Australia: Does the draft Queensland Housing Code (QHC) represent a way forward?


The Queensland State government commenced work on the Draft Queensland Housing Code (QHC) in 2014 in consultation with members of the planning, building, property, design and local government sectors. The QHC was formally released for public consultation in September 2016. Individuals wishing to make a submission may do so online until 31 March 2017.

The QHC forms part of the greater Queensland Development Code (QDC). Its release represents the State's response to modern development trends and aims to reduce confusion and delays associated with residential development in Queensland. However, its release has garnered mixed responses from local government and the development industry.


The purpose of the QHC is to provide a State-wide standardised code for the siting and design of particular residential dwellings. The State intends for the QHC to remove the need for local government planning schemes to incorporate alternative provisions.

The State anticipates that the QHC will streamline the assessment of residential development and facilitate efficient land use, while reducing costs to both consumers and the development industry. By improving the efficiency of development assessment, the State aims to promote innovative designs capable of addressing housing affordability and producing a more diverse built form.


Parts 1.1-1.3 of the current QDC relevantly provide standardised rules for both the siting and design of Class 1, dual dwellings and associated class 10 buildings across Queensland. The QHC will repeal and replace parts 1.1-1.3 of the QDC upon commencement.

The QHC applies to all infill and greenfield development across Queensland, with the exception of priority development areas. Any applications lodged prior to the QHC's release may still be assessed against the repealed parts 1.1-1.3 and will be governed by the transitional arrangements set out in section 36 and section 37 of the Building Act 1975.

The QHC will work in tandem with the Draft Reconfiguring a Lot Code (QRLC), which is also intended for incorporation into the QDC and is also currently open for public submissions. The QHC functions similarly to standard planning scheme codes, featuring both performance outcomes and acceptable solutions across each of the following elements:

  • height
  • site cover
  • setback encroachments
  • privacy
  • front, side and rear setbacks
  • car parking and driveways
  • private open space
  • fencing
  • additional requirements for built to boundary walls

If an application for a new dwelling house successfully complies with each of the acceptable solutions, it may be directly approved by a building certifier. If housing plans fail to meet the acceptable solutions of the QHC, the application must be referred to the relevant local government as a concurrence agency in accordance with items 19 and 21 in Schedule 7, Table 1 of the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009.

The State proposes that any inconsistency between the QHC and the relevant local government planning scheme will be addressed and resolved through this concurrence agency arrangement. In effect, local government is burdened with ensuring that the provisions of their respective planning schemes prevail over the QHC.


The concept of the "traditional family home" continually evolves to reflect factors, including market demand, modern household structures, budgets and land availability. The change in residential development is made evident by observing the now commonplace occurrence of residential subdivisions featuring lots sizes between 400-450m2. Certain areas are now accommodating lots as small as 150m2.

Despite such change, parts 1.1-1.3 of the QDC were last updated by the State in March 2010. With this in mind, it can be understood why the State has opted to formally acknowledge that the QDC has been allowed to fall out of step with modern development.

A by-product of the QDC's outdated nature is that it has given rise to an ever-increasing number of alternative siting and design rules across Queensland's 77 local governments. Industry groups lobbying for an update to the QDC highlight there are approximately 500-600 unique Plans of Development within South East Queensland alone. The QHC represents the State’s response to such confusion.


The QHC is in substance a code designed to standardise development of residential dwellings. Yet the State promotes it as a blueprint for improving dwelling variety and fostering innovative designs across Queensland. In standardising development, the QHC must also overcome the wide array of variables such as local character and environmental constraints presented by a State the size of Queensland.

The design and siting of dwellings is often unique to particular localities. For example, permitting built to boundary walls is commonplace in Brisbane but permitting the same standard in remote localities such as Boulia and Longreach is a different and likely unacceptable proposition. Accordingly, local governments and certain developers have expressed concern that the QHC is at odds with the local character of certain neighbourhoods.


While members of the development industry pushed for the new QHC to be mandatory, several local governments stood in opposition and expressed a desire to retain locally unique siting and design standards. Subsequently, while the QHC applies across Queensland, it remains a voluntary standard that a local government is free to opt out of or vary.

So long as the QHC remains a voluntary standard, local governments may continue to ignore its requirements and enforce their own standards. This begs the question, is the QHC simply another alternative standard that further complicates an already complex regulatory framework? The uptake of the QHC by local government will ultimately answer this question.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Ian Wright
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions