MBRC Planning Scheme - Secondary dwelling

The Planning Scheme defines a Secondary dwelling as part of a dwelling house. A secondary dwelling is used in conjunction with, and is subordinate to, a dwelling house on the same lot.

A Secondary dwelling may be free standing or constructed under or attached to a Dwelling house. It must:

  • be substantially smaller in size to the main house on the property (maximum GFA of 45m2, 55m2 or 100m2, depending on the zone and precinct and primary road frontage - refer to table below for further information);
  • be on the same lot as the main house. It cannot be subdivided or community titled at a later date;
  • obtain access from the existing driveway giving access to the main house on the property and
  • retain a relationship and association with the main house, with the two households making common provision for other essentials for living ('Other essentials for living' is defined as the sharing of utility bills e.g. electricity or Council rates).

Note: The secondary dwelling can be separately leased from the primary dwelling.

Maximum Gross Floor Area (GFA) of a Secondary Dwelling

The maximum GFA+ for a Secondary dwelling is outlined in the following table.

Zone Precinct Secondary Dwelling Maximum GFA
Community Facilities Zone Abbey Precinct 100m2
Emerging Community Zone Interim Precinct 100m2
Emerging Community Zone Transition Precinct (Developable Lot) 100m2
Emerging Community Zone Transition Precinct (Developed Lot)
  • 45m2 for a lot with a primary frontage of 15m or less; or 
  • 55m2 for a lot with a primary frontage of greater than 15m.
General Residential Zone All Precincts
  • 45m2 for a lot with a primary frontage of 15m or less; or 
  • 55m2 for a lot with a primary frontage of greater than 15m.
Rural Zone No precinct 100m2
Rural Zone Hamlet Precinct
  • 45m2 for a lot with a primary frontage of 15m or less; or 
  • 55m2 for a lot with a primary frontage of greater than 15m.
Rural Zone Agriculture Precinct 100m2
Rural Zone Rural Living Investigation Precinct 100m2
Rural Zone Cedarton Foresters Cooperative and Mt Nebo Plant Nursery Precinct No secondary dwellings are permitted as part of the Land Management Plan
Rural Residential Zone   100m2
Township Zone Township residential precinct 45m2
All other zones and precincts
Assessable - Impact assessment

+ Gross floor area is defined in Schedule 1, Table SC1.2.2 - Administrative definitions.  The gross floor area of a secondary dwelling is the total area of all storeys of the dwelling (measured from the outside of the external walls or the centre of a common wall), but excludes garages and unenclosed patios, balconies and carports.  

Where the secondary dwelling exceeds the above maximums, it is no longer considered a Secondary dwelling, but rather defined as a Dual occupancy.

Location of Secondary Dwelling

In the following zones and precincts a secondary dwelling needs to be within a certain distance of the primary dwelling, as detailed below.

Zone Precinct  Location requirement Section of planning scheme
 Emerging community zone
Transition precinct (developed lot)
  •  Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road.
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above)  OR located within 10.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
General residential zone All precincts
  •  Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road.
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above)  OR located within 10.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
Township zone Township residential precinct
  •  Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road.
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above)  OR located within 10.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
Redcliffe Kippa-Ring local plan Interim residential precinct
  •  Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road.
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above)  OR located within 10.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
Caboolture West local plan Urban living precinct, Town centre precinct, Urban living precinct and Enterprise and employment precinct
  •  Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road.
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above)  OR located within 10.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
Emerging community zone code Interim precinct
  • Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road; and 
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above) 
OR
  • located within 50.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
RAD29 and PO48 of the Emerging community zone code - Interim precinct
Emerging community zone. Transition precinct (developable lot) 
  • Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road; and 
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above) 
OR
  • located within 50.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
RAD30 and PO50 of the Emerging community zone code - Transition precinct (developable lot)  
Rural residential zone   
  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above)
OR
  • located within 50.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
RAD45 and PO57 in the Rural residential zone code  
Caboolture West local plan
Rural living precinct   
  • Not located in front of the primary dwelling, meaning the secondary dwelling is not located between the main house and the road; and
AND

  • Annexed to the primary dwelling (adjoining, below or above)
OR
  • located within 50.0m of the primary dwelling (excluding domestic outbuildings e.g. sheds and carports)
RAD38 and PO51 in the Caboolture West local plan code - Rural living precinct
Rural zone   No locational requirements Rural zone code

The requirement to locate a Secondary dwelling within 10m or 50m of the primary dwelling is measured from the outermost projection* of the primary dwelling (being the main house, excluding domestic outbuildings) to the outermost projection* of the Secondary dwelling. The entire Secondary dwelling does not need to be contained within the specified distance.

