So you want to extend your living space to the outdoors by adding a deck to your house. It’s a sound investment that can increase your quality of life and boost your property’s value. Before you start selecting designs, you´ll have to check whether you need approval from Brisbane City Council. Here´s what you need to do.

Do I Need Planning Approval From The Council?

The first step is to determine whether or not you actually need council approval for your deck. It may not be required. To determine whether this is so in your case, you have to know key facts about the site your property is located on, including:

  • Zoning – this guides the type of development permitted to occur on your site.
  • Neighbourhood plan – legal documents that form part of the Brisbane City Plan 2014 and are created with input from residents and business owners.
  • Overlays – the unique characteristics of a property, such as features to protect and planning matter considerations, like flooding. The purpose of overlays is to identify places sensitive to the effects of development and subject to valuable resources, among other reasons.

Brisbane Council Deck Building Regulations Guide

You can use the City Plan online mapping tool to find relevant data about your property. It’s easy to use. All you have to do is enter the property address in the search bar. Alternatively, you can zoom in and out of the map to find the property you want to see on the screen. You can find more information here.

You may need planning approval if your property is located in the Traditional building character overlay and adding your deck doesn’t involve minor demolition or minor building work.

Minor demolition work includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Demolition of a feature or wall.
  • Demolition of a staircase.
  • Demolition of features including doors, windows, window hoods, balustrades and fretwork that formed part of the building constructed in or before 1946.
  • Demolition of a post-1946 addition, extension or free-standing outbuilding.
  • Demolition of any post-1946 alteration that reveals the original design. This includes windows, lower floor enclosures, wall cladding, roof material and stumps.

Minor building work includes but is not limited to the following:

  • An external ramp or stair.
  • A carport at the front or side of a house.
  • Raising a house where the new height doesn’t exceed 9.5 metres.
  • A garage, shed, carport or another outbuilding at the rear of the building.

To find out whether you need planning approval, you can speak to a town planner by calling 07 3403 8888 or submit a Development.i property enquiry.

What About Building Approval?

Building approval is separate from planning approval. You will need to secure building approval from a Queensland Building and Construction Commission licenced contractor. You can find private building consultants and certifiers using the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s Find a local contractor search.

When You Don’t Need Planning Approval For A Deck

Brisbane City Council doesn’t require approval for every type of decking design and structure. This is the case when…

  • Decks are smaller than 10 square metres
  • Decks are no more than 1 metre off the ground
  • Decks don’t exceed 5 metres in length on any side
  • Decks adhere to the Queensland Development Code’s safety requirements

Note that these rules can change at any time. If your planned decking doesn’t meet the above requirements, it will have to be assessed by a building certifier.

Requirements For Building A Deck

When installing a deck, safety is a priority. Queensland Government’s website is a useful resource highlighting the factors you need to consider. For example:

  • Only install heavy objects such as spas on a deck if it has been designed to support the extra load.
  • Remember that with age, decks can deteriorate, reducing their ability to withstand the loads they were originally designed for.
  • To keep children safe, ensure the furniture and other climbable objects are heavy and difficult to move.

Requirements For Building A Deck

The City Council encourages homeowners to check their decking annually to ensure its continued safety. Once your deck is installed, arrange a professional structural safety check with a licenced building professional. Never perform a safety check on your own.

You can contact the following organisations to find a licenced building professional:

  • Housing Industry Association
  • Master Builders
  • Engineers Australia
  • Australian Institute of Architects (Queensland Chapter)
  • Australian Institute of Building Surveyors or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Final Thoughts

The beauty of a deck can be enjoyed for many years to come. But before you get started on your exciting new project, you must check if a permit or approval is needed. If it is, ensure the paperwork is in order and your plans comply with all local laws regarding deck construction.

Then once you have been given the green light, you can get started on transforming your outdoor space.