New Guidelines for Brisbane Character Homes

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House Raising Plans

New Guidelines for Brisbane Character Homes

Brisbane is home to a large number of Queenslander houses. These buildings are iconic and have become loved by many locals.

If you are lucky enough to be an owner of one of these buildings, you may find that you have gotten to a point where the home doesn’t suit your needs anymore and a renovation is in order. If this is the case, there are a number of rules and regulations in place regarding changes to the traditional homes and buildings of Brisbane. The regulations have been in place for a while, but they were recently updated after the results of a public forum were taken into consideration. 

Last year a forum was opened up for the public to discuss what characteristics of the traditional Queenslander home should be kept intact when renovations are undergone. This forum was to contribute to the existing regulations surrounding character listed homes. Homes that fall into this category have to meet certain criteria:

  • The house was built before 1947
  • Has the Traditional Building Character overlay

The forum revealed that people agreed that maintaining the homes’ appearance is important. As a result, further design principles are being put in place. 

  • Principles that are concerned with the impact on the street frontage, and;
  • Principles that apply to the extension or adaptation to the side or rear of the existing dwelling.

Depending on the works that you want to complete, certain principles will have to be considered. When it comes to maintaining the streetscape these areas should be thought of;

  • The front gardens
  • Car accommodation
  • Fencing
  • The Verandah
  • Integrate/maintain original details.

There are also several principles to be followed when extending or adapting on the original home;

  • Respect the original building by remaining sympathetic to its original form. 
  • Extensions should maintain balance to the size of the block.
  • Changes should be set back from the site boundaries to maintain access to daylight and ensure privacy to and from the neighbours.
  • Adaptations should take into consideration the Queensland climate- they should remain comfortable, sustainable, adaptable and functional. 

If you’re seeking more space in your character listed home, there are a number of ways to go about it.

Build underneath

Many traditional Queenslanders were built off the ground, this allows for natural cooling, but it can also provide a good opportunity to create more living areas. There are rules and regulations regarding ceiling height, so if the existing space underneath doesn’t meet these criteria, then a house raise might be the next logical step. This will open up the space further, allowing room for a garage, patio or additional living areas. 


If you’re thinking of extending outward as opposed to upwards, then regulations surrounding extensions are to also be examined. These are focused on maintaining the homes’ current appearance and scale by not interfering with the original home front and using sympathetic materials. 

Building a deck

If you’re after the perfect spot for catching the afternoon sunsets, then a deck may be on the table. If so, this will need to be done so that it complements the original house and doesn’t interfere with the front of the home. 

You can find out if your home belongs in Brisbane’s character overlay, as well as in-depth information on the regulations and principles on the Brisbane Council site. We work closely with Building Approvals and Advice who ill be able to assist you with getting you project to approved by council. 

We can help you through the design and drafting process and ensure you get the best possible outcome. Check out some of our latest projects. Contact us today and get your project underway.

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