Note: * outermost projection is defined in Schedule 1, Table SC1.2.2 - Administrative definitions

Planning Scheme Policy - Residential Design(PDF, 21MB) also contains helpful information about secondary dwellings.

In the event a Secondary dwelling does not comply with these locational requirements, approval from Council will be required in the form of either a concurrence agency response or a development application.

Overlay maps and Secondary dwellings

If the proposed secondary dwelling is located in an area of the property identified on an overlay map, additional requirements may apply. Overlay maps that may include additional requirements, or alter the above requirements, include but are not limited to Environmental areas, Bushfire hazard, Landslide hazard, Riparian and wetland setbacks, Flood hazard and Coastal hazard. Refer to the assessment benchmarks (requirements) in the relevant code, under the ‘Values and constraints criteria’ heading for requirements and to Part 8 Overlay codes for Flood hazard and Coastal hazard.

Do I need Council approval?

In most cases, Council approval is not required for a Secondary dwelling. Dwelling houses with Secondary dwellings are considered accepted development subject to requirements (self-assessable) in a number of zones. The following table outlines the category of development and assessment (type of application needed, if any) as well as the relevant code in the planning scheme containing the assessment benchmarks (requirements) for Secondary dwellings.

Accepted development subject to requirements does not require development approval from Council provided it complies with the relevant assessment benchmarks. If the proposal does not comply with the relevant assessment benchmarks, either of two things is required:

  • if the proposed Secondary dwelling does not comply with the requirements in the Dwelling house code, a concurrence agency response will be required from Council; OR 
  • if the proposed Secondary dwelling does not comply with the requirements in the relevant zone code, a development application must be lodged with Council for approval.

Where the secondary dwelling exceeds the maximum GFA explained above, it will no longer be considered a Secondary dwelling, but rather defined as a Dual occupancy.

Zone Precinct Category of development and assessment Assessment benchmarks
Community facilities zone Abbey precinct Accepted development subject to requirements if complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Community facilities zone code (section 6.2.2.1) - Abbey precinct (Self-assessable provisions in Part E only)
Emerging community zone Interim precinct Accepted development subject to requirements if complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Emerging community zone code (section 6.2.3.1) - Interim precinct (Self-assessable provisions in Part A only)
Emerging community zone Transition precinct
(Developable lot)
Accepted development subject to requirements if on a developable lot and complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Emerging community zone code (section 6.2.3.2.1) - Transition Precinct (Self- assessable provisions in - Part C only)
Emerging community zone Transition precinct
(Developed lot)
Accepted development subject to requirements if on a developed lot and complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Dwelling house code (section 9.3.1)
(Self-assessable provisions in Part A only)
General residential zone All precincts Accepted development subject to requirements if on a developable lot and complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Dwelling house code (section 9.3.1)
(Self-assessable provisions in Part A only)
Rural zone - Accepted development subject to requirements if on a developable lot and complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Rural zone code (section 6.2.10)
(Self-assessable provisions in Part A only)
Rural residential zone - Accepted development subject to requirements if on a developable lot and complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Rural residential zone code (section 6.2.11)
(Self-assessable provisions in Part A only)
Township zone Residential precinct Accepted development subject to requirements if on a developable lot and complying with relevant assessment benchmarks Township zone code (section 6.2.12.3) - Township residential precinct (Self-assessable provisions in Part E only)
All other zones and precincts   Assessable - Impact assessable The planning scheme including the Relevant Zone Code (Part 6)

The provisions of section 1.7.7 of the planning scheme means there are no circumstances where a Secondary dwelling may be accepted (exempt) development.

Other information definitions

The State Government’s Queensland Planning Provisions (QPP) defines the following terms:

Term Definition
Secondary Dwelling A dwelling used in conjunction with, and subordinate to, a dwelling house on the same lot. A secondary dwelling may be constructed under a dwelling house, be attached to a dwelling house or be free standing.
Dwelling House A residential use of premises for one household that contains a single dwelling. The use includes domestic outbuildings and works normally associated with a dwelling and may include a Secondary Dwelling.
Dwelling A building or part of a building used or capable of being used as a self-contained residence that must include the following:
   a) food preparation facilities
   b) a bath or shower
   c) a toilet and wash basin
   d) clothes washing facilities
This term includes outbuildings, structures and works normally associated with a dwelling.
Household An individual or a group of two or more related or unrelated people who reside in the dwelling, with the common intention to live together on a long-term basis and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living.
Other essentials for living The sharing of utility bills (e.g. electricity and water)