently in the Planning Schemes and Planning Regulation 2017. 

In most instances, for example in Brisbane and Ipswich, a Dual occupancy development will require approval from Council in the form of a development application.

Brisbane duplex town planning approval

Frequently Asked Questions

An auxiliary unit is generally a ‘secondary dwelling’ that can be rented separately from the primary residence.

No. An auxiliary unit is generally a section of the primary house (e.g. a grannyflat) that can be rented separately to the primary dwelling but cannot be sold separately. 

They are the same thing. Duplex being the common way to describe a “Dual Occupancy” as defined under the Planning Regulation 2017.

Yes. If the residential development is lawfully established as a Dual occupancy, it can be strata-titled. Learn more about titling on our plan sealing page.

Infrastructure charges relate to the following kinds of utilities:

  • transport (e.g. roads, pathways, ferry terminals and bus stops)
  • stormwater (e.g. pipes and water quality treatment devices)
  • water supply and wastewater (e.g. reservoirs, pipes and sewage treatment plants)
  • public parks (e.g. parks and sporting facilities)
  • land for community facilities (e.g. land for libraries and community centres)
  • other infrastructure depending on the LGA.

From 2011, the State Government has mandated a maximum adopted charge (capped rate) to limit the number of charges that can be applied to a proposed development.

Learn more about Infrastructure Charges.

Scroll to Top

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?

The best and fastest way to make an enquiry is to submit our online form here.

Still prefer to call? 

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.

Please have the details of your enquiry ready.

In a hurry for advice?

Need quick advice about a prospective purchase? Get a formal Due Diligence Report within 2 business days.

Preview what you will receive here.

Need urgent advice?

Looking at purchasing a property? Unlock insights about your property’s potential!

For $800 you’ll get the following:

✅A comprehensive review of critical planning aspects
✅A written report
✅Overview of the development potential (if any)
✅High-level feedback from a planning Director

Expect your tailored advice within just 2 business days. Click here to view a sample report.