Depending on your zoning and surroundings, a three (3) storey component in your development may be approved. Please see below the relevant criteria to consider when determining whether a three (3) storey component is feasible for your proposal.
Development Types –
Under the Dwelling House Code and Dwelling House (Small Lot) Code, three (3) storey components may be accepted by Council, subject to strict criteria.
Typically, in zones and zone precincts including the Low Density Residential Zone, Character Residential Zone, 2 storey mix zone precinct of the Low-Medium Density Zone, and 2 or 3 storey mix zone precinct of the Low-Medium Density Residential Zone, a three (3) storey component for a dwelling house will require assessment against the Performance Outcome, where not meeting the prescribed maximum building height of 9.5m and two (2) storeys. Where seeking a Performance-based Solution, typically all criteria of the relevant Performance Outcome will need to be adequately satisfied for Council to accept the proposal, please refer to Figure 1.
Table 184.108.40.206.A – Dwelling House Code
Table 220.127.116.11.A – Dwelling House (Small Lot) Code
Development has a building height that:
(a) does not unduly overshadow adjoining dwelling houses and their associated private open space in terms of access to sunlight and daylight;
(b) is consistent with the building height of dwelling houses prevailing in the immediate vicinity;
(c) contains a 3 storey component only where necessary to enable a predominately 2 storey dwelling to address the local circumstances of topography (refer to Figure a);
(d) may be higher than adjoining properties only to the extent required to achieve the minimum habitable floor levels required for flood immunity.
Note–In interpreting PO2(b), the term ‘prevailing in the immediate vicinity’ means the building height of the majority (more than 50%) of all the dwelling houses in the same zone as the subject site and within 35m of any point of the street frontage of the subject site
Figure 1 – Building Height Performance Outcome (Excerpt only, subject to change)
Please note: the Note for interpreting PO2(b) is a part of the planning scheme and is a planning consideration for this Performance Outcome
Typically, in zones and zone precincts including the up to 3 storeys zone precinct of the Low-Medium Density Residential Zone or in the Medium Density Residential Zone, a three (3) storey component will be able to achieve the Acceptable Outcome, prescribing a maximum building height of 11.5m and three (3) storeys.
Under the Multiple Dwelling Code, three (3) storey components may also be accepted by Council, subject to strict criteria, however, may also raise the Level of Assessment from Assessable (Code) Assessment to Assessable (Impact) Assessment, where deemed generally inconsistent with the intent of the planning scheme.
PO5 (Building Envelope), PO6 (Building Height) & PO7 (Bulk & Form) of the Multiple Dwelling Code are the principal codes that typically prescribe the maximum building height.
Typically, the maximum building height must comply with the Neighbourhood Plan, or where not specified, Table 18.104.22.168.B of the Brisbane City Plan 2014. Where seeking a Performance-based Solution, the criteria of the relevant Performance Outcome/s will need to be adequately satisfied in order for Council to accept the proposal.
Previous Development Applications/Court Appeals
In seeking Performance-based Solutions, however, Brisbane City Council and the Planning and Environment Court have recently pushed back on a number of proposals seeking approvals for three (3) storey components in Dwelling Houses and Multiple Dwellings. Please see below a series of recent Council Decisions and Planning and Environment Court Judgements opposing three (3) storey components.
Brisbane City Council Decisions:
- 47-49 Henderson Street, Camp Hill – A004511431 – Refused Three (3) Storey Multiple Dwelling (Refused in 2018)
- 24 Casuarina Street, Seventeen Mile Rocks – A004770283 – Unsupported Dwelling House with a Partial Third Storey (Withdrawn in 2018)
- 143 School Road, Yeronga – A004512106 – Refused Three (3) Storey Multiple Dwelling (Refused in 2017)
Planning and Environment Court Judgements:
- Petty & Ors -v- Brisbane City Council & Anor 
A submitter appeal against an approved Multiple Dwelling at 7 & 11 Annie Street, Camp Hill (Council reference: A004462727) was allowed after it was found the development was in conflict with the Brisbane City Plan 2014 (Court reference: 1238 of 2017). The approved development sought Reconfiguring a Lot (4 into 2 Lot Amalgamation), Building Works to relocate an existing Pre-1946 Dwelling House and a Material Change of Use for a Three (3) Storey Multiple Dwelling. Under the Brisbane City Plan 2014, the site was located in the Low Medium Density Residential Zone (2 or 3 storey mix precinct) and the Traditional Building Character Overlay. It was determined “ The proposed development would result in an unacceptable built form, in terms of its height, bulk, scale, density and size and would therefore be in conflict…” and “ the approval of this proposal fell within the 2% where the Council “got it wrong.”
- Jakel Pty Ltd & Ors -v- Brisbane City Council & Anor 
An appellant appeal against a refused Multiple Dwelling at 28-30 Attewell Street, Nundah (Council reference: A004537761) was dismissed after it was found that “ the onus of showing that the application be approved has not been discharged” (Court reference: 2970 of 2017). The refused development sought Building Works to relocate the existing Pre-1946 Dwelling House, Reconfiguring a Lot (2 into 2 Lot Boundary Realignment), and a Material Change of Use for a Three (3) Storey Multiple Dwelling. Under the Brisbane City Plan 2014, the site was located in the Low Medium Density Residential Zone (2 or 3 storey mix precinct) and the Traditional Building Character Overlay. It was determined the proposed development represented “ an overdevelopment of the subject site in its locational context and an unacceptable outcome in terms of visual impact on the streetscape and amenity of the residents of the proposed development and adjoining land.”